Making CUT/FILL Maps in AutoCAD Civil 3D – Part I

December 3, 2019

A Cut/Fill map is a common requirement for any earthworks project. We want a nice, color-coded, series of depth range (like below) with labels of cut/fill depth for quick reference. It’s an area a lot of us struggle with but it’s actually pretty simple to accomplish once you see the setup in action. I’m going to take you through the process in two parts: first we’ll talk about creating and displaying the volume surface ranges.

To begin, we need two surfaces (existing and proposed) that we can use to generate a new “Volume Surface” from. Go to the ANALYZE > Volume Dashboard tool and click the “Create new volume surface” button (3rd from left – see below) that brings up the creation dialog. Name your surface and select the “existing” surface as your base and your “proposed” design surface as the comparison (as shown).

Click OK to build the surface and get the chart of your NET Cut/Fill volume as so:

Close the palette and go to the Prospector tab. Right click on the new Volume surface and select “Surface Properties” and set your Surface Style to any style that has “Elevations” turned on in its display. I’m using one called “Elevation Banding” as shown below.

Click over to the “Analysis” tab and set it for “Elevations” and the Ranges to “Range Interval with datum”. The box to the right sets the range of elevations for color banding. I’m using 10’ as my spacing and setting my datum to “0” so that all items from 0 – 10’ deep are one color, from 10’ – 20’ another, etc. Use the down arrow icon to add the ranges to your surface (see below) and adjust the colors of each range by clicking on them to change as needed.

Click OK to continue and Civil 3D generates the surface map you need with color-coded ranges as so:

That’s how we get the background color display set. In Part II, we’ll cover how to create the CUT/FILL label style and generate a grid based labeling for our map. See you then!


Jim Coppinger


ZenTek Consultants provides sales, training, and services for Civil 3D and related products. Check our website for our latest class offerings






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