Large surfaces are one of my favorite subjects. I taught two AU classes on the subject that are still quite valid. AU 2007 was a lecture style with a narrative handout and screencast, while AU 2008 was a lab that included step by step and sample data.
When I was preparing for blogger day last month, it occurred to me that the new point cloud tools would be perfect to help out in the large surface workflow. Why not import that giant ASCII point file as a point cloud for exhibits, analysis and context… then build smaller surfaces from only the pieces that I am most interested in?
You can change how many points are shown using the density slider. You can lower it all the way down for easy navigation, then move it higher when you are ready to see more detail.
To help with analysis and visual aids, you can use a point cloud elevation banding. This works a lot like a surface elevation analysis.
When you are ready to build a TIN surface, adjust the density. Civil 3D will build a surface from what is visible. If you want to use more of the points, slide the density higher. Then, build the surface.
If I wanted to make tiled surfaces with more or less detail, I could make a few polylines marking the areas, then change the point density before building each surface.
The possibilities are endless. What are some of your ideas?