Right-of-way Surveys / curb & gutter

What methods are other surveyors using to get vertically accurate curb/gutter and centerlines into their CAD drawings from the Rock Cloud. It seems that both the planimetrics, and the breaklines that I order through the Rock Cloud are horizontally accurate, but not vertically. I need to build a tin surface in AutoCAD civil 3d, but I’m having a hard time making that happen.

@DavyJohnson generally speaking the planimetrics have one z value for an entire line. Is that what you mean by “not vertically accurate”?

I use Virtual Surveyor to make a 3D line at various heights. You can let me know if you need help.

I just got done manually creating about 300 points in the rock cloud, and then exporting those points into my .dwg to make a surface. I downloaded virtual surveyor, but I dont know how to use it yet. I also downloaded global mapper to see which i like better. But I’m having a hard time using both. Where do people learn how to use these programs?

I just self taught but virtual surveyor has great how to videos. Global Mapper is great too I am more new to it

What type of curb/gutter are you modelling that requires THAT degree of precision?
Does the profile of the CG vary greatly over the surveyed run?
Does the run of CG involve unique drainage areas, or is it a consistent grade?
Do you have the ability to manually collect points in the field?

I think of my Lidar as the tool that defines the paper, binding and book cover to the project I am scanning. My “traditional” tools (gps rover for collecting points, total station) are the “words” on the page that define what you are reading.
When I collect this data, we take traditional shots on the catch basins, lip of gutter, water valves and manholes. Depending on the area, this typically amounts to a few dozen to a few hundred shots. This data really helps define the geometry of intersections and drainage. These are the money shots.
Lidar fills in the rest of the block and creates the entire environment around those shots and brings a wealth of data to the table! Combine these two elements and you are doing good.

Most curbs I’ve surveyed or created in my life have have consistent profiles. Apply that to your data in the middle between points… you will be amazed.

As for your drafting, the planimetrics we get from Rock is 80% perfect. We still need to add, delete and put lipstick on it before it goes to the client.

I learned my programs in school (two years of technical drafting) and 17 year Engineering. There is much in common with these platforms, so after you learned one or two, it does get “easier”, but you still need to put some time in.

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the input. We absolutely collect all of the significant drainage features traditionally, And I have collected a handful of cross sections traditionally too in order to verify the slopes and curb profiles.
Our Rock LiDAR data is impressively accurate when viewed on the Rock Cloud, but creating a good tin surface for my client is VERY challenging for me so far.
Here’s my worflow

  1. Import all of my GCPs and check shots into Rock Cloud
  2. adjust the point cloud(s) to match my GCP’s and visually check the data against my check shots.
  3. order Rock Surveyor including breaklines.
  4. download the .5’ contour .shp file and the breaklines .dwg from ROCK
  5. import that data into Civil 3d.
  6. create a tin surface defined by the .5’ contour linework, and add the breaklines to the surface definition.
  7. then check all my gcp’s and check shots against my newly created tin surface in CAD.

Using this workflow, my check shots are all over the place, but that is largely due to the fact that the tin surface has been created using the contour lines.

Am I doing this wrong? How are other surveyors creating a TIN based on the Rock deliverables?

@DavyJohnson have you tried using the Grid export after getting your rock surveyor deliverable?

Did you ever find a solution to the irratic veritcal linework? We’ve been spending money on tokens like crazy and cannot find a solution to this issue. I feel like there is only one way to do this correctly and that’s to do it ourselves, which completely kills the purpose

Yes. my solution was to correct it in civil 3d using the dem tif that is now provided.
step 1. create a tin surface using the dem
step 2. create points along the polylines at all of the nodes
step 3. select all points and adjust their elevations to the dem surface
step 4. create a new tin surface defined by my new points and then add additional breaklines in the areas outside the hard surfaces.

You could also convert each given line to a feature line in C3d, and then adjust the feature lines to the dem surface elevation.

The problem is that the Rock dtm is on a 10’ grid, which is fine for open bare earth, but not for right-of-ways. So in the right-of-ways, I have been using the fine detailed dem surface, and make sure that every element of my new surface matches that dem.

The dem is really too much for civil 3d, so I just use it to elevate my key elements, and then get rid of it.


Thanks for following up on this. Would you be able to provide any more info as to how many steps this process is as well as the amount of time it takes to do so. We are always looking for ways to make our deliverables better, and this right here is the exact reason that the Rock Community exists.

The more detailed the better, screenshots and videos are even more helpful. Thanks for taking the time to help us make your job more efficient in the future!