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Ken

North arrows

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I think sideways north should NOT become a Z arrow. How silly. It shows lack of refinement. We already have Adjust Flipped Text as a general preference. The north arrows should also automatically rotate back to N arrows. That's how we read the drawings.

And what in the world is MN? Hopefully the software programmers understand the difference between TRUE NORTH and mere magnetic declination, which varies with latitude, longitude and even over time!

Why do fancy 3D features keep expanding yet this very basic item is neglected year after year after year? I don't use it. I can't use, but I want to use it. Instead I have to use my own N arrow. And I know that prospective users who are savvy architectural delineators laugh at this silliness. Just another little smile.

Yet another carryover from a very "mini" cad.

north.jpg

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I agree, but would add that it took me about 23 seconds to make my own symbol. Not really much of an investment...

BTW, MN = Magnetic North, as opposed to True North, and this can be a VERY important distinction, especially if one is building passive or active solar, attempting to navigate a vessel at sea, or find one's way in the forest or desert...

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As people who work in teams know, using consistent objects and drafting conventions are important for a professional look, regardless of how simple or quick you can make your own north arrow. Heck, you can carry your "quickness" argument all the way to line-per-line drafting for an entire set of CDs ? if you can do it fast enough, then why not? Knock your socks off.

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The big issue I have with the North Arrow is that you can't visually select which option you want. You have to place one on the drawing and then laboriously go through each configuration one by one to work out which configuration you want. That is a really 80's type solution and not what you expect to see in a program in the second decade of the 21st century.

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Vectorworks needs a UI Design Czar. Someone with good taste in UI design, a stickler for the details and the authority to override engineers and send them back to the drawing board.

I think a substantial portion of the UI issues in VW can be put down to the lack of any person like the above at NNA.

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I would tend to agree. The overall interface could use a lot of tightening up. And as new things are added, there is no consistency. Vectorworks has a little bit of everything going when it comes to interfaces - drop downs, tabs, pop ups, etc. - almost as if whatever was in vogue when the feature was added became the default.

Kevin

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it would be nice if the north arrow tool could use a symbol, like many of the other plug-in objects, like the sheet border. Then you could save the symbol you want, and then the north arrow could scale it to suit your layer.

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Here's my suggestion for improvement? and for a more *constructive* discussion.

Although I don't profess to be a delineation guru, I see the rules as follows:

1. In architectural drawings, the N should always read as an N ? never as a Z ? in regular comfortable zero-head-tilt reading position

2. In architectural drawings, there are TWO north indicators ? a page/ sheet/ drawing north and a true north

  • The DRAWING NORTH (or sheet north or page north) is a reference that applies only to the drawing set. As such, it's always orthogonal to the floor plan, meaning it's always pointing to one of only four directions ? 0?, 90?, 180? or 270? relative to the sheet. This way, the elevations drawings can be referenced as, for example, a "north elevation" as opposed to some odd "north-northwest 47.32? elevation"
  • The TRUE NORTH, on the other hand, is a terrestrial geographic indicator. It coincides with internationally accepted mapping standards. True north is NOT magnetic north. True north is always less than 45? from the drawing north, meaning if it's over 45? then the drawing north should be flipped to the next 90? direction

3. If there's no site plan included in the drawing set, i.e. the set contains only building drawings (floor plans, roof plan, structural plans, elevations, sections, etc.), then the TRUE NORTH component can be omitted. The north arrow becomes a very simple one-of-four-possibility directional icon (left, right, top, down, as in existing North Arrow Config 3 through 9).

4. If there's a site plan as part of the drawing set, then the true north indicator should be consistent with the property boundary's survey bearings. Often this is shown in degrees-minutes-seconds in the parcel map or property survey, so the accuracy can be very high.

5. The angular DIFFERENCE between the drawing north and true north is also related to the Page North when creating a sun light. This becomes an opportunity for NNA to tie the north arrow improvement with improved setup for massing-shadow studies.

goodnorth.jpg

setsunpos.jpg

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Oh, and one last suggestion is to NOT make it dependent on any particular font. This would reduce the problem of sharing when others don't have the same font in their system.

In fact, make it a non-font graphic for scalability and DXF/DWG exportability.

ncloseup.jpg

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