While lot number, area, and frontage reign supreme when it comes to parcel design, those bits of data rarely tell the whole story we need to tell. Perhaps you’re working on a multi-use community and need to document the land use classification of each parcel. You could resort to a workaround like using standard AutoCAD text, but this separates the classification from the object itself. While the ideal state is to associate data with the corresponding Civil 3D object, how does one address classifications that are outside the box?

The Purpose of Civil 3D User-Defined Properties

A lesser used feature of Civil 3D Parcels is User-Defined Property Classifications. In the most basic way, this allows us to create custom properties for the Parcel objects we create for our designs. The process of creating a User-Defined Property begins on the Settings tab of Toolspace. There you can create a custom classification along with any number of properties (fields) you need for your project.

Applying Civil 3D User-Defined Properties

While the process of creating custom property classifications is straightforward, making those properties available to the parcels in your drawing isn’t. Once created, your custom properties must be added to the site you wish to use them for. It’s not until this step is complete that the field appears for the parcels in your design.

Though a little tedious, this behavior allows you to designate different data for different parcel types (such as wetlands) in your drawing.

More importantly, as object data associated with the parcel itself, you can display the property inside a label style just as you would include the parcel number in the same style. In this way, you can avoid less-than-ideal workarounds like using AutoCAD text for such annotations.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve leveraged user-defined properties within Civil 3D for? Let us know in the comments below.

With over 15 years of industry experience, Donnie is a recognized Autodesk design solutions expert. His extensive knowledge of the technical requirements for completing design and engineering projects empowers his clients to fully realize the power of their technology solutions.

Donnie is also a published author, having written the Autodesk Official Training Guide -AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT: No Experience Required. He is a regular instructor at Autodesk University each year, delivering critical information to address specific needs of Autodesk users.

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