Carlson Survey softwareCarlson Survey

As the number one office solution for surveyors in the U.S., Carlson Survey continues its development of survey features based on customer requests. The versatile and popular surveying software solution works like a surveyor thinks. Check out what’s new under “Recent Improvements” below.

Improve your Carlson Survey skills.

Carlson Survey is designed for use for land surveying. It provides a full toolkit for surveyors with everything from network least squares to surface modeling. Users get the ability to work seamlessly between the office and the field and they can establish company-wide design styles to ease and speed their work.

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System Requirements



  • Built on AutoCAD and IntelliCAD

    Carlson Survey will run in AutoCAD® as well as AutoCAD® Map, Land Desktop and Civil3D and also on IntelliCAD.

  • Project Setup

    Flexible data storage methods

  • Drawing Cleanup

    Fix common drafting errors

  • Drafting Enchancements

    Handy tools for working in AutoCAD® such as Join Nearest, Shrinkwrap Entities, Polyline Utilities, Drawing Inspector, Layer Inspector and Twist Screen

  • Data Compatibility

    Supports industry standard LandXML and scores of specific data conversions


  • Build Surfaces

    By triangulation or rectangular grids

  • Contouring

    One step triangulate and contour from 3D entities as well as contouring from surface files

  • Surface Manager

    Change surface display properties and adjust surface functions to add and remove points and breaklines and swap edges

  • Volumes

    Earthwork volumes between triangulation or grid surfaces

  • Pad Design

    Tie cut/fill slopes from pad perimeter to surface, build pad surface, calculate and balance volumes, and edit pad parameters


  • Design and Edit Centerlines

    Design or input alignments on screen or in dialog with graphics

  • Label Stations and Offsets

    Annotate station and offsets along centerline and at selected points

  • Calculate Offsets

    Reports stations and offsets for selected points along centerline

  • Create Offset Points

    Create points at specified stations and offsets

  • Spirals

    Flexible handling of the most complex spiral curves including “spiral-only” elements going arc-spiral-arc, arc-spiral-line and line-spiral-line


  • Create Profiles

    From surfaces, screen entities, points on centerline, etc.

  • Quick Profile

    One step profile creation with real-time update while adjusting centerline

  • Input-Edit Profiles

    Enter profile data in dual spreadsheet and graphic window, and design in reference to controlling profile grade points

  • Draw Profiles

    Draws profiles on grids or plan-profile sheets with auto-updating based on edits

  • Profiles To 3D

    Create points and 3D polylines from profiles


  • Import/Export

    User-defined import and export of point data along with conversions with specific other formats

  • Draw Points

    Draw points with settings for symbols, layers and styles

  • Point Groups

    Point group manager to define sets of point by filters

  • Coordinate File History

    Tracks all changes to points with report and undo functions

  • Fix Point Label Overlaps

    Finds point label overlaps with rule options to fix automatically

  • Point Tools

    Utilities for modify point labels such as move with leader, twist and resize


  • Data Collection Interfaces

    Upload and download to
    popular data collectors

  • Traverse Adjustment

    Spreadsheet editor for raw data with graphics and processing for traverse adjustments

  • SurvNET

    Advanced network least-squares for total station, GPS and level data

  • Field-to-Finish

    Draw points with styles and in point groups set by point descriptions and draw linework by several flexible methods

  • Field-to-Finish Inspector

    Inspect all field-to-finish elements, see description source and re-draw based on descriptions edits

  • COGO

    Streamlined inverse, traverse, sideshot, intersections, interpolation, translate, rotate, scale and align

  • Coordinate Transformations

    Transform coordinates and screen entities between lat/lon and grid projections as well as local to local by Helmert and least-squares methods

  • Deeds

    Enter deed by description, read deed data from deed file, deed reports, deed correlation and generate legal description from drawing

  • Cut Sheets

    Create custom cut sheet reports with reference grades and station-offsets


  • Label Areas

    Customized area label styles and several methods to select areas to label

  • Size Areas

    Sliding side area, hinged area, area radial from curve and bearing area cutoff

  • Lot Manager

    Lot definitions by point numbers with functions to create lots, conduct mapcheck for closure, edit in spreadsheet with graphics, report lots and draw lots

  • Lot Layout

    Size lots along alignment with controls for target area, setback and frontage

  • Offsets, Intersection and Cul-de-Sacs

    Layout for ROW and EOP linework


  • Angle & Distance Labels

    Flexible routines to label linework in all possible layout combinations plus available rules to automatically fix label overlaps and revise labels when entities move

  • Curve Labels

    Label curve data in stack, along arc or in table

  • Survey Text

    Routines to create typical plat labels such as offset and building dimensions

  • Label Elevations

    Label spot elevations along an alignment

  • Linetypes

    Draw special linetypes

Raw Data Editor with Graphics

Lot Editor

Lot Editor

Lot Report

Lot Report

Sample Resulting Plan/Plat

Sample Resulting Plan/Plat

Point Groups Manager Dialog

Point Groups Manager Dialog

Edit Deed Dialog

Edit Deed Dialog

Deed Reader Dialog

Deed Reader Dialog

SurvNET Graphics View

SurvNET Graphics View

3D Objects Created With Field to Finish Coding

3D Objects Created With Field to Finish Coding

3D Drive Simulation of Subdivision

3D Drive Simulation of Subdivision

Improvements for Carlson Survey 2017

AutoCAD 2017 – Added support for this new version.
IntelliCAD 8.2 – Added new Solids module with commands to create and process solids. Set paper size for new layouts. MText in-place editor. 3DORBIT. Customize for toolbars and ribbon. Work with DGN files natively without conversion and do basic CAD edits. Performance improvements.
Carlson Community – For sharing point symbols, 3D models and other files with Carlson Software users.
LandXML – Added support for LandXML 2.0 to output TIN surfaces with colors and materials. Added support for import of linework (plan view features).
Startup Wizard – Added method to select dwt for new drawings.
Merge PDF Files – New command to combine PDF files to make master PDF report.
Output Layouts to PDF – New command to create a PDF from selected drawing layouts.
Drawing Explorer – Added right-click functions to zoom and pan to selected data files.
Change Layer Color – New command to change the color for a layer by selecting an entity on the layer.
Google Earth File Export – Added control for which point attribute to use as marker.
Remove Civil 3D Custom Objects – New command to remove AEC entities from the drawing to make a standard .dwg file.
Supersonic Viewer – New command to view large surface models and 3DX files.
3D Solid and Polymesh Converter – New command to convert solids and polymesh entities into 3D Faces.
3D Model to Solid – New command to convert .mdl files to 3D solid entities.
3D Arc – New command to draw a 3D arc by three points.
Draw 2D/3D Polyline – Added option to draw smooth curves on-the-fly.
Draw 3D Line – New command to draw a line in 3D.
Field Text – Added method to apply labels to block attributes.
Text Import – Added method to import Microsoft Word documents as formatted MText with ability to dynamically update when document is changed.
Draw Table – Added option to dynamically link the drawing table to the source text file.
Text Math – New command to apply math functions on values in text labels.
Replace Text – Added method to copy replacement text from another label.
Zoom Extents On All Layouts – New command to do a zoom extents on all layouts in the drawing.
Move Text With Leader – Added option to draw as MLeader. Added settings for separate layer or use layer of text.
Offset 3D Polyline – Added Slope Intersection method to create 3D polyline at intersection of two slopes from 2 reference 3D polylines. Added option to use separate layer.
Hatch Wizard – New command to hatch by picking an interior point.
Chamfer By Chord Length – New command to chamfer by a specified chord length.
Rotate By Bearing – Added option to update existing viewports.
Draw Model View – New command to draw border of model view viewport into plan view.
Report Formatter – Added method for sub-headers. Improved saving of the report formats. Added method to setup list of values per field to select from for field options.
Command Search – New command to search menus for a command name.

Survey Commands
Legal Description – Added option for decimal degrees and for fraction degrees. For using centerline option, added setting for max offset for reporting station/offset values.
Enter Deed Description – Added method to enter bearings and distances by selecting text in the drawing. Added method to use TPOB.
Section Subdivision – Added option to draw lines.
Cut Sheet – Added function to undo edits. Added method to apply a pipe equation. Added option to report zero elevations. Added method to import points from text file. Added storing of the report formatter settings into the Cut Sheet .cut file. Added option to color labels by tolerance. Added option to draw arrow from design point towards the survey point.
Polyline Report – Added option to report only the perimeter and area.
Bearing Entry – Added support for entering bearings in formats like “NE45.1234” and “N45 12 34E”.
Angle Rotation – Added option to apply rotation defined in Drawing Setup to all bearing and azimuth labels and reports.
Edit Process Raw File – Improved reporting for GPS measurements to include RMS and other values recorded in the raw notes. Added processing for DZ notes. Added method to output selected notes to the coordinate file.
Field To Finish – Added function to edit all the code definitions in a spreadsheet. Added method to hatch areas from closed linework. Added option to thaw layers used during drawing. For text attributes, added controls for label order, separate settings for the size of each label and option to group the text entities. Added new special code LABEL to control point attribute format. Added new special code BFIT to make best-fit line between points. For WALL3D special code, added method to set width by second value after code. Automatically creates photo links when image files are stored by SurvCE. For PHOTO special code, added option to create CAD hyperlinks for images. For Offset Both special code, added option for offset amount as full or half offset. For multi-point symbols, added option to set code for automatic, option for rotate only (no scale) and option to create a fourth corner point. Added method to draw text fitted by two or three control points using multi-point symbol with Fit Description option. Added option to apply rotation to labels only and not the symbols. For Rotate To Line, added settings for align by forward or backward tangents or by ends for culvert. For pipe features, added option to label structures. For tree features, added option to label each field on a separate line and option to group tree trunk circle with the symbol. Added new LTW special code to set line width. Added linework method to stop linework when point numbers change in point groups. Added option to label elevation just once for points on linework or rectangle with same elevation. Added method to use a GIS special code to append to the main code for processing. Added method to use point description for GIS attributes by using Fixed Parameter settings. Added method to put point attributes (name, elevation, description) into custom attributes on the point symbol. For labeling descriptions along linework, added setting for start of the increment. Added a linework coding style for having the linework code before the main code. Added function to import Topcon F2F codes and layers from an XML file. Added LandXML style coding that reads point linework from the XML file to determine how to connect the points.
Label Station Offset – Added option to highlight labels more than specified offset tolerance. Added option to use MLeaders. Added leader style to point to beginning of label. For metric, added cm and mm unit options for offsets. For line from centerline to point, added options to place label along line and to shorten the line.
Point Groups – Added new Isolate function for point groups. Added more functions to call for point groups including Edit Point Attributes, Renumber, Change Elevations and Set Description. Added method to define group by date range using the data stored in the CRD history. Added method to define group by number of digits from start of point numbers.
Draw Points – Added option whether to draw point node.
Draw/Locate Points – Added option to draw only new points.
Point Symbols – Added set of symbols to Symbol Library that have built-in wipeout to hide linework under the symbols.
Search For Points – New command to search for a point number or description in CRD and RW5 files in a folder.
Edit Point Attributes – Added display of images attached to points with ability to add and remove images. Added display of point groups and setting for non-surface status.
Renumber Points – Added method to create points by sequence along a centerline.
Edit Points – Added function to delete a range of points or all points.
Erase Points – Added option to delete the linework associated with the points.
Freeze Points – Added method to freeze linework associated with the points.
Local Transformation – Added method to enter translate, rotate and scale parameters, and save/load parameters to file.
Annotation – Added support for linework reactors to update labels for deflection angle and interior angle labels. Added settings for total distance prefix. Added option for strip trailing zero to leave single zero. For endpoint leaders, added control for length of leader. Added method to use different number of decimals based on size of the number and added option to round distances to the nearest half. Added option to remove extra leading zero on angles in degrees. Added option on distance units to label as Rods or Varas. Added option to label scale factor when using geodetic distances.
Auto Annotate – Added arc dimension style option that labels the chord angle and length, radius and radial angles along dimension lines for the chord and radials.
Label Coordinates – Added method to combine coordinate label with lat/lon. Added settings to center justify and to label headers.
Label Angle – Added option for decimal degrees.
Line/Curve Tables – Added method to create a combined line/curve table.
Swing Table – New command to draw a swing table.
Stack Label Arc – Added option for label header line and method to use C/L symbol.
Draw Legend – Added option for second description and method to draw the symbol on the right.

Improvements for Carlson Survey 2016

Data Depot – Added support for Subversion (SVN) server in addition to Bentley ProjectWise.
Settings Server – New functions in Carlson Configure to distribute command settings and files to Carlson users.
Save Settings in Drawing – New option in Carlson Configure to save command settings within each drawing.
Symbol Library – Added description field for each symbol. Added option to setup sub-categories. Added function to restore default symbols.
Load Last Report Formatter – New command to run the report formatter using the report data automatically saved from the last report.
Drawing Inspector – Added method to report surface elevation from a TIN file.
Drawing Setup – For set text styles, added lookup of font name and settings for width, oblique angle and multiple fonts.
3D Viewer By 3DX – New command to select 3DX model file to set scene to show in 3D Viewer.
Station-Offset Transparent Snap (‘CL) – Added method to station from selected segment. Added real-time report of station/offset.
Angle Distance Transparent Snap (‘TRAVPT) – New command to set a point by angle and distance from a starting point.
Select Objects Filter (‘FSELECT) – New transparent command for select objects prompts to apply a selection filter.
Show/Hide By Selection – New set of commands to select entities to hide, isolate or make visible.
Set Level – New command to assign an additional name to entities which gets used in other commands like filter selection.
Level Manager – New command to list, create and rename level names.
Select By Filter – Added control for combining inclusion and exclusion filters plus new filters for level and linetype.
2 Radius Curve Series – New command to draw a series of two curves between two tangents.
Draw Table – New command to create a table entity by reading a comma separated text file.
Edit Table Properties – Added support for all types of tables instead of only line and curve tables.
Text Wizard – New command to draw text with settings for size, style, layer and color, plus method to use current drawing properties.
Text With Leader – Added option for default text angle.
Move Text With Leader – Added support for moving a group of text entities.
Draw Text On Line – Added settings for layer, size, style and color, plus method to use current drawing properties.
Line Up Text – Added option to use polyline to follow.
Join Two Polylines – New command to join two polylines into a single polyline.
Remove Polyline Arcs – Added method to make chords on selected side of polyline.
Import 3D Viewer – New command to import drawing entities from a 3DX file.
Google Earth Import – Added support for aerial images and for GIS data.
Google Earth Export – Added method to create Google tags from Carlson GIS data.
Set Google Tags – New command to add labels to drawing entities to show as labels for Export Google Earth.

Survey Commands
Cut Sheet Report – Added functions to set and modify values for elevation, station and offset. Added method to import from TDS raw data. Added option for user-defined data columns.
Map Check By Screen Entities – Added support for reading data from line/curve tables.
Visual COGO – Added bearing-bearing, bearing-distance and distance-distance intersection functions.
Best Fit Line – Added method to calculate a 3D line.
Point Creation – Added option to apply full Field-To-Finish coding for all routines that draw points.
Point Entity Updates – Improved performance greatly for routines that modify point entities in the drawing.
Renumber Points – Added method to renumber by adding prefix or suffix to point numbers.
Point Group Manager – Added method to set point range by RW5 file.
Enter Deed Description – For entering curve data, added method to use different units.
Deed Correlation – Added method to use polylines for input instead of points. Added option to use the Report Formatter. Added option to move deed points to survey points.
SurvNET – Added method to draw map view graphics in the drawing.
Edit Process Raw File – Added process setting to override backsight azimuth when have a backsight point in the coordinate file.
Field To Finish – Added new /// special code for a comment to replace the description label. For text and custom attribute labels, added ability for fields as equations of note or GIS attributes. Added bar separator in description to indicate end of coding. Added method for linework descriptions to use point special descriptions. For custom block attributes, added settings for prefix/suffix. Added method to set level names by code. For tree features, added method to size symbol by the code.
• Offset Points By Interval – Added method to use a TIN or grid surface to set point elevations.
• Building Offset Extensions – Added method to create points along building envelope and option to create points at polyline vertices.
• Annotation Leaders – Added arrow-line style for end point leaders.
• Distance Annotation – Added option to use commas in distance labels.
• Azimuth Annotation – New set of commands to label azimuths together with distances similar to the bearing methods.
• Curve Annotation – Added new method to draw curve dimensions along chord line and radius lines.
• Curve Table – Added field options for tangent in and out.
• Label Coordinates – Added different prefix settings for north/south and east/west.
• Point To Point Table – New command to create table with from point, to point, angle and distance.
• Point Table – Added option to create as a Table Entity.
• Polyline Report – Added option to select and report multiple polylines.

Surface Commands
• Triangulate and Contour – Added option to prefix layers with the surface file name. Added option to draw shrinkwrap perimeter polyline on specified layer.
• Draw Spot Elevations – Added option to round elevation labels to the nearest 0.5.
• Station Polyline Centerline – Added option to label super elevation stations. Added option to place PC labels at fixed offset from CL. Added option for units in miles.
• Label Station Offset – Added option for units in miles.
• Triangulation File Utilities – Added function to apply geoid to the TIN. For large TINs, added option for low res graphics.
• One Triangulation Surface Volumes – Added stockpile mode that uses TIN perimeter to make reference surface.
• Two Triangulation Surface Volumes – Added option to use multiple inclusion perimeters and report each separately.
• Design Pad Template – Added method for topsoil removal within the disturbed area. Added option to set color of pad triangles when updating the TIN surface.
• Slope Zone Analysis – Added method to hatch triangles by zone when using TIN surface model. Added ability to save slope zone colors into the TIN file.
• Draw Profile – Previews in settings dialogs use active drawing viewer instead of fixed image. For VC labels, added options to left justify, label prefix on separate row, set prefix for slopes and place station text at the top. Also added option to draw VC labels in a table. For crossing labels, added control of leader size, option to solid fill pipe shape, and controls for labels with a vertical leader. Added prefix option for grid elevation labels. For profile label names, added settings for size, layer and location. Added support for stacking more than three profiles. Added method for pipe label equations using other pipe values. For horizontal label box, added settings for prefix for cut and fill labels. For grid settings, added style of none. For sheets, added method for profile over plan, option to stack profile sheets and added setting to draw profile grid to full height in the sheet profile area.
• Import National Elevation Dataset (NED) – New command to import a surface model from NED.

GIS Commands
• Export Esri SHP File – Added option for positions in lat/lon format.
• Define GIS Features – Added functions to import feature definitions from SurvCE VTT and TDS FEA files.

Data Conversions
• Civil 3D – New command to convert Carlson points to Civil 3D points. New function to import centerlines from Civil 3D drawings.
• Geoids – Added support for Geoid 2012B, Iceland, Latvia 14, Russia and Korea 13.
• InRoads – New function to import centerlines from ASC format.
• MicroStation – New import point file support for TA2 format.
• TDS – Import localization from RAW file.
• Trimble – Added export JXL from Carlson RW5.


Carlson Survey 2015 New Features

The #1 office software solution for surveyors in the United States, Carlson Survey provides support in its latest release for AutoCAD® 2007-present and comes with IntelliCAD® 8.0 built-in. The following is a list of additional improvements:

Field To Finish – Added special pipe feature coding with ability to create pipe network (.sew) file. For tree feature coding, added option for drip as diameter instead of radius, added option for solid circle for trunk and option for relative tree size for the symbols. Added control for separate layers for the point attribute block and point node. Added new AFIT special code for making a curve tangent through a series of three curve points. Added method for dynamic templates with variable horizontal and vertical offsets by using the OH and OV special codes. Added settings file default distinct point layer prefix/suffix. Added separate text size settings for attribute text labels and point block attributes.

Edit Field To Finish Codes – New command to go directly to the code table editor.

  • SurvNET – Added error report for individual observations to track down blunders. Added import for TDS GPS vectors.
  • Edit Process Level Data – Added support for processing with zero horizontal distances.
  • Carlson Cloud – New command for communicating with SurvCE for sending messages, data files and crew locations.
  • Report Distance Scale – Added methods for grid/ground factors on-the-fly in addition to a fixed factor.
  • 3D Transformations – Added 3D coordinate transformations.
  • Point Group Manager – Added method to create point group by offset distance from alignment polyline.
  • Move Point Attributes With Leader – Added controls for attribute order and ability for curved leaders.
  • Import Text/ASCII File – Added method import from text with fixed widths and method to use inclusion/exclusion perimeters.
  • Legal Description – Added method to report station/offset using a reference centerline. Added method for reporting with geodetic mean angle and geodetic distances.
  • Cut Sheet – Added method to get station/offset from the point description coding. Added field for design point description.
  • Offset Points By Interval – New command to create offset points along an alignment.
  • Label Coordinates – Added options to include a description, to use Mtext, to draw the labels at an angle and option for mleader.
  • Draw Legend – Added method to put each symbol or a specific layer.
  • CRDB – New coordinate file format built on SQLite database for better performance than MDB.
  • Search Published Control – New command to look up points from NGS geodetic control database.
  • Edit-Process Raw File – Added method to display only selected point range and hide the rest.
  • Field-To-Finish – Many new coding methods for tree surveys including coding by description sequence, by GIS attribute or by user-defined special characters. Also added method to draw circle for drip radius, method to draw circle for truck radius and method to draw polyline for treeline perimeter. Added function to generate tree table and reports based on tree coding in the point descriptions. For general point reports, added option to use the report formatter and include fields for the dwg description and code full name. For GIS labeling, added settings for decimal places and custom symbol attributes as reals. Also for GIS processing, added support for using GIS attribute for special codes such as horizontal offset. For ROT special code, added method to rotate by description using companion codes.
  • Edit-Multiple Point Attributes – New user-interface with tabbed dialog. Added method to change attribute colors. Added ability to toggle visibility of attributes.
  • Edit-Process Deed File – Added method to use label precision for calculating closure.
  • Twist Screen Surveyor – Added option to use grid mapping angle.
  • Inverse – Added option to report distances as delta north-south-east-west. Added option to report lat/lon. Added option whether to report coordinates.
  • Draw Locate Points – Added method to create points by entering lat/lon.
  • Bearing/Bearing Intersect – Added support for geodetic bearings.
  • Distance Between Entities – Added average distance to the report.
  • Map Check By Screen Entities – Added options whether to auto-select entities and set max offset.
  • Best-Fit Point – New command to average points and report statistics.
  • Cut Sheets – New spreadsheet interface, import from SurvCE and plan view labeling methods.
  • Lot File Manager – Added function to hatch lots.
  • Angle/Distance Annotation – Added settings for bearing quadrant labels. Added control for arrow size for end point leaders. Added separate settings for justification of angle and distance labels. Added option for prefix for distance labels.
  • North Arrows – Added ability to add custom north arrow symbols.
  • Label Coordinates – Added style for labels along X/Y axis.
  • Label Lat/Lon – Added real-time display of lat/lon while picking points to label.
  • Area Labels – Added option to use grid to ground conversion to label geodetic areas.
  • Geodetic Single Proportion – New command to split line by proportion between record part and total distances.
  • Geodetic Double Break – New command to break two intersecting lines based on mean bearing.
  • Geodetic Middle Break – New command splits line to make lines with same geodetic length and mean bearing.
  • Grant Boundary Adjustment – New command to apply Grant boundary adjustment on closed polylines.
“We have been using Carlson Survey since 2007. Fantastic product at a fair price. Easy to learn and use. If you need technical support, a real person will answer the phone. I am a loyal user!”
— Larry Medrano
President, Precision Surveys, Inc.
Albuquerque, New Mexico


“Carlson is a real time saver for me. Plus, I’ve found that creating points and working with points in Carlson is a complete bonus.”
— GaryAnoszko
Head Surveyor, Payne and Dolan Inc.
Waukesha, Wisconsin


Carlson Survey does it all for us – it’s a big time saver on all different levels. Platting seems to be easier because bearings and distances work better. The topography works a lot better – you can get TOPOs out quicker and the changes are minimal. Field-to-Finish is better because it connects all the line work for you. It just makes the whole process a lot easier. Every surveyor should have Carlson in their cad toolbox! It’s the complete survey package with the best technical support on the market.

– Reed Adams, LS
Director of Land Surveying, Koontz-Bryant
Richmond, Virginia

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Your Choice of CAD

Carlson Survey is offered in two general product configurations:

  1. As a third-party “add-on” to AutoCAD® or “stand-alone IntelliCAD” through the included copy of IntelliCAD.
  2. As a “stand-alone AutoCAD” product which features an embedded AutoCAD “OEM” graphical engine.

For details on the underlying CAD engines, click here.

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