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Creating SUE Data

This page describes future development not yet implemented. Documentation for Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is composed of three pages, this is the second page.

Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) tools provide the Civil Designer and Utility Coordinator the ability to model underground features for purposes of planning and design decision making. These tools allow plan, profile and 3D modeling of all underground assets.

SUE entities are modeled using Nodes (point type features such as catch basins) and Links (linear features such as pipes). This page describes converting MX elements into SUE features.

It is imperative that the proper Drawing Model be active. Pay close attention to model references within this document. OpenRoads drawings are seeded with 3 Drawing Models:

  1. Default
  2. Default-3D
  3. MX

Setting Up the Drawing File for SUE

Existing MX subsurface detail should have been processed, compiled, and displayed in the Drawing's MX model. Refer to Displaying and Editing MX Subsurface Details to accomplish this.

Open the Drawing's Default Model of the 12345-terrain-SUE drawing. Reference Attach the Default Drawing Model of the Terrain.dgn (No Nesting) or the Combined.dgn (Nesting Depth = 1). MX should automatically attach the referenced Default-3D Drawing Model to the DGN's Default-3D Drawing Model.

Reference Attach any other drawings necessary to perform a Subsurface Utility Engineering design using the same criteria defined for the Terrain drawing.

Adjust Level Display as necessary to include/exclude the desired details.

Activating SUE

SUE is a separate software product that is not automatically available with standard MXROAD. However it is when using MXROAD Suite. SUE can be activated from within an MXROAD session, but it needs to be activated every time a SUE drawing is opened AND you plan to use the SUE functionality.

Don't be fooled in thinking that the SUE product activation is neatly available in the Subsurface Utility Engineering menu, because it's not. Activate SUE from the MicroStation menu, select Tools > Product Add-Ins > Subsurface Utility Design and Analysis> Activate Subsurface Utility Engineering.

Compact the Database

Any drawing that has had SUE activated is recognized by MicroStation. After every tenth time a SUE drawing is opened, the user will be prompted to Compact the Database. Always say Yes to this panel. The Compact Database panel looks like this:

compact database message

Now SUE functionality is available and ready to use. The SUE tools can be found either from the MicroStation menu under Subsurface Utility or from the Task menu.

Extracting Utilities From Graphics

It is likely that the location of existing subsurface utilities and underground drainage is important when performing design work. If any existing subsurface features will be retained during construction, then the designer may need to either tie into or avoid them entirely.

Existing data that was processed during Display and Editing MX Subsurface Details will need to be promoted/converted to SUE features before other SUE commands can interact with them. The Extract Utilities From Graphics command provides the ability to create Subsurface Utility Features from MicroStation graphics.

There are two methods to accomplish this:

  1. The Selection Method is used to create utilities that are all the same definition. With this method it is important to supply the target Feature Definition and Description of the utility you plan to extract.
  2. The Graphic Filter Method is used to create utilities from disparate graphics with many different feature definitions. This is the recommended method because it takes advantage of predefined and reusable filters to read MicroStation graphic data and assign utilities to them. Filters have been developed for individual features as well as Filter Groups that contain multiple filters to extract utilities in batch.

A Surface is integral for some utility extractions to work. Either a Terrain model, Mesh or an Object will qualify as a Surface. These extractions will assign elevations based on depths measured from the Surface so make sure one is displayed. Extractions that don't use a Surface will take elevations from the source MicroStation 3D graphic elements.

Open the DGN's Default Drawing Model. From the Subsurface Utility Engineering Task list, select Components > Extract Utilities From Graphics. If this is the first time using SUE in the DGN, then you will be prompted to create a Utility Model, just click Yes to proceed. The Create Utility Model panel looks like this:

non-undable action message

Select Extract Utilities From Graphics again to finally get the Extract Utilities From Graphics panel. Fill in any appropriate settings. Use the cursor prompt and left mouse click to accept through each setting. We recommend using the Graphic Filter method. Graphic filters contain search criteria as well as what the resultant feature will be mapped to. Once again, a collection of Filters is called a Filter Group. Currently there are 2 Filter Groups, one for Drainage items and second for Utilities. The Preview button may be used to highlight all the elements that satisfy the Filter or Filter Group. When using the 2 Existing Utilities Filter Group you will be prompted to hit on a surface. These Filters will assign elevations based on depths from the surface.

extract utilities from graphics dialog box

When the Extract Utilities From Graphics command is finished, the created SUE features will be displayed. Shut OFF the display of the MX Drawing Model's levels or go to the MX Drawing Model and use the Erase Display command to remove the MX strings entirely.


New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483  |  7 Hazen Drive  |  
Concord, NH  |  03302-0483
Tel: 603.271.3734  |  Fax: 603.271.3914