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Subsurface Tools, SS4 .878

This page describes future development not yet implemented. Documentation for Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) is composed of three documents, this is Part 3.

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 the steps necessary to clean up SUE pipe entities that were created from MX elements. It also explains the fundamentals of proposed Drainage Design using OpenRoads.

It is imperative that the proper Drawing Model be active. Pay close attention to model references within this document.


Filters that are built for the Extracting Utilities From Graphics command can only extract to a single item. So all pipe links are mapped to a single item (12" RCP). These links are assigned a default Label that begin with the characters SD-. The Label assigned to all subsequent link occurrences are given an increment number (SD-1, SD-2...). The pipes should be updated to the actual pipe size and material as discovered by Survey.

Similar to the drainage pipes, all Catch Basin Nodes are mapped to 4' concentric Catch Basins with a flat top. Both Drop Inlets and Manholes are also mapped to a default Drop Inlet or Manhole (both with 4' concentric flat tops), respectfully. Each of these drainage structures is assigned a descriptive label such as Catch Basin, Drop Inlet or Manhole. Subsequent occurrences of each are also given an increment number. The drainage structures should be updated to the actual size and top configuration as discovered by Survey.

All Pipe links are created with Dummy Pipe End nodes. These Pipe End nodes are mapped to a default structure (cell name Structure). Each of these Dummy Pipe End nodes report elevations that neither reflect the associated Pipe invert or the ground elevation at it's location.

Each Dummy Pipe End node occurrence is assigned a default Label of SN- accompanied with an identification number (SN-454, SN-455...). Pipe Ends with valid surveyed elevations should be associated to the Drainage nodes that they actually meet in the field. Because OpenRoads insists on adjusting Drainage nodes to accommodate associated links, Pipe Ends with unknown elevations should NOT be associated to Drainage nodes.

Associating a Pipe End with a valid elevation to a Drainage node will abandon it's Dummy Pipe End. Delete these Dummy Pipe Ends after associating the Pipe link to the Drainage node. In addition, do not delete a Dummy Pipe End with unknown elevations, removing an End Node (Dummy or Real) that is still associated to a pipe will delete the entire Pipe link.

Associating Pipes to Drainage Structures

Open Element Information, and the Network Navigator. The Network Navigator can be found on the MicroStation menu. Select; Subsurface Utility > View > Network Navigator OR from the Task menu select; Subsurface Utilities > View > Network Navigator.

Network Navigator Panel

The Network Navigator Panel

The Network Navigator will list the label and identification of elements contained within the
current selection. At the top of the Network Navigator panel, from the Hydraulic Analysis tab
is the Query Selection List. Immediately to the right is the Greater Than button ">".

To begin an Element Query, click on the Greater Than button ">". Next, select Element
Types > All Nodes
. The Query Selection List should now display <Query: "All Nodes">.
This will also populate the body of the Network Navigator panel with the results of the
selection as shown on the image below:

Network Navigator panel

The remaining buttons of the Network Navigator become active now that there is data to work with, we will be using the Zoom buttons for this process. Also note the Zoom Level box to control the magnification level. The following steps should act as a guide for updating and associating pipes to drainage nodes:

  1. With the Default Drawing Model View active, Reference Attach the project's TXT drawing. Turn
    on just the levels of this reference file for the Drainage and Pipe text. If Pipe text is
    missing, then consider attaching the project's EXF drawing. Adjust the Level Display as
  2. On the Network Navigator, select/highlight the first node on the list (Manhole on the above
    example) and then click the Zoom To tool (the second button on the tool bar). This will zoom
    and center the view window to the selected Drainage node. Note the Pipe(s) and their Dummy
    Pipe End nodes converging on the Drainage Structure (the Manhole for this example).
  3. Next, systematically use Element Selection to select the center line of each Pipe. Element
    will populate with the details of the selected pipe. Note the Start/Stop nodes
    in the Utility section are assigned Dummy Pipe End node labels.
  4. Selecting the Pipe's center line should have triggered the Pipe's Manipulators. Select and
    Drag the Reconnect Link manipulator of the Pipe at the Drainage node end to the to the
    Connection Ring of the Drainage node that it should be associated with. Notice in Element
    that one of the Start/Stop nodes now reports the newly associated Drainage
    structure. If not, then try again.
  5. While still in Element Information, change the Feature Definition to the Pipe type annotated
    on the TXT drawing using the drop down list. Also change the Description (size) as appropriate.
  6. Repeat steps 3 thru 5 for each Pipe link that connects to the current Drainage node.
  7. Delete all of the abandoned Dummy Pipe end nodes. Be leery of deleting live Dummy Pipe End
    nodes, because that will also delete the Pipe link.
  8. In Network Navigator click the Next button (just to the right of the Zoom To button). This
    will move to the next pipe link on the Network Navigator list. It will also zoom and center
    the active window to it. Repeat steps 3 thru 8 until finished with all nodes.

At this point the existing Pipes are roughly modeled in SUE and may be included in the generation of Cross Sections. The Catch Basins remain mapped to a default 4' Catch Basin, the Drop Inlets also remain mapped to a default 4" Drop Inlet and so on. No effort has yet been done to revise these structures with respect to size, depth, top shape and orientation. Therefore any Drainage Analysis on existing systems can not be performed yet.

Proposed Drainage

Keeping the proposed drainage in the same drawing as the existing is not the end of the world. However it would be convenient if OpenRoads allowed proposed links to be associated to existing drainage nodes that reside in a different drawing. This would allow keeping proposed drainage in a separate drawing from the existing drainage. Unfortunately, this functionality is not directly available.

For those who prefer the benefits of separating existing and proposed drawings, there is at least one approach that keeps them apart. Arguably, any existing drainage that will be salvaged and/or tied in to needs to be accounted for and presented on the proposed drawing. Therefore, let's include a set of the existing nodes on the proposed drawing. To accomplish this in the proposed drawing, simply run the Extract Utility from Graphics tool on just the existing Drainage nodes. Despite the overhead of maintaining the existing drainage nodes in two places, these nodes can be associated too. Refer to Extracting Uti lites to remember how the Extract Utilities from Graphics tool works.

The risk of duplication (the same node residing in both the existing and proposed drawings) should only be an issue if both versions are simultaneously displayed. Although these duplicates might simply overdraw each other and not be a problem, the wise practice would be to shut OFF the display of existing drainage nodes in all proposed drawings.

Place Node

The Place Node tool allows the placement of subsurface drainage and utility point features such as catch basins, water line valves or manholes. Nodes are controlled using a Feature Definition which drives the properties and presentation.

Independent Nodes are set first and seed the elevation of subsequent connecting conduits. The majority (if not all) of the nodes we (NHDOT) use are Independent Nodes. The top elevation is usually extracted from a terrain model or a road design. The bottom is derived from a defined structure depth coded in the feature definition when the node is placed fully independent. These nodes may also be placed relative to pipe links, in this case the structure depth is extended to accommodate as necessary.

Dependent Nodes rely on a connecting conduit for elevation. There is usually a top elevation that is derived from a Surface, but is considered unimportant and may be left as an arbitrary definition. Examples of Dependent Nodes are water line valves or bends in a pressure line.

The Place Node tool can be found on the MicroStation menu. Select; Subsurface Utility > Layout > Place Node OR from the Task menu select; Subsurface Utilities > Components > Place Node.

Place Node panel

Place Node Panel

Elevation - When checked ON, this option allows the user to specify the node's elevation instead of the elevation being ruled to a surface.

Vertical Offset - Used to specify a vertical offset from the reference element. Code a positive value for an offset above the reference element or surface, a negative value for below.

Rotation - Used to control the rotation when placing the Node Cell. If the node is placed using Station and Offset (see Civil AccuDraw), then the rotation is relative to the base element. The node can always be rotated after the initial placement using the Manipulators.

Placement Type - Options are described below:

  1. By Minimum Depth - The invert elevation is derived using the cell's minimum structure limitations.
  2. By Conduit (with split) - The invert elevation is derived from a conduit (pipe) which is already placed. This pipe is split into two new pipes at the location of the new node. The node aligns (rotation) with the pipe link that it is splitting. The two new pipe ends at the split are automatically associated to the node.
  3. By Conduit Invert (without split) - The invert elevation is ruled to a conduit (pipe) which already exists. With this option the pipe link is not split so care should be taken to Snap to one pipe link end or the other. With this option the pipe end at the new node is not automatically associated to the node. Therefore the pipe end at the new node should be associated to the new node. See Associating Pipes for greater detail about associating links to nodes.

Feature Definition - Defines the Feature Definition to be assigned to the new node.

Name Prefix - Used to override the default naming prefix associated with the Feature Definition.

The Place Node Workflow

The Place Node command expects to be completed using the Heads-Up (cursor) prompt with the exception of the specification of the Feature Definition. That information must be entered directly into the dialog panel.

Under "Ideal Conditions", the node top (inlet grate or manhole cover) will adjust it's slope and aspect to match that of the surface where it is placed. This feature will ultimately control the elevation of the node itself such that the inlet grate or manhole cover is flush with the selected surface. The conditions necessary for this to happen are:

  1. The Vertical Offset of the node is ZERO (0).
  2. The surface slope at the node placement is less than 15%.
  3. The Reference Element for Elevation (Prompt #1) selected is a Surface and not a simple element.

Moving a node within the specified surface will maintain the flush characteristic with the surface if the above conditions are maintained. If this relationship with the surface needs to be broken, then go to the node's properties and toggle the Orient Top to Surface option from True to False.


Place Link Between Nodes

This command creates conduit links that connect two Independent Nodes. Nodes have a Connection Ring where links snap to. The Feature Definition controls what feature the link will be.

The conduit is assumed to be straight in a plan orientation unless directed otherwise. An option exists to curve (horizontally) the conduit during placement. To initiate the curving option when using the Place Link Between Nodes tool, just tap the Alt key after the first node is identified. Similar to the placement of a straight conduit, the cursor prompt will still require the location of the second node. However, since the curve option is toggled ON, this command is not yet complete. The cursor prompt will request you to Select Through Point. This Link is now dynamically hung on the cursor and is waiting for a through point to be placed. There is also an option to place conduit bends, similar to curving conduit just follow the Heads-up prompt. In either case, the created conduit profile is linear which is also true with straight conduit.

Vertical Geometry tools may be used to retroactively adjust any conduit's profile. See Conduit Profiles for more details on Conduit Profiles.

SUE Manipulation

Similar to other OpenRoads elements, SUE elements are adjustable with the use of Manipulators. Use the MicroStation Element Selection tool to identify an element to manipulate. Remember that the Manipulator functionality may be toggled ON/OFF from Element Selection with the Disable Handles button.

Nodes can be moved or rotated. Links can be reattached to other attach points or other nodes. Moving a node will also adjust all the links that are connected to it. The only restriction to using manipulators is that this be done in the DGN's Default Drawing model. This function is not intended to operate in 3D.

Conduit Profiles

OpenRoads makes it easy to adjust the profile of a conduit. Just select the conduit with Element Selection and then Open Profile Model. Use the Vertical Geometry tools to design a preferred profile. After a new profile is designed, promote it with the Set As Active Profile tool. The conduit and it's associated nodes will adjust to the revised criteria, just like magic.

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