Takeoff Lines Command

D_RPSTakeoffLines_600ppi   Takeoff Lines

Command Licensing and Default Menu Location

  • The Takeoff Lines command is part of the RPS Modeling Toolbox
  • The command is located on the Modeling macros menu ribbon
  • The command is located in the Takeoff menu group

Command Description

Creates 2D and 3D linestrings with a range of controls to manage elevation input and formulaic adjustment including 2D, single height, multiheight, multiheight auto and multiheight from surface. Also includes ability to create lines with a preset number of nodes, can autoclose and provide grip editing while in the command. Can also create curve elements and VPI only nodes also. Ideal for takeoff digitizing of linework or for data prep purposes.

*** ## Command Interface Description

The Takeoff Lines command dialog looks as follows

Select the layer on which you want to place the lines you create.

To create a New layer, click the New button to access the New Layer control. The New Layer control provides the ability to create new layers and new layer groups and to set up all of the layer properties for CAD and Takeoff purposes. For a detailed description of the control Click Here

Elevation settings:
The Takeoff Lines command has many ways to create 2D or 3D lines. Select the method required from the options listed in this section of the dialog. Each option is described below.

2D - No elevations
In this option, the elevation function is disabled and you can create 2D lines through a series of coordinate location clicks without the need to enter or accept a no elevation data entry. This is ideal for simple 2D Takeoff lines for area and length type calculations.

3D - Single elevation on first point only
In this option, the elevation of the line is constant and is requested after clicking the start location for the line. If you click a 3D location, the elevation will be populated so that you can accept it or modify it before acceptance. You can modify the elevation by editing the displayed value, by overtyping the value or by applying a math function to the value displayed e.g. add -0.5 to the value to subtract 0.5’ from the displayed value before pressing Enter to accept. After the first elevation point, all subsequent points on the line will be auto created on the coordinate location selection. This mode is great for entering Building Pads with a single floor elevation or contours with single elevations.

3D - Elevations on multiple nodes
In this option, the elevation of each node will be requested after each click. To enter an undefined elevation simply press Enter. If you click a 3D location the routine will pause to display the elevation and you can accept it or overwrite / modify it as you need. You can also apply math functions to the displayed value e.g. to add or subtract delta elevations from the displayed value. This mode is great for creating 3D lines where the elevations are changing and you want to leverage 3D information in the drawing / model but override it often with different values e.g. digitizing pipe from manholes where you have 3D locations for the manhole centers but need to enter the invert values from the pdf image etc.

Auto 3D - Elevations automatically accepted where present
In this option, the elevation of each node will be automatically accepted if the location clicked is 3D (non zero). If you click a 0 elevation or undefined elevation, the command will prompt for an elevation value. You can press Enter to set the elevation to undefined. This mode is great for when you are digitizing 3D lines where some points locations will be 3D and some will need to be entered by hand.

3D - Elevations from surface
In this option, the elevation of each node will be automatically derived from the selected target surface model at the location clicked. This mode is ideal for digitizing different pavement areas onto a finished grade model, or e.g. for digitizing water main that needs to be set at a fixed depth below finished grade e.g. 5 feet below FG. In the latter case you can use the Elevation formula (see below) {Z}-5 to adjust the derived surface elevation by -5’ for each node created.

Use Case Notes

If you click through a line and digitize the last point in the same location as the start point, the routine will auto close the current line and start a new line automatically.

If you want all the lines created to be of a specific number of nodes e.g. 2 point lines or 4 point lines for pads etc., then you can use the Line endings settings below to achieve that.

If you want all the lines created to be closed areas, then you can set the Auto close flag in the Line endings section below. When set the line will either end and close after n points are created (using the Auto end after n points setting, or when you click New to start a new line. i.e. for Building Pads with 4 corners set the Auto end after n points to 4 and set the Auto close setting to on.

Elevation formula
The elevation formula can be used to automatically adjust the elevations determined by the command. Here are some examples of how you can use it.

5400+{Z} - In this case the elevation value entered will be added to 5400 to create the elevation value. This can be used where your project is above 5400’ and you want to reduce typing for each elevation value entered. i.e. on the plans it says elevation is 5428.23 so you can enter 28.23 and it will add 5400 to that value and store it as 5428.23.

5400+{Z}-.5 - same as the example above, but in this case, the elevations provided are Top Back of Curb and you want to reduce them down to flow line which is -0.5 below the Top Back of Curb provided.

5400+{Z}/100 - same as example above, but you want to save one more key entry (the decimal point) on data that you enter. Now you can enter 2823 to create 5428.23 for example. While it doesn’t sound much, if you have 500 labels to enter and you can save 3 key entries per elevation that reduces your total keystrokes for the entry by 37.5% which has to equate to a time saving (as well as wear and tear on the keyboard and your fingers!)

Note that the elevation entry is always uppercase Z and is inside two brackets {Z}. A lower case Z or incorrect bracket type will not work i.e. {z}, (z), [Z], [z] or (Z) will all fail.

Line endings:
In this section of the dialog you can add some controls that help to speed up the creation of linework in certain scenarios

Auto-end after n points checkbox:
If you are doing certain types of work, e.g. editing cross sections or entering pipe sections or pad areas there are times when the data being created follows a repetitive pattern of 2 points or 4 points etc. In some cases the lines may also form closed areas e.g. pad areas.

This checkbox when enabled allows the line creation process to auto restart when you enter the nth point in a sequence i.e. you do not have to click New after each line is created - this saves moving the cursor over to the dialog area to click New (a big move and a single click followed by another big move) or having to right click and select New (2 clicks) each time you start a new line. Again time saving features and click reducing features. For 2 point lines enter 2 in the data field associated with the checkbox. For 4 point lines enter 4 in the data field etc. For pads that are closed you can also check the Auto-close checkbox to close the line after e.g. 4 points, alternatively set the n value to 5 and click the first point again at the end of the line which also acts as Auto-close and start a new line.

Auto-close checkbox:
When creating lines, if you know that they are all going to be closed polygon areas, then you can check this checkbox to auto-close the lines when a line is completed. The line can be completed when you get to n points when the Auto-end method above is invoked, or when you click New to start a new line or when you click the first point of the line being created a second time indicating that the line has been closed out as a polygon.

Enter the name for the line being created. If you are going to be creating many lines of the same name, click the Auto advance sticky button on the name field, so that each time you start a new line, the name is automatically accepted and you can just keep digitizing. The sticky button is enabled when the blue icon has an orange background.

The coordinate field is the usual coordinate entry field for the points / nodes of the line. You can click a location, enter a coordinate, enter delta coordinates using e.g. @10,@10 to be 10’ North and 10’ East of the last point clicked or use the snap modes to select other data already created or the right click snap modes to enter / select data using the COGO Snaps.

Depending on which mode you set in the Elevation settings, you will either be prompted for an elevation value or not. i.e. if set to 2D you will not be asked for an elevation, if set to 3D - Single elevation then you will be prompted for an elevation on the first point only, and if in any of the other 3D modes you will be asked for an elevation or to accept / modify an elevation based on the method being used and the location selected - if you click a 3D location (a point or on a line or line node etc.) then the elevation will either be automatically accepted (Auto 3D mode) or you will be shown the value and allowed to modify or accept it (3D Mode). In the 3D mode you can also click the auto advance sticky button on the elevation data entry field if you want to auto accept elevations, however you are better working in Auto 3D mode if that is what you need.

Rock Grips button:
Traditionally in TBC, the Grip functionality is disabled whenever there is a command dialog open. We have found a cool way to activate it from within a command, so that you can click the Rock Grips button to activate the grips on the line currently being created to adjust the line to fit the path that you want it to take or that you are trying to digitize.


"Switch Ends button:**
The switch ends button allows you to toggle between the ends of the line that you want to draw from, you can do this at any time and as often as you want to while creating a line - sometimes it is convenient to start in one place and work in one direction and then switch ends to complete the other end of the line rather than having to always find the start of the line to digitize from.


Use Case Tips

Curve sections of lines
When digitizing curvilnear lines you can add tangent tangent arcs by using the CTRL key when you click the coordinate location of the end of the arc. So a sequence of clicks for a Tangent - Arc - Tangent would be as follows

Click - Start of Tangent Section
Click - End of Tangent Section / Start of Arc Section
CTRL Click - End of Arc Section / Start of Tangent
Click - End of Tangent Section / Start of Arc Section
CTRL Click - End of Arc Section / Start of Tangent Section
Click - End of Tangent Section

If you have a non tangent arc i.e. end in a right angle corner of a parking lot, then create a short tangent section at the end of the arc to create the arc.

If you have back to back curves that reverse direction or that continue in the same direction, separate them with a short tangent section between the arc elements to create the geometry you need. It may not be 100% perfect but for Takeoff it will likely be good enough.

Note: Only hold the CTRL key down when clicking the coordinate field not the elevation field for the location. If you make a mistake before registering a node, you can click back in the coordinate field and reselect with the correct CTRL or CTRL+SHIFT key selections. If you create a node of the wrong type, provided that you have not closed off the line and started a new one, you can Undo and Redo as necessary and then continue editing.

Note that the curve will only be drawn once you have completed both the Inbound and Outbound Tangent into which the curve can be transcribed, until that point the curve will show as a chord across the arc.

For cul-de-sac bulbs you can just digitize the start and end of the curves of the same radius even if they are greater than 180 degrees of arc which is very common fir these types of line.

If after creating curves you find that they are not fitting exactly to the plans, then use the Rock Grips function above to switch on the grips and adjust the grip locations for the arc to get them as you need them to get the arc that you require.

Note that “eyeballing” a tangent point location is sometimes not so easy, however when digitizing over PDF files, you will often find that at the end of arcs / start of straight sections there will be a little glitch in the PDF image indicating where the tangent point is - either on the line that you are editing or on an adjacent parallel line that you can use to find the location more accurately - see image below

VPI only points
When digitizing around curves or along straight sections of lines, you may need to add VPI only points to locations along the line that do not control the geometry / position of the line. This can be helpful to keep your “long straight lines” straight (rather than multinoded) and your curves smooth. To add a VPI only point use the CTRL + SHIFT key when you click the coordinate locations (not on the elevation selection or entry). You can enter as many VPI only points along a line as needed. Note that a curve will only be created when you have two full tangent sections defined, so the atsrt and end of straight sections need to be either a CTRL Click (End of Arc start of Tangent) or a Click (End of Tangent / Start of Arc), they cannot be a CTRL+SHIFT click which only creates a VPI. On creation of a VPI you will see a VPI marker that indicates that you have created a VPI point, however the line will not be created until you do a Click or a CTRL Click to complete the section of the line.

Associated Commands

In the header bar of the command you will find that we have added a number of commonly used commands for fast and easy access while working. We have also connected those into the Takeoff Lines command functionality, so that the current line being created is automatically loaded into the called command (from the header row) and ready for editing. On completion of the edit process, when you return to Takeoff Lines, the line will be in a state that allows you to continue editing. Here are some use case examples.

You want to join the line that you are creating to another line. Click the Join line, the current line is selected and you can now select the line that you want to join it to.

You want to break the line that you are creating. Click the Break line command, the current line is selected and you can simply click the break locations required.

You entered an incorrect elevation for a VPI or a 3D node of the line being created. Click the Edit button to open the linestring editor, select vertical mode, select the VPI and change its elevation, switch back to the Takeoff Lines command.

You are about to complete a line and you want a line at an offset to the line with or without a slope or elevation delta. Click the offset line command and enter the offsets required and OK to create the offset line and then switch back to Takeoff Lines command.

You want to create a variable offset line along the line that you have just created. Click the Variable Offset line command, create the variable offset line to the current line and then return to Takeoff Lines.

You want to change the elevation of the line that you just created - either by extracting elevations from a surface model, or setting it to a specific elevation etc. Click the change elevation command, select the option required and change the elevation, then return to Takeoff Lines.

You want to add a series of lines that already exist to the line that you just created in Takeoff Lines. Select the Append Tracked command and then select the lines or sections of lines that you wish to add, and then return to Takeoff Lines.

Note that in all cases, when you return to Takeoff Lines, the line will till be the current line to be edited, but will now incorporate all of the edits that you have made.

Note you can also use the Arrow key in the header bar to jump quickly between concurrent commands that are open. So if you are hopping back and forth between commands leave them open and use the pull down to switch commands.

Starts a New line

When you tap apply or press the Enter key, the value entered in the coordinate or elevation field will be created / applied.

Closes the command without further execution.

Video Demonstration

The following video shows how to utilize the Takeoff Lines command

*** ## Use Case Videos The following videos show the use of the Takeoff Lines command in a work process context

Feedback and Enhancement Requests

If you would like to provide feedback on the use of the Takeoff Lines command or to request enhancements or improvements to the command please click “Reply” below and enter your comments or feedback.

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