Null Templates and Utility Trenches

Today I was asked how I would create a Cut Fill Map between a Design Surface or Existing Surface and a large number of Utility Trench Surfaces - and then apply a Color Map that addresses the Trench Depth Brackets used in the estimating process in order to create a color coded map in my trenches that shows the different depth brackets in a nice way.

The key challenge in this is the request to handle a “large network” of trenches that are not all isolated from each other - i.e. they cross over each other and I was asked as a “supplemental question” how I would handle that.

Well that started a chain of events and a number of issues that have already been addressed in the next daily build of TBC that we can hopefully get out in the next update / patch of the product. I will try to summarize …

What I suggested was to use a Null template for the trench model to start and stop the trenches either side of a crossing trench. To get this process to work you have to decide at any crossing which trench goes right through and which one stops and starts either side of the crossing trench. Once you have decided which trench starts and stops you need to Insert Trench Templates at the Start of the trench, at the point at which you want it to stop and then the point at which you want it to start again. Then in the properties of the template that you used to stop the trench, change the Template from whatever you assigned to “None”. This breaks all of the linework used for the Trench Model and then starts it again at the point of the next Template. For example

I start my Trench at Station 0 with template Storm trench
I stop it at Station 100 with Template None
I start it again at Station 200 with Template Storm trench and this runs to the end of the pipe.

You can have as many gaps as you want in a single trench for a single utility run.

OK so now you have defined the Templates - it now creates the linework and it also will create the Trench Model to your target surface. You should see that the linework has a gap over the areas in question.

When you build the Trench Surface Model however the trench will still form a surface element through the gap - in corridor models the corridor assigns a Null Texture to the surface to eliminate the triangles from the gap area - Trimble tells me that the Trench Surface does not currently support that automatically so you have to do it manually. They also tell me that the Trench Surface does not currently support a Null Texture and that they have fixed it today for a future release. So currently you have to create surfaces either side of the gaps using the linestrings generated by the Insert Trench Template Command and then add the surfaces together using the combine surfaces command.

The linestrings created using the Insert Trench Template command should also be set to Sharp and Texture boundary so that the Texture can be limited to the area in question - currently you have to do that manually. This is now fixed in a future release.

The alternative is to create surfaces from the group pf lines before the break and a second surface from the group of lines after the break and then you can use those surfaces to create the combined surface with the Combine Surfaces command.

So with v5.60 and earlier there are a few things that have been addressed for a future release that makes this easier - in the meantime the video shows how to handle this today with v5.6 or earlier.

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