eNewsletter – January, 2017

Mark Lull, Technical SupportMark Lull: TPC Desktop 2017 – The Best Release Ever!

Wow! What an honor! I got this entire newsletter to myself! Why?

I stated in my last newsletter article that, “No other software can do what we do”. Well, as we wrap up TPC Desktop 2017 and get it ready for release, everyone here at Traverse PC keeps ribbing me for saying, “this is the best release ever”. I bring it up just about every time we talk about it. I’ll let them have their fun, but I’m standing my ground. This really is the best release ever.

I’m on the phone every day, helping someone learn to use TPC Desktop better. So I’m always looking for ways to help make TPC Desktop fast, fun and friendly for the folks who use it. I’m always lobbying for tools that elevate what TPC can do for folks without making it more complex. There’s a balance there that is really important. If we don’t get it exactly right in a new release, I’m tied to the phone helping folks figure it out. But when we do get it right, like we did in this release, I know our TPC users are going to take off running without any of my help. That’s why I like this release. It has the balance exactly right. It’s the best release ever!

Line Label Formatting

We get lots of requests about line labels. You may want to add a comma, change the spacing, add your own special characters, change the orientation, left justify, right justify and the list goes on. You want to get exactly what you want with the least amount of busy work. All while maintaining 100% association with the survey data that creates and updates the label.

New Label StyleWell, we’ve taken all your ideas and worked some real magic in our new line label formatting. Extending the label formats we already use for curves/spirals and points, we came up with a few firm but simple rules that let you decide how you want to label tangents, curves and spirals using our new Auto, Aligned or Stacked label styles. The rules are simple, but the possibilities are endless.

(I’m always amazed, as we work through the design process for new features, that the new features usually just modify or build on our existing structure. This is a testament to how well thought out Traverse PC’s software has been since the very first version thirty years ago!)

Now you can force all labels to be Stacked or Aligned. Large drawings render faster with these options, so they’re great for all the work you do prior to finishing your drawings or plats. Or you can let TPC align the labels that fit and stack the ones that don’t by selecting Auto.

Label Formats

Format Tangent LabelsThe magic is in the label formats. B^H places the direction label (B) on the outside of the traverse and the distance label (H) on the inside of the traverse. What’s the rule? Anything left of ^ goes outside. Anything right of ^ goes inside. That’s what we mean about firm but simple. So apply this to curve labels and ‘R=’R’A=’A^BH places the radius and arc length on the outside and the chord direction and distance on the inside. The R= and A= are just text you added yourself to help you identify what’s what.

We’re pretty excited about all of you who are going to create labels like [[B]]|[[H]]. This places the direction above the line with double brackets around it and the distance below the line with double brackets around it. And there you have your record data right on the drawing.

And TPC stores these label formats with your saved and recalled Traverse Drawing Settings. So figure it out once and then re-use it many times. You will probably end up with just a handful of label settings that you will use over and over again.

Extra Label Offsets

Extra Label Offset For Record DataIn the example shown here, we’ve added extra offset to the record data traverse labels so they are displayed farther away from the lines than the measured labels. (We don’t have the record data traverse draw any lines or points, it just displays the record data line labels.)

Not only does TPC do all the busy work of creating the measured and record labels for you, but because you didn’t have to modify the label text to get what you want, TPC is still free to update the data values (bearing, distance, etc.) as the survey data is changed. So you get the best of both worlds – highly flexible label formatting with 100% data association.

You’ll love it!

Word Spacing

Each drawing can be set up to insert a specific number of characters between the words in the labels.

The rule here is simple. If you don’t leave any spaces between format characters like B and H, TPC inserts the word spacing specified in the Drawing Settings. If you enter one or more spaces between these characters, TPC uses your spaces instead.

Stacked Label Orientation

Stacked and Perpendicular to AlignmentThis one is really fun! Have you ever wanted to have all of your line or curve labels be displayed perpendicular or parallel to the traverse lines? Maybe you want all of your labels to be horizontal or vertical on the page. In TPC Desktop 2017, you can do all of those.

When you combine these options with all of the format options, offset options, word spacing options and the Read Line Labels options in the Drawing Settings, you can achieve an informative and visually stunning look with very little work on your part. You can really make your drawings stand out from other surveyors’ plats very easily!

(Oh, come on! I know that all surveyors are truly artists who always want to showcase their work! That’s why we have plat competitions at our conferences.)

Examples to Help You Get Started

We’ve included a lot of examples for tangents, curves, record data, stacked label orientation and so on. There’s even a new Sample survey that shows you how to create many popular labels you can modify for your needs and style.

We have also included extensive information on label formats in the new Help topics on the subject. Your options are virtually unlimited with all of the new choices that are available to you.

Varas and Other Units

Varas and User Defined Units FactorsHere at Traverse PC, we’re always looking out for the guys that need that one special something to help them get their surveys out the door. For our Texas users, it’s Varas. In Texas, you need them. So TPC Desktop 2017 includes them. However, in our research, we found that although the factor 2.77777778 is the most common, there is some ongoing discussion about exactly what that factor should be. So we also added a User Defined factor. Set it to the factor you are going to hang your hat on and away you go.

Using Any Units in Drawings

We’ve also made it super easy to draw with any units of measure. Here’s how.

Open the Drawing Settings and click on the Miscellaneous tab

  • Select factor you need for the Units
  • Tell TPC to include [x] Distance Units and enter whatever you want displayed as the distance units
  • Tell TPC to [x] Apply Units to Scale

Now take a look at the drawing. We’re using varas in this example. Notice the vs after the distances in the line and curve labels. Also notice that the Scale bar displays Varas for it’s values with vs.

This makes using any distance units in your drawing extremely easy! You could display cubits, furlongs, inches, parsecs or any unit of measure, real or imagined, in your drawing!

Drawing Varas

Other Improvements

I could make this newsletter at least twice as long by talking about the other enhancements in TPC Desktop 2017 but I think I’ll let you read about them on the website.

Remember that if you aren’t on the TPC Connection and you purchase an update to TPC Desktop 2017, you don’t only get the features listed for TPC Desktop 2017. You also get all the features that have been added to the program since whatever version you are on was released. There are a lot of them, even if you’re on TPC Desktop 2016!

Don’t forget to take a look at the new videos. They’re listed at the top of the column to the left of this article.

I’ll bet that you will end up agreeing with me that this really is the best release ever!

Mark Lull, Technical Support