Geometric Selection Command

D_StandardizeXSections_600ppi   Geometric Selection

Command Licensing and Default Menu Location

  • The Geometric Selection command is part of the RPS Modeling Toolbox
  • The command is located on the Modeling macros menu ribbon
  • The command is located in the Sections menu group

Command Description

This powerful tool provides geometric selection properties for imported CAD or PDF linework. Initially conceived for the cross section takeoff workflows, this tool provides geometric controls that can be combined for extremely rapid selection and relayering of objects using length, aspect ratio and node count.

Note: This command has been optimized to work with an updated object selection control that will be available in the upcoming 5.31 update to TBC. In v5.30 you may find that the Global Selection may not always work first time, if you see that happen then simply select the control, tab out of the field and then click in it again, that should force it to refresh the control.

Command Pre-Requisites

Before using this command you will need to have imported e.g. some cross section data from a vector PDF file into the sheet view or CAD cross sections into the plan view. The command provides real value where the imported CAD or PDF data has many data items for each section all on the same layer (as you will see in the videos further down this help topic).

The command is designed to sort out data into separate layers based on their geometric properties like length, aspect ratio, number of nodes, open / closed and direction etc. The command has been designed for CAD (Plan View) or PDF (Sheet View) cross section files, but can also be used on other data.

When working with vectors extracted from PDF files in sheet view, you can easily see the entire sheet of sections on a single screen, and you can superimpose multiple sheets of sections on top of each other using the “Multi Sheet View” (hold Shift and select the sheet set in project explorer or hold Shift and select the sheet set in the sheet selector in sheet view)

The first steps of the process are

  • Delete any data that is easy to select graphically that you do not need e.g. title boxes and borders of the sheets. Use normal CAD commands to achieve this
  • Check each layer of the imported data to see if you have any clean layers that can be quickly relayered without the use of this command. Do these first and switch off those layers to reduce the "noise" on screen. Use the RPS Relayer command to achieve this.
  • Now work on each layer remaining in turn, to split multiple data elements onto separate layers using the Geometric Selection command.
  • if the imported PDF vectors have text defined as polylines, you can use the Polyline Character Recognition (PCR) command to convert the polyline characters into text strings for use in the cross section work process.

Command Interface Description

The Geometric Selection command dialog looks as follows

Data Selection Section

Select Lines:
Select the data that you wish to analyze and make sub selections from. We recommend that you process only one layer of information at a time in either mode of operation.

The selected lines can be reviewed in the selected lines data table that is displayed. This will show you all of the geometric properties of the selected data items including Type (Linestring, Polyline etc.), Length, Aspect Ratio, Number of Nodes, Layer Name). These are the geometric properties that you will be using to make the sub selections from the master data selection.

Selected color:
When you define a selection filter, any objects from this selection list that meet all of the selected criteria will be shown in the “Selected color” (Navy Blue by default), click on the Rockpile Settings button (orange R) in the header of the dialog to change the color used.

Highlight color:
If you click on any line in the table, that data item is highlighted on the graphics area in the “Highlight color” (Green by default) - click on the Rockpile Settings button (orange R) in the header of the dialog to change the color used.

Filter Section

In this section you can define and save filters for recurring object selections. Note some elements lend themselves to a defined and saved filter whereas others require filters to be defined on the fly as needed as they may have highly variable geometric properties.


In this area of the dialog you can create a New filter, Edit an existing filter, Save a filter and Delete a filter using the buttons to the right of the pick list control. You can also select a defined filter from the pull down list control.

Define Filter:
There are two ways to define a Pattern Filter

  • As a group - this is used to define a pattern using a group of objects. e.g. if an object such as a Guard Rail is defined by a selection of lines (rather than a single line), that are always drawn in sequential order and in the same way, you can select them as a group. The group definition then has a combined length, combined line count, combined aspect ratio and combined number of nodes. In this case you can select one example of the group of objects to define the pattern.
  • As a range - this is used to define a pattern using single line objects (single or multi-segment lines) e.g. linear features like Grid Lines, Existing Ground, Finished Grade, Subgrade, Overexcavation, Median Island, Barrier, Curb and Gutter sections etc.). In this case you can select a number of objects and the overall ranges are computed for min / max length, min / max aspect ratio, min / max node count etc. to cover the range of objects selected.

When you use the group mode, the lines are grouped into a single object for analysis purposes, so the length, aspect, number of nodes will be the sum of the combined elements. Nodes that are duplicated in two or more linear elements will be counted using the total number of occurrences.

Select pattern objects:
Select the pattern objects (a few examples e.g. 5 will pick up the variations within the object being defined provided that the object is fairly constant). Once selected tap the Build filter pattern from selected objects button. This will capture the min / max values for each of the geometric filters shown below.

All objects from the master selection set that meet the geometric selection criteria defined by the filter pattern will now be selected and highlighted with the highlight color. If this does not create the desired selection you can switch individual filter controls On / Off or adjust the Min / Max ranges to refine the filter pattern defined to better select the target objects. Remember to tap the Save filter button when you have the filter as you need it.

In the example captured in video below, the Median Island is a good example of a recurring object with fairly constant geometric properties. The Existing Ground lines on the other hand have highly variable length, aspect ratio and node count so are harder to define with a manually adjusted filter.

If you have a filter pattern selected, you can add additional lines to the Select pattern objects to update the selected filter and then save the update if you wish to adjust the pattern to accommodate some additional line geometries that were not selected by the current pattern definition.

Pause filtering checkbox:
This temporarily disables all of the currently selected filters. If you wish to manually select objects and relayer them, while running this command, use the pause filtering checkbox to suspend the filtering process, select the objects that you wish to relayer and then double click the layer in the target layers list or select the layer with a single click and tap apply to reassign the objects to the target layer.

In all of the filters below, if you need to fine adjust the sliders, you can use the left and right arrow keys once you have selected the slider that you wish to adjust. You can control the step increment of the arrow keys using the Rockpile Settings button (orange R in the header bar of the command).

Note that the linear scales for the sliders can be linear or logarithmic in nature. You can set the calculation method for the sliders using the Rockpile Settings (orange R in the header bar of the command). The min max ranges of the sliders are defined by the master selection set of objects.

Length Filter:
If you wish to use the Length filter, check the Use Length filter checkbox.

You can now either enter values for the upper and lower length bounds for the filter or use the sliders to vary the values dynamically. as you enter or select new values, the selection set will dynamically update in line with the combination of filters that are defined.

Aspect Filter:
If you wish to use the Aspect filter, check the Use Aspect Ratio filter checkbox. The aspect ratio of a line is the ratio of its height to its width. A vertical line has an aspect at the right end of the scale. A horizontal line has an aspect at the Left end of the scale. All other lines will fall somewhere in between the left and right end of the scale depending on their aspect ratio.

You can now either enter values for the upper and lower aspect bounds for the filter or use the sliders to vary the values dynamically. as you enter or select new values, the selection set will dynamically update in line with the combination of filters that are currently defined.

Nodes Filter:
If you wish to use the Nodes filter, check the Use Nodes filter checkbox. The number of nodes is the number of node points that a line has as defined by the source data. Note that when working with sections, these are typically cut through TIN surface models, so where a line looks like it may have 2 or 3 nodes, it may have many more nodes than you would expect, because there will be a node at each point where the cross section sliced a triangle side in the surface models from which they were derived.

You can now either enter values for the upper and lower node bounds for the filter or use the sliders to vary the values dynamically. as you enter or select new values, the selection set will dynamically update in line with the combination of filters that are defined.

Line Filter:

The line filters provide some additional geometric options to further refine your selection. By default this section is turned off, switch them on where necessary

Filter by Direction
Clockwise / Counter clockwise - The direction in which the line is drawn can be a deciding factor for a filter to work / fail.

Filter by Open / Closed State
Closed / Open Ended - The Open or Closed nature of a line can also be a deciding factor, however the start and end point of the line have to be in an identical location. This can be more useful with CAD data than PDF data (due to PDF files being less precise than CAD files).

Filter by Number of Lines
The number of lines that make up the object. This will typically be set to 1 unless you are using filter as a group. If using a group, the lines selected to make up the group must be sequential in the imported file. When you enter a numerical value other than 1 in this field, the table of selected objects and their geometry will merge the selected objects into the first of the series of objects in terms of providing the geometrical property data i.e. the Length, Aspect Ratio, Number of Nodes will all be the aggregate of the lines making up the group. The other line entries will be set to 0 for all values.

All filters will be enabled, you can de-select or re-select any filters that you require. Filters can be used in any combination to define the pattern which will be used for selection. Note that it is easier to buildup a filter pattern using a bottom up approach rather than a top down approach i.e. start with fewer filter controls and add them as you need them rather than trying to take them away when you think you don’t need them. With the bottom up approach, you can dynamically see the effects of the filter controls being applied directly, whereas with the top down approach it can sometimes be hard to identify the correct mix of parameters to reliably select the data that you are chasing.

When you have a defined filter selected, that is controlling the selection of data.

If you have a selected Defined Filter and you want to revert to manual filter controls, select None / Default in the pull down list of defined filters.

Relayer Selected Lines Section

Once you have created your geometric filter you will now have a sub selection of objects that meet the criteria defined by the filter. The objects that you select will then be relayered using this section.

Add Layer
Select a layer that you want to add to the list of potential target layers below. By adding a layer to the list of potential target layers, when you are ready to relayer the selected objects, it is as simple as selecting the target layer from the list you created and tapping Apply to execute, or you can double click the target layer in the list.

On execution, the selected objects are relayered and removed from the master selection list, ready for the next selection process. You can add as many Layers to the Target Layers list as you need for the process that you are working on. For Cross Sections this will typically be the layers for the following types of data

  • Existing Ground
  • Finished Grade
  • Subgrade 1,2,3 etc.
  • Overexcavation
  • Median Island
  • Barrier Walls
  • Bridge Structure
  • Grid Lines
  • Grid Text (Elevations and Offsets)
  • Station Labels

Copy to global selection:
If you click this button, the currently selected objects will be used to replace the master selection in the selected lines section at the top of the dialog. Use this to create a new selection set from which to sub select data.

Delete selected lines:
Sometimes you will want to simply delete the currently selected data. To do that click this button.

Note that unless you have Pause Filtering checked, the normal TBC Delete or CTRL D processes would delete the master / global selection items, not the sub selection made by the filtering process. When Pause filtering is enabled, you can use the CTRL D or TBC Delete function to delete the selected data. However, when Pause filtering is not checked clicking this button will delete the currently selected data.

User Notes

  • The filters that you define within the project are all stored in a file called GeometricSelection.RPS rhat is stored in the current project folder. You can copy this file to another Project Folder if you wish to use the same filter settings in that project also. For example you may have several people processing 50 sheets of sections each, and the first person has already defined successful filters that will speed up the other peoples operations.

When you tap apply, the selected data will be relayered, the relayered data will be removed from the master selection set and the command will ready itself for another filtering process. If you do not want to make a second filter and repeat the process tap Cancel to finish the process.

Executes the relayering of the current filter selection set and closes on completion

Closes the command without further execution.

Video Demonstration

The following video shows how to utilize the Geometric Selection command

Use Case Videos

The following videos show the use of the Geometric Selection command in a work process context

Feedback and Enhancement Requests

If you would like to provide feedback on the use of the Geometric Selection command or to request enhancements or improvements to the command please Click Here