I am looking for some pretty specific tasks to be carried out by a software program. I’m currently using Civil 3D, but I can’t help but think there is a better program (or at least a better Autodesk based workflow).

Here is an overview of my project, followed by the requirements I’m looking for.


  • Approx. 40 locations/sites
  • Use hi-res raster aerial images (most obtained via UAV) to analyze properties
  • Looking to identify obvious problems such as poor drainage, inadequate parking, deteriorated pavements, potential future growth areas
  • The properties are mostly commercial or industrial
  • Based on the owner’s vision and property maintenance budget, develop a rudimentary 5-10 year outlook (i.e. install underground storm detention and adjacent pond in 2020, add a loading dock in 2022, etc.)


  • Create polygons around problem areas or items of interest
  • Ability to assign a polygon to a layer or tag (there will be 10-15 total layers or tags that every markup will fall under
  • Automatically change the appearance (color, transparency) depending on the layer or tag
  • Quantify square footages, # in each layer or group
  • Generate a report in .csv or .txt format for each location

Note: Final deliverable would hopefully be web-map based (think google maps JavaScript APIs).


1 Answer 1


I don't see why Civil 3D doesn't meet your needs. It can accomplish and automate everything you've specified apart from visually identifying and marking the problem areas.

Drawing Setup

You can start by creating a template and setting up all the layers and line work etc for your areas and for every task you create your drawing starting with the template. Civil 3D has hundreds of default layers you might not want to use, so perhaps you can create a barebones template from AutoCAD.

When you start to draw you regions, make sure everything is set to ByLayer and pick the appropriate layer before sketching. This way the appearance is added as you draw.

Data Export

Autocad has a command, EATTEXT, which you can use to export almost any data of almost any object to a csv file, and you can do it in bulk. This has aparently bee deprecated and replaced by Attribute Extraction wizard in version 2018.

Export to Maps

Civil 3D has a built-in feature to export data to a kml/kmz file for Google Earth. Just make sure that you start off with a properly georeferenced file, preferably in WGS84.

You can also easily write scripts to automate some repetitive tasks if you need to.

Possible (probably better) Alternative

Autodesk Revit is in general more user friendly than any AutoCAD based product. You can create areas, rooms and sites and assign specific metadata to them and automatically annotate them as well.

From there you can easily create schedules of quantities with all the info you need and export to csv if you need to.

Revit just doesn't have an option to export to Google maps I know of, but perhaps a plug-in exists.

If you're not familiar with Revit, do yourself a favour and check it out.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. I’ve had Revit for years (just installed 2019 on my PC the other day), but I’ve never used it! I guess I always figured it was the program where different trades brought in their respective designs for final collaboration and preparing model for client. Is that incorrect? $\endgroup$ May 30, 2018 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's incorrect. Revit is a design and design authoring tool for architectural, structural, and MEP design. You can do instant quantity take off with it and rapid drawing production. Civil 3D is better for bulk civil design, I wish can have the functionality of Civil 3D with the user friendliness of Revit. For model coordination between disciplines and parties there is Autodesk Navisworks, but support for that is starting to wane in favour of cloud based solutions like Asite. $\endgroup$
    – ChP
    May 30, 2018 at 15:09

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