No CAD Zone Drawings

This technote explains how TPC Desktop works with drawings.


Drawings are a collection of traverses, traverse drawing settings, surfaces, surface settings and drawing objects. When you open a drawing, Traverse PC reads the traverses, settings and drawing objects and reproduces the drawing. If you edit the data in a traverse that is included in the drawing, the drawing reflects the new traverse data. The drawing doesn't actually hold any data like coordinates and line lengths, it just references the survey data. This ensures that the drawing automatically reflects the current coordinates, dimensions and areas of the survey.

The traverses, surfaces, settings and drawing objects provide the basic building blocks that TPC Desktop uses to produce a drawing. This combination is what makes producing a map or plot in Drawing View so easy and fast. You just tell Drawing View how you want to draw the survey and it does the work for you.


To include a traverse in a drawing, you tag it in the Traverses Manager. Each drawing remembers which traverses have been tagged and un-tagged. In a typical CAD package, this is equivalent to turning layers on or off.

Traverse Drawing Settings

Traverse Drawing Settings determine how the control points, side shots and lot labels are drawn.


To include a surface in a drawing, you tag it in the Surface Manager. Each drawing remembers which surfaces have been tagged and un-tagged. In a typical CAD package, this is equivalent to turning layers on or off.

Surface Settings

Surface Settings determine how each surface is drawn. You can control contours, smoothing, breaklines, slope shading and more.

Drawing Objects

The drawing's objects include stock objects like the border and scale bar plus any text or lines you add to the drawing. In most cases, these are not tied to a traverse or survey point. They can be placed on the drawing based on the survey coordinates (Survey Space) or in Paper Space, which places them on the page in inches and in relation to the nearest corner.

Multiple Drawings

You can have any number of drawings in a survey. Each drawing remembers which traverses, settings and drawing objects belong to it. You can open a drawing, work on it, then open a different drawing. You can make a copy of an existing drawing and then add more information to the copy without affecting the original drawing. Keep track of your drawings in the Drawings Manager.

This is a very powerful feature of TPC Desktop. Because each drawing references the survey data, each one remains current as you add or modify traverses and survey points. This is a welcome feature that typical CAD packages can't offer.

A Working Drawing

As you become familiar with TPC Desktop, it is important to remember that the current drawing will be affected by any traverses you tag or un-tag. A common pitfall for new users is to finish a drawing and then leave it open while they continue to do other work on the survey that isn't related to the finished drawing. This accidentally modifies the finished drawing. Here are two rules to help you avoid this pitfall:

Rule 1 Before you start a new map, plat or exhibit, create a new drawing for it.

Rule 2 When you are finished with a drawing, close it before opening a different one.

This brings up the idea of a working drawing. As you work on a survey, you want to see what you are doing. You want to see what the imported data or rotated traverses look like. The Drawing View does this for you automatically. When you start TPC Desktop, it creates a drawing called 'Drawing 1' or 'Drawing View'. As you tag or un-tag traverses in the Traverses Manager, you are updating Drawing 1 (or Drawing View). Think of this as your working drawing. Use it to evaluate the survey data, turn off side shots, zoom in to compare record data with ground data, etc. Then, when you are ready to start a map or plat, follow rule 1 above and create a new drawing. When you are finished with the drawing, follow rule 2 and re-open Drawing 1 (or Drawing View), your working drawing.


Here is an exercise you can do to help you understand how drawings work in TPC Desktops.

The program comes with some demonstration files. One of these is LEARN FORMATS.TRV. This file includes three traverses. They are Lot 2, Lot 3, and Lot 4. To practice creating and saving drawings:

  • From the Tasks Manager, choose Sample Surveys and open LEARN FORMATS.TRV.
  • Choose File | Save Survey As... and save the file as QUICK VIEW DRAWINGS.TRV.
  • Create a drawing from the Traverses Manager Drawing View for each individual traverse. Name these drawings Lot 2, Lot 3, and Lot 4.
  • Create a drawing that includes all three lots and name it All Lots.
  • Keep the Drawing View drawing intact and leave it as the open drawing.
  • Save the file.

To check your work, close the file and re-open it. This ensures that you are in the saved version of the file.

If you understand the way the program works and if you have followed the procedures above, the drawings should be what you expect. If they aren't what you expect, go back through and practice the procedural habits until you can be sure that you are saving the drawings you think you are.

Related Topics

Drawing View vs. CAD
Quick Start
TRV and DRV Files
Using Drawing View
Smart Drawing Objects
Working with Drawing Objects
Drawing Commands


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