updated: 4-Jan-2012

 Copan Pro or Copan Pro+DWG

CADface: export to DWG file

  1. To Export to a DWG File
  2. Advanced Settings
  3. Blocks File
  4. Block Types
  1. Extended Blocks
  2. Line Stringing
  3. Examples
  4. Notes

Just as you can export points from a Copan coordfile to a text file, via this module you can export symbolized points to an AutoCAD-compatible DWG file. And, with proper point coding, an appropriate point codes table, and a good set of symbol blocks, the CAD file will be automatically produced to a fairly high state of completion.

To set this up, though, you will need the help of a competent AutoCAD user and you'll both need to study the following material very carefully: this chapter; the § Point Codes chapter; and the files in the \User Manual\Sample Aux Files\ folder (read_me.txt, sample_codes.txt, sample_blocks.dwg).

The term CADface was coined by a former UGL employee and is not in general use. While the original meaning was different, think of it as meaning Copan-to-CAD-file interface.

Note: This module is only available in Copan Pro+DWG, not in Copan Pro.

Also note that exporting a Copan drawing to DWG format is possible but is not covered here. See the separate Copan CAD notes.

1. To Export to a DWG File

From the CoordFile menu, choose CADface (Export to DWG).

  1. CoordFile | CADface (Export to DWG)...
  2. Enter or Browse... to the Codes Table name and the Blocks File name. See § Point Codes and Blocks File (below) for descriptions of these.
  3. Choose which Points to export: All of them or Filter... a subset. (See § Point Filters.)
  4. Optionally Apply Transformation to the points during export. (The coordfile will not be changed.) Clicking Yes... allows you to enter the transformation parameters (see § Coordinate Transformations.)
  5. Enter the Scale for the output drawing.
  6. Choose how many Elevation Decimals to show on labels.
  7. Choose other options as appropriate (see Advanced Settings below).
  8. Export or OK.

To export points to a DWG file: Choose the Codes Table and Blocks File; enter the drawing Scale; choose which Points to export; and click Export.

2. Advanced Settings

Some things rarely need to be changed:

3. Blocks File

This is a DWG file, normally found in the Auxiliary Files folder, containing a reference set of point symbols. You can create or insert, and keep as a visible graphic, each symbol block in the blocks.dwg file. (Copan will use the definitions, but not the actual inserts, from the blocks file as appropriate.)

See the file \Sample Aux Files\sample_blocks.dwg for an example of topographic blocks. (You will need an AutoCAD drawing viewer.)

If nothing else, the blocks file must contain a default block (see above).

4. Block Types

Just as there are basic and extended code types, there are corresponding basic and extended block types. The codes table (see § Point Codes) specifies which block, and which block type, from the blocks file to use with which code.

Every basic-typed block (including the default block) must have these attributes:

If you are using SoftDesk applications, the elevation attribute must be defined first and the number attribute must be defined second.

When any block is used, via an appropriate point code reference, its insert will be labelled (or annotated) accordingly. Every block may also have a custom attribute, whose Tag can have any name, to be used as an additional but fixed annotation. Note, however, that the text of the custom attribute must be placed in the Prompt field and not in the Default field (not quite what you might expect).

5. Extended Blocks

There are three kinds of extended blocks: hole, culvert and tree. When these blocks are used, their inserts will be labelled, and trees will be scaled, according to the dimensions (or sizes) within the extended point codes.

For that to happen, each kind of extended block must have both the basic attributes (described above) and some additional attributes.

Each hole-typed block must also have these attributes:

Each culvert-typed block must also have this attribute: Each tree-typed block must also have these attributes: You needn't have any graphic on a tree block; Copan automatically adds a circle scaled to the trunk diameter and a dashed circle scaled to the spread diameter.

6. Line Stringing

If you check the Join line points box, certain points can be joined together into lines on drawings via line stringing.

7. Examples

Suppose this is an excerpt of your point codes table:
Code    Description     Type     Block   Layer    Desc
0       control point   basic    CONT    survey   CP
1       lamp stand      basic    LAMP    util     LS
8       catch basin     hole     CATCH   util     CB
13      deciduous tree  tree     DTREE   veg      DT
36      culvert         culvert  CULV    topo     culv

The following would be the response by CADface, given the following point codes:

Point Code CADface Symbol or Line CADface Annotation
0 Place a CONT symbol on the survey layer.
0.7 Place a CONT symbol on the survey layer.
1 Place a LAMP symbol on the util layer.
1.3 Place a LAMP symbol on the util layer.
8.125 Place a CATCH symbol on the util layer. CB RIM=76.95 INV=75.70
8.85 Place a CATCH symbol on the util layer. CB RIM=74.87 INV=74.02
13.150.10 Place a DTREE symbol on the veg layer. 1.50Ø DECID SPRD=10
13.90.15 Place a DTREE symbol on the veg layer. 0.90Ø DECID SPRD=15
32.11.1 Start line 11 on the util layer.
32.11.2 Continue line 11 on the util layer.
32.11.2 Continue line 11 on the util layer.
32.11.2 Continue line 11 on the util layer.
32.11.3 End line 11 on the util layer.
36 Place a CULV symbol on the topo layer.
36.35 Place a CULV symbol on the topo layer. 0.35Ø

Note that

8. Notes

Warning for AutoCAD 2008 and 2009 Users

A problem exists between some CADface-created DWG files and versions 2008 or 2009 of AutoCAD. Specifically, AutoCAD 2008 or 2009 crashes or freezes when re-opening certain CADface-created DWG files.

Note, however, that the problem only exists if

Further, the problem does not happen with AutoCADs 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2010. The CADface-created drawings do not get "damaged" by AutoCAD 2008 or 2009 if they are only opened and not re-saved. The drawings, if damaged, can be "repaired" by being opened and re-saved by AutoCADs 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2010. Installing service pack 2 on AutoCad 2008 or service pack 3 on AutoCad 2009 does not solve the problem.

Here's the tricky part: If your blocks.dwg file is corrupted by AutoCAD 2008 or 2009 — which really means it contains a load of useless "proxy objects" — it cannot be repaired by being opened and re-saved by another AutoCAD. This is how to clean it:

  1. In AutoCAD, open the DWG file, then issue the "dxfout" command to save it as a DXF file.
  2. Open the DXF file in a text editor.
  3. For each "ACAD_PROXY_OBJECT" line:
    Delete everything from, and including, that line, down to, but excluding the first keyword line after the next "AcDbProxyObject" line.
    (Read that again carefully!)
  4. Save the DXF file.
  5. In AutoCAD, issue the "dxfin" command to load the DXF file, then save it back as a DWG file.
There, you've cleaned your blocks.dwg so it now works with Copan to produce AutoCAD-2008/2009-compatible drawings, and is much smaller. But don't edit it again with AutoCAD-2008/2009!

updated: 4-Jan-2012