MicroSurvey Software Inc

AutoMAP Library - How to Use The Power

This powerful tool is poorly understood so I have tried to give some better direction so everyone can take advantage of this command in their daily work.

In general, the AutoMAP routine allows you to take a series of points that have description codes on them and perform several tasks to the points. You can move the descriptions, points, elevations and point numbers to a layer of a given name. The name of this layer by default is set to be the same as the description. This can be changed if desired. You can also place on symbols of your choice on each point, again based upon the description. The last major item is the ability to draw linework between points of similar description, in 2D or 3D, Lines or Polylines.

This sounds great - right? But the question on every ones mind is, "How do I wade through all of this to get what I need"?

The AutoMAP Editor command can be found in two locations:

1) Under the MicroSurvey menu -> AutoMAP System -> AutoMAP Library.

2) On the Option Bar. (as shown below)

Below is the opening dialogue box which is the first thing you see when you run this command, so let us start there.

The list of descriptions shown on the left is only an example and should not be used in your work, however it does help show you how things could be set. 

When you start a new job, and this is the first time in this command there are several steps to do to be able to use this command with your work.

First we need to eliminate the sample list of descriptions and load in your descriptions. To do this you should hit the New Library button. This will blank the list on the left. Next hit the Scan Dbase button. This will scan your entire job and read in the descriptions you have used, displaying them on the left. Now that we have your descriptions we can edit the options for each description and save the work. I will come back to the editing portion in a minute but right now I want to show you how to save your library.

Hit the Save Library button and then you will be asked for the name of the library to save this as.

The default library that we ship with the program is called MSCAD.CSV so you may wish to overwrite this file or save it under a different name. (MSCAD always loads by default, the MSCAD.CSV library file, when you start the program) Once saved, in a later session in another job, you can reload this library to use it in that job. To do this you would hit the Open Library button, after first clearing the list on the left by hitting the New Library button. If you do not hit the New Library button first then the library you are opening will append to the one listed on the left (which is actually a simple way to build up a large list of descriptions as time goes on).

You now know how to create your own list of descriptions, save it as a library and reopen it in a later job. Now that we have that out of the way we need to be able to edit the information in the library to make it useful to us.

Not every description in a job needs to be processed so we do give you the option of deleting a description. This allows you to shorten the list of descriptions that we need to edit. An example of a point you may not need to edit might be a simple ground shot. The description might be GROUND. We do not need any symbols or linework drawn for this description and we have decided to leave it on the layer it is currently on. This means that nothing needs to be done to this description so we don't need it in the list. To remove it from the list hit the Delete button and confirm the delete. Don't worry - your points have not been touched, only this list we are working with. You can select more than one description for deletion by holding down the Control key while picking the descriptions in the list.

If you need to manually add a description then hit the New button. If you need to rename a description due to typing or spelling errors, hit the Rename button.

Once you have the short list of descriptions that you wish to edit, you then select the first description in the list and hit the Edit button (or double pick on the description). You will edit each description in the same way described below.

1) The first description I will use is "BAR". This is what I entered in my data collector in the field when I recorded my shot.

On the final plot of the plan I want the words "Iron Bar" instead of simply "Bar" so under Plotted Description I enter it this way. If you use the additional routine "Legal Description Writer" then you can have the description "Bar" replaced in that routine by "Square Bar" if desired. So I have entered that where it says Legal Writer description. (Many States find the Legal Description Writer very handy. It is found under the MicroSurvey pulldown menu, and is a separate command sequence, not described here.) Next we need to tell the program what layer you want the Plotted Description to be placed on. The layer may be chosen from existing layers or can be a new layer name that you type in.

Now one of the more useful options: you can place a symbol on all the points with this description. The symbol name and location is shown in the little box to the right of the browse button. If you know exactly what symbol you wish to use you may type it in. Most people do not know this so the browse button speeds things up. This browse button takes you to the exact location on the hard drive where our supplied symbols reside.  (You can have your own folder with your own symbols, just go to that location and pick your desired symbol.)  You can choose from the list of symbols shown, or you can add to this list by saving a part (block) to this location before running this command. Either way, you can now pick the symbol of your choice.

Once selected you will see the symbol in the Symbol Preview box on the right. Now that you have a symbol chosen you need to tell us how big that symbol should be. That is what the Symbol Scale Factor is used for. (You may have to try different scales until you get what you desire in the long run.) If you want the symbol to be inserted at the same size as it was originally drawn, with no scaling of the symbol, then pick the No Scale option.  We also need to know what layer the symbol is to be placed on. Again you can choose it from the list or type in a new layer name. The symbol can be on the same layer as the Plotted Description but does not have to be.

When the symbol is placed on the plan, if you have any linework drawn or inversed to those points, then you may need to trim this linework back to allow hollow bars to be drawn correctly. To accomplish this you need to enter a trim radius. (You may have to try different trim radius's until you get what you desire in the long run. Pen thickness will be one factor to consider when setting the radius.) The last option for this description would be to decide if you want the Point Number, Elevation and/or the Point node to be moved to the same layer as the Plotted Description or left on the default layers. Check the appropriate boxes for those that should move to the same layer. (The default layers are set in the labelling defaults under the MicroSurvey menu -> MicroSurvey Defaults)

The above example has a point with the original description of "BAR" being changed to "Iron Bar" for plotting purposes, "Square Bar" for the legal description writer. The description is placed on the layer BAR and has a symbol as shown, scaled by 1, trimmed by 2.5 and the symbol is placed on the layer POSTS. With the Point Node also being moved to the layer BAR.

2) The next example will show 1 method of how linework can be drawn. (Do not pick on the Connect Points option if you have used any of the following methods of creating linework: Z-Coding, SDRMap Coding, or AIMS Coding.  They are different description coding options available that are different from the Connect Points option.  They do use the Layer, Linetype and Color options, if set, under the Z Method and AutoMAP Connection Info location of the dialog)

We want to connect all the points that have the description "CL" and not draw the description on the plan. Simply blank the options for the description and then in the bottom portion select the Connect Points box. Decide if you want 2D or 3D linework and if it is to be Lines or Polylines to be drawn. Next set the layer for the linework, in this example it is the layer CL. Set the linetype for the linework, Continuous is common but other linetypes are available and can be selected. Lastly, the color of the layer for the linework needs to be set. (Note that if the layer already exists, then the Linetype and color entered here, will be ignored.)

In this example we will join all the points with the description of "CL" and draw 2D Lines on the layer CL in a Centerline linetype in the color Magenta. No description will be drawn as we have left those options blank.

After editing all of the descriptions in a similar manner, you should save your library once more in the manner described near the top of this article.

Now that you have everything set you have one last step - you need to "Process AutoMAP Connections Now" by picking that button on the main AutoMAP dialog. You should now see all the symbols and linework in the drawing, just as you have set them in the library.

I hope this helps explain how to use the AutoMAP Library command in enough detail to assist you in completing your drawings.

Glen W. Cameron, C.E.T.

Technical Support Manager


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