I attended a seminar on Autodesk Civil 3D 2007 and Vault today that was sponsored by Avatech today, and I've got to say I was impressed. Autodesk has come a long way in helping Engineering/Survey firms. This could be both greatest productivity boost and paradigm shifter in Site/Civil work since the shift to CAD from pencils itself.
Autodesk is totally inverting the design model used for site/civil work. They are moving from a model where designers draw lines to represent roads, curb, and parcels to a true parametric/GIS model where the lines are merely graphical representations of the roads, curbs, and parcels that have been geometrically described by the engineers and designers to Civil 3D. This, once fully appreciated is a sea-change for the AEC industry.
To implement this new work model, you first must setup templates/styles for the ways your organization wants Civil 3D to represent your parcels, alignments, plans, profiles etc. This goes far beyond layering standards and into colors, line thicknesses, notes, call-outs, scales, dimensioning styles and much, much, more. Remember, Civil 3D is going to do most of the drafting, based on the geometry you lay out. This means you actually are training Civil 3D in much the same way the you would train a new Designer in how your plans should look. Except now, you can't simply hand them a set of reference plan and tell him "Make your projects look like this.", you instead have to codify your preferences in a machine readable format through a multitude of dialog boxes and data entry forms.
The good news is that this work is not done every time you open a project but rather you are able to easily condense these designs into a template for future use.More to come....