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Creating Horizontal and Vertical Geometry

All OpenRoads alignments should be created in the Geometry.dgn. This drawing should have been created during the Create OpenRoads Base Drawings process. The Corridor drawings should only contain the corridors, superelevation, civil cells and drives for each roadway.

This documentation summarizes the process for creating alignments within OpenRoads. For transferring MX alignments into OpenRoads, there are two separate processes depending on whether the working units of the drawings are US Survey Feet or Feet.

Open the 12345Geometry drawing. Once in, open the drawing's Default model.

Horizontal Design

The Feature Definition Toggle Bar allows the user to select a Feature Definition once and it be used until a new Feature is specified. Find it from the Task menu, select Civil Tools > General Geometry (or Horizontal Geometry) > Feature Definition Toggle Bar. However, selecting a Feature Definition from the Toggle Bar does not automatically make the feature active. Therefore it is necessary to toggle the Use Active Feature Definition button to apply the override. Similar to other OpenRoads buttons, this button changes from a White background to an Amber background when toggled ON. Be leery of false positive amber shading of this button. Play it safe, toggle the Use Active Feature Definition button OFF and ON once before creating new features. The only place this feature override doesn't work is with Vertical Geometry.

feature definition toggle bar

feature list dropdown itemsTo select a Feature Definition, click the Feature Dropdown and expand Ali n Road Design > Road options, then select the appropriate feature from the Road features. When creating an Alignment by Elements, we recommend selecting the Alignment Elements feature. When creating a Complex Alignment by either the Complex By PI or the Complex By Elements command, select an Alignment feature definition that identifies the type of alignment being created.

  • Use the Horizontal Geometry Tasks to create all Alignments in the Geometry dgn. Additional assistance may be found from the Task menu, just select Civil Tools > OpenRoads Help > OpenRoads Help.
  • When using the Complex by PI command, the Horizontal Radius can be changed on the Heads-Up prompt prior to accepting the next PI. If the curve does not display while placing the next PI, then the current curve is probably overlapping the previous curve.
  • When using a Tentative Snap, the Reset button must be used before a Tentative Snap is used at a different location. An Undo will discard all the placed PI's and start the command over.
  • When connecting Alignment Elements, set the Trim/Extend option to Both to ensure that the Elements meet correctly.
  • Use the Start Station tool to set the alignment's Starting Station. From the Task menu, select Civil Tools > Horizontal Geometry > Start Station. A Start Distance can be specified to set the Start Station anywhere along the alignment. This tool will also add a Start Station Manipulator that presents both the Starting Location magnitude and it's Starting Station value for further adjustment of the alignment's stationing. This tool only works once per alignment, therefore this manipulator is the only way to change the Start Station once it is set. If this tool is never run, then the stationing at the beginning of the alignment is assumed to be zero.

Vertical Design

  • setting the active terrain  model

    Setting the Active Terrain Model

    Before working on a Vertical design, it is best to designate the Active Terrain Model. The Set Active Terrain Model tool can be found on the Tasks menu in either General Geometry or in the Terrain Model menus. In order to set the terrain to active when using the Context Sensitive menu, first select the Terrain with the Element Selection tool, then hover over the Terrain to summon the Context Sensitive menu. Select the Set As Active Terrain Model button and then follow the Heads-Up prompt. Setting the Terrain Model as Active enables the existing ground to automatically appear in the Profile Model.
  • To begin a Vertical design, select the Open Profile Model button from the Vertical Geometry Tasks menu. The Open Profile Model button can also be found on the Context Sensitive menu. Either way, follow the Heads-Up prompt to Select and then Click in an Open View.
  • When using the Profile Complex By VPI command, the Vertical Curve Length can be changed on the Heads-Up prompt prior to placing the next VPI. If the curve does not display while placing the next VPI, then the current curve is probably overlapping the previous curve.
  • Use the tools found on the Vertical Geometry Tasks menu to create a Profile. The Vertical Geometry Tasks operate very similar to the Horizontal Geometry Tasks. It is recommended to issue a Save Settings and a Save prior to starting a profile as well as when you are finished designing.
  • When finished designing, set the desired profile to be the Active Profile. This step is necessary because more than one profile may exist in a single profile model. Therefore it is mandatory to designate which is the intended profile for the Horizontal Geometry. The Set (As) Active Profile tool is found either on the Vertical Geometry Tasks menu or on the Context Sensitive menu. Afterwards, Save the DGN if not set to automatically do so.
  • set as active profile dialog boxProfiles should look the same as the Horizontal features that they represent. If your profile does not look like it's Horizontal counterpart, then select the profile with the Element Selection tool. Next, open Element Information and expand the General category. Change the Template option to match the Feature Definition assigned to the Horizontal component of the alignment.
  • To create a profile in InRoads, see Transfer Civil Geometry and Draw a Profile with InRoads

Alignments that need to be transferred to MX for either drawing profiles (NHProfile Add-In) or for running detail scanning (XSDetail Add-In), should have a four character string label beginning with the letters MC. This can be edited at any time using the Element Information tool. Also set each alignment's priority to 500 to make them easier to select in the future.

For transferring alignments into MX, there are two separate processes depending on whether the working units of the drawings are US Survey Feet or Feet.

If you want stations on your alignment, See Annotating a Civil Geometry Alignment.


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