Carlson Software Releases Precision 3D Topo 2020 and Precision 3D Hydro 2020

Maysville, Ky., U.S.A. (June 18, 2020) Carlson Software today announced the release of major updates to its Precision 3D Topo 2020 and Precision 3D Hydro 2020 software, enabling new, extremely efficient workflows that utilize the best of a 3D design environment while providing traditional CAD deliverables. For Departments of Transportation, county highway offices and civil engineers, the new workflows for designing culverts, channel liners, storm sewers, and associated drainage structures produce work faster, more intuitively and with maximized automation.

The main addition to P3D Hydro 2020 is the inclusion of storm sewer design based on a library of 3D drainage grates and curb inlets. A new and unique “curb line snap” combined with the low point snap leads to fast inlet placement which is followed by hydraulic analysis that includes peak flow, gutter spread and bypass flow calculation. The spreadsheet editor borrowed from Carlson Hydrology allows for quick pipe sizing leading to final design.


P3D Hydro finds the watersheds automatically based on the digital terrain model (DTM) and cuts the watersheds against the land covers which appear as distinct textures with associated runoff coefficients. This leads to composite C-factors for each watershed, the ‘C’ in Q=CIA. The ‘I’ or rainfall intensity (in/hr in English units) is calculated by user-selected methods, often involving the longest flow line. The A is the area of the watershed (acres in English units). Peak Flow (Q) is calculated for each watershed in seconds. Alternately, Peak Flow can be calculated by the SCS method using the texture-associated CN values (Curve Numbers).

From there, the program offers complete storm sewer design capabilities with new 3D tools such as the curb snap feature which accurately places drainage structures in your road design, making design work more intuitive than in a purely 2D environment.


“The time savings for culvert and storm sewers design is 10:1 in my view,” says President and Founder Bruce Carlson, who personally oversaw the program’s development. “You can do storm sewer networks about as fast as you can pick on the screen. Culverts also go in very quickly with 2 picks, and with the precision needed for the final design. Culverts drain the pooled up water upstream and show the headwater line, which rises or falls based on selected pipe size, and which even changes based on selected pipe material (concrete being smoother, having a lower “Manning’s n”, than corrugated metal).

“Because Carlson Software is a major contributor to the code and content of Intellicad, we have figured out how to work in separate programs like Precision 3D and plot real-time back to Intellicad, using the pre-set styles for profiles and plan views defined in Carlson Hydrology. We call this Dynamiccad and it is provided along with Precision 3D Topo and Hydro 2020,” adds Mr. Carlson. “This produces live updates within CAD as you design in Precision 3D. I wish I had this back in my engineering design days! It makes work fun and rigorous at the same time!”


Additionally, a robust library of drainage structures and the ability to customize their dimensions allows for improved design accuracy from the inception of the project. If you don’t find the structure you need in the library, Carlson Software pledges to create up to 10 of your most commonly used curb inlets, drainage grates or headwalls, with purchase of Precision 3D Hydro.

Precision 3D now features more multi-threaded, optimized features for much faster processes such as with point cloud smoothing and digital terrain model (DTM) surface creation. In addition, you can now selectively reintroduce non-ground points that are stripped during automated bare earth filtering, allowing simple detail correction.


And speaking of point clouds, the new P3D Topo 2020 includes a paint stripe extraction feature that finds yellow and white paint stripes, and produces 3D polyines for striping that are particularly useful in contouring and making as-built DTM (TIN) surfaces.

With all of these advancements, this latest release of Carlson Precision 3D 2020 provides the analytical tools to design with ease in a 3D environment while creating your CAD deliverables seamlessly and simultaneously.

For more information about Carlson Precision 3D;

Contact your local Carlson representative or Carlson dealer at or call Carlson at 606-564-5028.

About Carlson
Carlson Software Inc. specializes in CAD design software, field data collection, laser measurement, and machine control products for the civil engineering, surveying, GIS, construction, and mining industries worldwide, providing one-source technology solutions for the entire project cycle. Carlson Software is headquartered in Maysville, Ky., U.S.A., with branch offices in Boston, Mass.; Almere, The Netherlands; Melbourne, Australia; Ottawa, Canada; and York, England.