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OpenRoads Alignments

Geometry tools are coordinate geometry tools that utilize a heads-up interface, persists user input, and preserves design intent. Results of these tools are intelligent graphic elements stored in the DGN and not in external files.

OpenRoads tools are neatly found in OpenRoads on the General Geometry and Horizontal Geometry Task menus. OpenRoads alignments are MicroStation Complex Elements.

Because OpenRoads uses MicroStation commands, the Undo command may become your favorite feature.

Geometry wise, OpenRoads offers both an Intersection Point and Element forms of construction.

General

OpenRoads points use MicroStation Snap Codes. The OpenRoads tools utilize cursor prompts, dynamic feedback, and on-screen manipulation to provide an interface that helps keep focus on your work. Data presented on the cursor can be changed by keying in a new value followed by an Enter to accept the new value. A Data Point (left mouse click) advances to the next prompt. Minimal prompts are also echoed to the MicroStation dialog.

enter placement method prompt

When the cursor offers options instead of a numeric value, the available options can be cycled through using the Arrow keys. The bottom right of the cursor prompt displays arrow head icons indicating which arrow keys to use at that moment. The above cursor prompt graphic indicates that the Down Arrow will cycle thru the Placement Method options for that tool.

In addition, any of the tool's criteria can be locked in the dialog panel at any time. Locking some values may limit or otherwise affect the other values.

Relationships between elements are preserved when things change. Elements can be edited by way of on-screen graphic Manipulators or adjusting the element's properties. Advance to the Manipulators section to learn about editing an element.

Design Standards can be created and used for control of alignment. For more sophisticated constructions, use Civil AccuDraw. It can be found on the MicroStation menu, select Tools > Civil AccuDraw > Activate Toolbar.

There are also options to set the feature type. However if the element (or alignment) is to be converted to an MX alignment, then the feature assignment is lost.

Import MX Geometry (SS4)

There are two different methods for importing alignments from MX depending on whether the project drawings are based on US Survey feet or the older International foot seed files.

For US Survey Foot projects, continue with OpenRoads Horizontal Geometry - USSF

For projects with design file working units in Feet, continue with OpenRoads Horizontal Geometry - INTF

If you are uncertain which option to choose, check the documentation on Working Units.

Creating New Alignments (General Comments)

Always use the DGN's Default model when creating and working with Horizontal Geometry. Also be aware that changing a DGN Model not only clears any Feature assignment, but it also clears the Design Standard.

When creating any Alignment by Elements, set the Feature Definition to Alignment Elements. Note that when setting the Feature Definition on the Features Definition Toggle Bar for the first time, select the Feature and then toggle the Use Active Feature Definition button OFF and then ON to wake-up the Feature Override so it is recognized by the Active Tool. When it is functioning properly, then the Feature Definition of the Active Tool will display Use Active Feature. When done placing Alignment Elements, then set the Feature Definition to Alignment before using the Complex by Elements command. This tool is used to connect the previously placed Elements.

automatically create 3D button

Essentially, all other buttons on the Feature Definition Toggle Bar should be toggled OFF when creating Alignments. For example, if the Automatically Create 3D option is turned ON and you have an Active Terrain Model, then a Best-Fit Profile will automatically be applied to your alignment. Also, if the Rule Deactivation is toggled ON, then you will not be able to use Manipulators to modify your alignment.

A Horizontal alignment is 2 dimensional until the Vertical alignment is set Active, at which time the 3rd dimension is created. The Vertical geometry uses the Horizontal's Feature Definition for it's settings. Vertical Geometry curves should be Parabolic, verify the Vertical Curve Type when using the Vertical geometry Complex by PI tool.

Design Standards Toolbar design standards toolbar

The Design Standard will supply values for the element creation tools (such as minimum radius and transition lengths) as well as direct which prompts are offered for a construction tool. The Design Standard will also check for kinks in the alignment.

To open the Design Standard Toolbar, select Design Standards Toolbar from either the General Geometry or the Horizontal Geometry Task menu.

design standards toolbar

This toolbar allows the selection of a Design Standard and also controls it's application to an OpenRoads element. From the left pull-down, select the desired Design Standard. From the right pull-down, select between Stopping or Passing Sight Distance. Next, click the Toggle Active Design Standard button active design button on the left of the toolbar to toggle the standard ON from the default of OFF. When ON, the button turns amber and all subsequent commands will make use of the values contained in the standard. When OFF, the selected standard is ignored.

If a Design Standard is violated, then feedback is provided in two ways:

  1. An icon appears on the element that has the problem. Hover near (over it is too close) the icon to reveal a tool tip report of the error.
  2. In the Civil Message Center (Tools > Civil Geometry > Geometry Toggles > Civil Message Center).

Design Standards are very alignment oriented. There is limited value for using Design Standards for non-alignment constructions. To verify a Design Standard has been applied, use the Element Information tool on the element in question.

Set Design Standard set element design standard button

The Set Design Standard is for applying a standard to previously created civil elements. However, the Design Standard Toolbar must be open and the Toggle Active Design Standard button must be toggled ON before applying an Element Design Standard.

From the General Geometry or the Horizontal Geometry Task menu, click on the Set Design Standard button. Next, choose the element to which the design standard will be assigned. To verify that a Design Standard has been applied, use Element Information on the element in question.

Complex By PIcomplext by PI button

Complex By PI creates a linear element with curves based on user input of PI (point of intersection) locations. These curves can include transitions.

This is basically the OpenRoads version of MX's Quick Vertical alignment. As the command suggests, the resulting alignment is a Complex Element. This tool is found on the Horizontal Geometry Task menu.

Follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to guide your alignment construction. Data Points place the PI's. The value for the curves back radius is seeded on the cursor. To change the seed radius, enter the new value followed by an Enter. This back seed radius will be used for all subsequent curves till it's changed. A Data Point (left mouse click) advances to the next prompt. Select the Reset button to terminate the placement of PI's.

Advance to the Manipulators section to learn about editing an alignment.

OpenRoads Elements - Fixed Elements

Line Between Points line between points button creates a line between two user defined points.

Arc Between Points arc between points button creates an arc. There are six Workflows for creating an arc:

  • Start Point, Radius, and Sweep Angle (or length)
  • Center Point, Radius, and Sweep Angle (or length)
  • Start Point, End Point, and Pass-Thru Point
  • Start Point, Pass-Thru Point, and End Point
  • Start Direction, End Point
  • Start Point, End Direction

Use the Down Arrow key to cycle through the Workflows. Follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to guide your element construction.

OpenRoads Elements - Free Elements

Line Between Arcs line between arcs buttonconstructs a line between two previously placed arcs. This tool has the ability to apply both a back and/or a forward Transition (spiral) between the arcs and the constructed line. This tool also has the ability to apply both a back and/or a forward Offset. Follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to guide your element construction.

There are four possible solutions and each solution is assigned a number. After the second arc is identified, the four possible solutions are displayed with their solution numbers. The position of the cursor directs which solution is taken. If your not paying attention, then you might accept the wrong solution.

The last prompt offers four Truncation Methods, choose from the following:

  1. None
  2. Back
  3. Ahead
  4. Both (recommended for most situations)

Use the Down Arrow key to cycle through the Truncation options.

Simple Arc simple arc button constructs an arc between two previously placed elements. Similar to Line Between Arcs, there are four possible solutions and the position of the cursor directs which solution is taken. If your not paying attention, then you might accept the wrong solution. There are also four Truncation methods.

Spiral Arc Spiral spiral arc spiral button also constructs an arc between two previously placed elements. However this tool has the ability to optionally apply both a back and or forward transition between the elements and the constructed arc. Follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to guide your element construction.

Note that OpenRoads alignments are easy to adjust after assembly. Refer to the Manipulators section to learn about editing an alignment.

OpenRoads Elements - Float Elements

Similar to MX, these tools for Floating Elements are designed for constructing an element with respect to one other element. In addition there is an Offset option and a Skew option, both are features MX does not offer and are useful for the creation of intersections and ramps. There are two workflows for float lines and two workflows for float arcs.

To Elements

Simple Line To Element simple line to element button and Simple Arc To Element simple arc to element button constructs a line/arc to a base element. Both of these commands require an End Point that the new element will pass thru. Next, identify the connecting element. If using the Arc To Element command, in order to change the arc's projection, toggle the Hand option between Clockwise and Counter Clockwise. Follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to complete the element construction.

From Elements

Simple Line To Element simple line to element button and Simple Arc To Element simple arc to element button constructs an line/arc from a base element, COGO style. Both of these commands require the point of tangency and the new element is projected from there. Then follow the dialog and/or the cursor prompts to complete your element construction.

Note that OpenRoads alignments are easy to adjust after assembly. Refer to the Manipulators section to learn about editing an alignment.

Complex by Elements complex by elements button

Complex By Elements assembles a Complex Element of previously placed elements (lines and arcs). You are not limited to using OpenRoads elements to use this tool, any existing graphics may be selected. Therefore, be careful of your proximity to other elements when building a Complex by Elements.

Using the Automatic method, hover over the beginning element until the directional arrow points to the desired direction. Left Mouse click to accept the chosen element. At this point, the complex path will be highlighted. Left Mouse click again to accept the complex creation or Right Mouse click to Cancel.

Alternatively, using the Manual method, select each element individually using the Left Mouse click. Be sure the directional arrow is pointed in the proper direction before selection. Once all items are selected, Left Mouse click away from any MicroStation elements to accept the Complex Element creation.

Advance to the Manipulators section to learn about editing an alignment.

Manipulators

OpenRoads alignments are editable by selecting them with the MicroStation Element Selection tool. The selected alignment highlights and additional graphics appear showing the alignment Manipulators. These manipulators enable adjustments to be made to the alignment. Tool tips always confirm which manipulator you are at. Relationships between elements are preserved whenever possible, this includes intersections.

example of manipulator

The Text Manipulators display Lengths, Bearings and Radii which can be selected and lets you type in new values.

The Dots represent drag handles that allows one to move the points without constraint.

The Triangle or Arrow shaped drag handle redefines the point with one or more directions constrained. The arrows that are parallel to the base line are constrained to change the distance only. The arrows that are perpendicular to the base line are constrained to change that direction only. This insures that aspects of the alignment's geometry are held.

A MicroStation Snap icon displays if a point was created by a snap. Hovering near the point will display the normal manipulator. Click and move the dot to remove the snap constraint and replace it with new constraints.

The Civil AccuDraw drag handles display when a point was created with a Civil AccuDraw constraint. Text manipulators display the Civil AccuDraw constraints which were input. Hovering near the point will change it to a normal manipulator. Click and move the dot to break the Civil AccuDraw constraint and replace it with new constraints.

As you zoom in and around the design, the position of the manipulators may change. The software will attempt to display as many manipulators as are valid for the part of the item displayed. This includes automatically moving a manipulator if necessary.

Note that Manipulators may be toggled ON or OFF from the Element Selection panel with the Disable Handles disable handles button button.

Offset Transition

offsets and transitions button

Offset Transition constructs linear elements based on various methods of offsets from a base element. The base element may be a line, arc, spiral, or a complex element. There are four methods:

  1. Single Offset Entire Element – The offset element maintains a constant offset along the entire length of the base element.
  2. Single Offset Partial – Same as above but with additional control for Start and End distance.
  3. Variable Offset Taper – The offset is variable and defined by station and offset at each end of the base element.
  4. Ratio Defined Taper – The offset element is defined by a station offset at the beginning, and then the end point is defined by a ratio.

MX Transfer and Stationing

OpenRoads alignments may be transferred to MX using the General Geometry task Export to Native. Go to the Transferring an OpenRoads Alignment documentation for that process.

Note that Spirals do not transfer from MicroStation to MX.


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Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914