What Data Files Should I Ask For From a Bentley OpenRoads Designer User

Here is our current recommendation on what to ask for from a Bentley OpenRoads Designer when it comes to digital design information. In the near future we recommend that you look closely at the Trimble Quadri and Quadri Pliugin for OpenRoads Designer to drastically simplify the process of data flow from Bentley to Trimble Business Center / Trimble field systems.

  1. To get Alignments and Profiles and Surfaces always request LandXML files. These work the best.

  2. To get the CAD Linework a DGN, DXF or DWG is best

  3. To get the CAD Sections - a DGN, DWG or DXF is best

  4. An alternative for Cross Sections is an .XSR or .END format file from Bentley products

  5. The drawings in PDF File is also a good to have

  6. If they have solids / component meshes then those can also be good in either an IFC or a DWG as Solids

  7. If they have Utilities then a LandXML is best for those

Ideally with LandXML they provide the XML Surfaces as TIN Models with the Source Point and Linework information. There are switches on the export functions that allow this to happen.

I will post a review Presentation that I did for an ORD design team / contractor JV which has some short videos on how to extract data using Bentleys tools to get what is best for Trimble. In the future using Quadri and the Quadri Connector drastically simplifies this process. I will also post a video on Quadri to / from OpenRoads Designer as well.


Hi Alan

Can you please advise the inverse of this? Being I work in TBC, what is the best way for me to give my data to an Open Roads Designer?

Of particular interest, is how do I get them a surface, ORD call this a Terrain?
Also, not there yet, but how do attributes (say captured in utilities (pipe size, owner etc.) transfer to ORD?

In addition all the everyday stuff, Linework, points, map styles that are setup in FXL etc.
Does survey raw data transfer with this etc.?

Nick Murphy

Sure - Here is what I know works

Surface Models
Use LandXML Files to deliver surface models

Breaklines of surfaces will be transferred by LandXML, you can also send linework to OpenRoads Designers in DWG format or DXF Format. Bear in mind that linework from TBC is not a perfect match to linework in AutoCAD or Microstation because they cannot have independent VPIs on a line, nor can they have arcs that can be defined in 3D without defining them on a tilted plane using a UCS - whereas TBC can do that - so when you export TBC CAD Linework you can send them 2D linework with full geometry or 3D linework that is a chorded approximation that accommodates vertical curves, vertical arcs, 3D Arcs and 3D Spirals since native CAD formats cannot carry full 3D Geometry. Note also we do put out names of lines as extended attributes so you can find the line names in CAD when you need to, but it is not as straight forward as in TBC.

Basic Point Data can be transferred as CAD Points in DWG or DXF or you can provide them in a CSV format. I don’t know if you can add extended attributes via a CSV file to ORD - I will look into that. If you want to send survey points with attributes I think you will likely need to do that using an SHP/SHX (ESRI Shape File) or an ESRI GeoDB (Geodatabase file) or try using one of the GIS Formats to get the data across. According to the Bentley Forum, you can import ESRI formats using Bentley Map which is a free add on for Bentley Civil Application Users (Read OpenRoads Designer Users). I also looked at the OpenRoads ASCII CSV file importers and they can import point and breakline data to form a surface from a TXT or CSV type file and make linework and points that can be used to make surfaces. There is also a Survey Text importer that has a template function so I am assuming that you can also import Survey Data that way. I don’t know whether Bentley added in the Trimble plug in that reads JXL files for Access and DC files into ORD - I am still trying to get a handle on that one.

Send Alignments as LandXML Files

Explode Corridors and send the alignment as a LandXML along with the surface and send the linework as a CAD File (DWG/DXF)

If you import an IFC Shell file into TBC you can reexport it as an IFC file to OpenRoads Designer.

Sheet View Data
To send Sheet View Data you can select the data in Plan View that is dynaviewed to the Sheet View in TBC and then also select the Plansets in Project Explorer and send that as a DWG or DXF. Note the Sheet View data in TBC is only a reference to the plan view data in TBC so you need both. A set of grids on a sheet is not supported as a Grid object so you would have to explode the grids if you want to send those also.

Blocks will transfer as Blocks via DXF / DWG

Text will transfer via DXF/DWG. Note that your CAD Client will also need to find the Symbol.SHX file to replicate the point symbols of TBC when they import the CAD file.

Are exported as Lines and Text I believe to DWG/DXF so you can transfer them that way.

I will do a little more digging on how to best transfer Survey Point data to OpenRoads Designer for you.


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Hey Alan
I’ve recently imported a Bentley open road dgn file.

If i drag and drop it in, it will only give me 2d line work, but if I use the import folder function and select show model , then everything come in as a shell3d bim object, with no alignments.
Is there any way of creating alignments / templates / corridors / surface quickly from this data