Section 1 - Introduction




Tools can be accessed a variety of ways, including the Ribbon, Search and Context Sensitive Menus. Ribbons are arranged by Workflows, which are selected from a pull-down in the upper left corner of the software.

To activate the OpenRoads Modeling workflow use the pick list in the upper left corner if it is not already active.

OpenRoads Workflow

The ribbon menu will reflect the OpenRoads Modeling tools. The tools are organized into categories on the ribbon tabs.

  • Home - Common tools such as Attributes, Explorer, Attach Reference Tools, Models and Level Display.
  • Terrain - Terrain modeling tools.
  • Geometry - Civil AccuDraw and geometry tools.
  • Site Layout - Parking, pad, pathway, vertical geometry and grading site design tools 
  • Corridors - Superelevation and corridor modeling tools.
  • Model Detailing - Civil Cells and 3D tools (Linear Templates, Surface Templates, etc.).
  • Drawing Production - Saved views, notes, text, annotations, and plans production (cross section, plan, and profile) tools.
  • Drawing - Commonly used MicroStation drawing tools.
  • View - Commonly used view control tools.

A Search Ribbon tool is also available at the right side of the title bar. Use it to find tools across the multiple ribbons. When you are not sure where to find a tool, simply type the command in the Search Ribbon field and a search will be performed across all ribbon menus.

This guide will not document each tool that is available on the OpenRoads interface. See the online help for commands not detailed in this document.

OpenRoads Designer CONNECT Edition Help

“Real World” Civil Engineering starts with a horizontal plane and a set of engineering rules. Vertical design follows the horizontal paths and follows a different path when it come to rules. For example, horizontal geometry typically uses circular arcs, vertical geometry commonly uses parabolas. Combine the two geometries to get 3D results.

Some OpenRoads dgn’s have a single 2D or 3D models, but many design files have Multiple Models.

The old InRoads software used an “external” proprietary file (.alg) to store geometry data. OpenRoads Designer exclusively uses the .dgn format (no external files) to store geometry data, the software stores geometry types in different models within a .dgn file.

  • Horizontal Geometry is stored in the default 2D Model.
  • Vertical Geometry is stored in a Profile Model view and associated to the horizontal geometry.

Note: If a horizontal element has vertical information - one or more Profiles - then it “owns” a single Profile Model containing all its profile information. Profile Models are visible only by using the View Profile Model tool).

Many design files contain a 2D and 3D Model, typically named Default and Default-3D, respectively. 3D Elements are created, managed and stored in the default 3D Model.

» View Control

In OpenRoads Designer CONNECT Edition, an enhanced right-click view control option has been added.

  • Enables quick display of multiple views in one model including plan, 3D, dynamic profiles, dynamic cross sections and superelevation.
  • The “1 View” option will reset a view back to default if accidently set to a dynamic cross section or profile view.
  • When selecting a dynamic profile or cross section view, the grid will be turned on for the view. 

Right Click in the View 1 Window and select the desired preset View Control window set-up. After Selecting the desired tool select Save Settings.


Plan Profile and Cross Section - Screen Shot


» Multi-Model View

Using the View Control tools creates a Multi-Model View. This can also be done manually. Open two views, on the View Attributes dialog box set View 1 to Default and View 2 to Default-3D. The active model will display both models in two separate views. Issue a Save Settings before moving on.  

Multi-Model View - Screen Shot


» Switching Between Models

Use the Set Active View Group tool to move between Models in your DGN file.

Set the Active View Group Base Model DGN - Screen Shot



CTDOT is standardizing on producing model-centric designs. This will allow for increased productivity and adherence to FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) Innovations and Building Information Modeling for Infrastructure also known as BIM for Infrastructure or BIMFi.

Industry trends across the world using BIMFi include:

  • Mobile Field Inspection and Data Collection
  • AMG (Automated Machine Guidance)
  • GPS Construction Layout
  • eConstruction
  • GIS and Asset Management

The “I“ in BIMFi is one of the most important aspects of the technology. CONNECT Edition products will allow designers to produce a product that retains the business data (the “I” in BIMFi) by assigning Item Types placed on CAD Graphics. This data, also known as Electronic Engineering Data (EED), can be consumed further downstream during Design Reviews then to Construction, Asset Management and Maintenance. 

When producing model-centric designs it is extremely important that model types be used as intended. A Design Model Type will be used for all Base Models.

Base Models will: Base Models will not have:

- be geospatial

- Border Cells

- contain cells, shapes, and lines that represent the physical design elements

- call outs

- include Item Type information on cells, shapes and lines.

- notes

- tables

- dimensions

Each Model Type is represented by a different Icon on the Models Dialog Box.

Models Dialog Box


The two other types of models will be used in downstream processes as described in VOLUME 13 - CONTRACT PLANS PRODUCTION

  • Drawing Model — Contains annotations, dimensions and callouts.
  • Sheet Model — Contains a Border Cell, Sheet Boundary (plotting shape) and may also have annotations, dimensions and callouts.