Project Planner

CrescentLink Desktop User Guide Series 

Project Planner Tool

Project Planner is an ArcGIS extension offered by CrescentLink that can be installed alongside Network Manager or used as a standalone product. Project Planner organizes your work into projects which can include service orders, work orders, job orders, or any other task your organization may use. It’s used for design, construction, cost estimation, staking, reporting, and project management within a GIS.


Project Planner is accessed from the CrescentLink toolbar by clicking the icon shown highlighted above. The Project Planner window that pops up can be docked alongside or within any other ArcMap window. Within the Project Planner window, there is a separate toolbar to create or manage projects.


This article will walk through the following processes:

  • Creating a new project
  • Loading an existing project
  • Editing Project Operations
  • Using the Material Catalog
  • Working with Unit Groups
  • Placing and editing: sheets, annotations, and dimensions


Create New Project

Must be in Edit Mode

  1. Click the Project Tools icon and select New Project from the list.

  2. The project properties dialog will open. Populate fields with available information and click Save.
    Note: After a project has been created the properties can be edited by clicking the Project Tools icon and selecting Properties.


Load Existing Project

There are two ways to load an existing project:

  • By typing an existing project name into the Project Name combo box and pressing enter. If the name is typed correctly and the project exists, then it will be loaded. If the project does not exist or only part of a name is entered, then a search window will appear showing any results relating to what was entered.

  • By entering part of a project name into the project name box and pressing enter to load the search window with a filter looking for that name pre-populated. Or, by clicking the search icon to load the search window and searching for the project there using filters.

The search window is powerful and can filter projects and work orders based on whichevery fields are entered. A query is generated and applied to the table of records based on the filters created. This can be helpful if you do not know the entire name of a project but you know a few other things about it such as what it’s name starts with and it’s status. Once the project has been found and highlighted, clicking Select will load the project into Project Planner.


Note: Selecting the project will zoom the map to the project’s extent and the Project Planner window will load the project’s sheets and operations.


Edit Project (Operations)

Must be in Edit Mode

  1. Create operation by selecting the New Operation icon and use the cursor to place the operation in the map. The drop-down is built automatically based on the subtypes created on the sdm_ProjectOperation feature class. The default operation subtypes are “Construction” and “Splicing”, but this can be customized in the geodatabase as needed to rename or add additional operation types.
    After selecting “New Operation” tool in the Project Planner the map cursor will change: mceclip0.png 


  2. Left click to place operations at the desired location within the map. These operations will automatically be associated with the currently loaded project. Symbolize by subtype in the map document to make the operations stand out. The example below uses orange and blue triangles to represent Construction and Splicing operation subtypes differently.


    Note: Leave additional room to the top right of operations when placing them in the map. This is typically where operation instructions and units will be labeled. 

  3. Enter operation instructions by selecting the appropriate operations in the Project Planner tree view and then clicking the Edit icon on the top right. Save the instructions once completed.


    Instructions will appear in the map near the operation if labeling is turned on. A map refresh may be
    required to see the latest changes to any instructions.


Material Catalog

To enable the Material Catalog functionality, four new tables are required in the CrescentLink geodatabase. If these tables do not exist, the Project Planner will continue work without the Material Catalog. This documentation is produced with the assumption that all tables exist in the geodatabase. Contact your CrescentLink sales representative to learn more.

The new required tables are listed below:

  • sdm_ProjectMaterialCatalog
  • sdm_ProjectMaterialVendor
  • sdm_ProjectMaterialRate
  • sdm_ProjectMaterialRateSheet
  1. Create, edit or delete material units for any operation by right clicking in the dark grey area below the Units heading and selecting the appropriate context menu option, or by clicking the appropriate button on the toolbar.

    PP101.jpg     PP102.jpg

  2. Clicking on the “Add unit(s) from map” context menu option or command button will allow the user to click on features in the map to automatically add them to the currently loaded project as a new unit. If the unit already exists, it will increment the quantity used, otherwise a new unit will be created. Features can be selected in the map with this tool except for polygon features, Operations or Sheets. If a field named “UnitDesignation” exists on the feature being selected, this value will be used for the description of the unit. If the “UnitDesignation” field does not exist, a best guess is performed based on what the feature is, and the unit is created from that. Units added with this tool can easily be removed or edited by using the standard Edit or Delete unit commands in the Project Planner.

  3. Selecting the New or Edit unit option will open the unit properties dialog. Populate the fields with the available information and select OK. Refresh the map to have these changes appear on the map if the units are labeled. Clicking Delete will delete the unit from the project.

  4. If a unit has been entered into the Material Catalog, it can be recalled by clicking the Unit Lookup button. This will open the Material Catalog window that allows the user to locate units by vendor and rate sheet.

  5. To add a Vendor manually, click the Vendor dropdown and select “New”. A properties form will be displayed as follows.


    Enter the properties (only the vendor’s name is required) and click Save. The newly-created vendor will be immediately available in the drop-down.


    To enter a rate sheet manually, click the Rate Sheets dropdown and select “New”. A properties form will be displayed for the new rate sheet. Again, only the name is required. 


    Once OK is clicked, the rate sheet may be populated by adding units as in Step 3.

  6. Another way to load rate sheet material-unit data is to import it directly from a vendor-provided rate sheet csv file. To import a file containing a vendor rate sheet, click the “Import Unit Rates” button in the Material Catalog window. This will open a dialog window that can be used to locate and import an existing csv file on the user’s computer.

    Note: The rate sheet file MUST be a csv (comma-separated values) file with columns labeled: unit, labor_rate, material_rate, part_number, (and account_code as of v5.0.7) as shown below:
    BDO 4,70,202.35,PN123,2323.1
    BDO 4(G),70,202.35,2897.5
    BFO 24,2.75,0.58,8792.0
    BFO 24 (36"),2.75,0.58,8792.1
    BRO 24 D,2.05,0.58,8792.2
  7. Once a vendor is selected, a list of its rate sheets will load in the left-hand side of the Catalog window, with associated unit rates on the right-hand side.


  8. Should the desired material unit not exist in the selected vendor rate sheet, it may be added using the “New Unit” command button and entering the properties in the form. Similarly, the Delete and Edit buttons can be used here to delete a Unit from the vendor’s rate sheet or to change Unit properties, respectively.


  9. Vendors, rate sheets, and units can be managed outside of a specific project using the Material Catalog.



Working with Unit Groups in Project Planner

What are Unit Groups?

Starting with CrescentLink 5.1.0, it's now possible to group individual units into a single unit group when using the Project Planner Material Catalog.  Unit groups make it easier to manage adding multiple units as a package, typically referred to as an assembly unit, rather than having to add each individual unit to an operation separately.  Unit groups are listed in the material catalog alongside individual units and are tagged in the Part Number column as "Unit Group" to make it easier to distinguish them from other units.  Unit groups can contain individual units and nested unit groups within them. When adding a selected Unit Group to an operation, the actual unit group itself is not added.  Only units within the unit group are added to the operation and once added, there is no longer a relationship back to the parent unit group.  This is also true for any nested unit groups within a unit group.  Unit groups can contain a mix of individual units and unit groups to make it easy to organize your units in many different configurations.


How do I enable Unit Groups?

  1. Make sure that you're using CrescentLink 5.1.0 or later by clicking on the About CrescentLink menu option on the CrescentLink toolbar and reviewing the version.  If you are on an older version, click the "Check for Updates" menu option to download and install the latest supported version.  This will require administrative privilege's so you may need to check with your  IT administrator first.
  2. Add a new table to your CrescentLink geodatabase using ArcCatalog.  The new table details are outlined below:

Table Name: sdm_ProjectMaterialGroup

Field Name Field Type Default Value Allow Null
ParentCatalogGUID Guid N/A N/A
ChildCatalogGUID Guid N/A N/A
ChildQuantity Double 1 No

Once the new table is added, enable GlobalIDs and Editor Tracking (if desired) and if you are in an enterprise (multi-user) geodatabase, register the table as versioned.


Creating a new Unit Group

Once you have the software updated and the new table added, you're ready to begin creating unit groups. 

  1. Open a map in ArcMap that you would normally use with CrescentLink and Project Planner and then start an editing session by clicking on the Editor, Start Editing command on the Editor toolbar.

  2. Open the CrescentLink Project Planner window and then click on the Material Catalog button at the top right on the Project Planner window.  If you do not see the Material Catalog button, please contact support because you are likely missing other Project Planner tables in your geodatabase for the Material Catalog functionality.

  3. Once the Material Catalog window is opened, select more than one unit either by clicking and dragging, or by a combination of using the Control or Shift keys and left-clicking each unit with the mouse.  Once you have all of the units selected that you would like to create a new unit group with, right-click and select the "Create Unit Group" menu option as shown in the image below.

    You should now be presented with a new smaller window showing the selected units and prompting for a Group Designation name to be entered as seen in the image below.

  4. Enter the Group Designation name (used only for describing the unit group).  If needed, update the unit quantities of each child unit within the group also.

  5. Finally, click the Save button to save the new Unit Group to the catalog for future use in Project Planner.
    Note: The new Unit Group displays the total costs of all child units within it according to the quantity of each that were added in the previous step.  To review what units are included in a Unit Group or to rename it, select it and click on the Pencil icon to edit the properties of the unit group.  Currently, the only way to add or remove units from an existing unit group is to delete and recreate the Unit Group with the desired units.


Placing units using a Unit Group

Once you have one or more unit groups created in your Material Catalog, you can begin placing them on operations in Project Planner. 

  1. Select an operation in the currently loaded project and click on the + or Add button to add a new unit.

  2. The Unit Properties form will be displayed. Select the Catalog button to look up an existing unit using the Unit Catalog as show below.

  3. Once the Material Catalog window is displayed, select the Unit Group that you would like to add to the operation and then click the Select button as shown below.

  4. If selecting multiple units, or a single Unit Group, the previous window will automatically be closed and the selected units will be added to the operation as individual units with the correct quantities.  Please note that only individual units within each unit group will be added to the operation as a unit.  This can be seen in the image below.


Placing and Editing: Sheets, Annotations, and Dimensions

Edit Project (Sheets)

Before placing sheets in the map the user must be in Edit mode and must decide between the following:

The Custom Layout is organized and arranged by the user, giving more flexibility and control but requiring more set-up on the front end of a project. If the user decides a Custom layout is needed, this must also be designed in the MXD prior to placing sheets. 

The Default Layout (deprecated as of 4.3.11) was a predefined arrangement of items specifically laid out for an 11x17 staking sheet. As of version 6.0 the Default layout is no longer an option, however if a custom layout is not set up by the user than one will be created automatically.
* Default Layout is no longer available in CrescentLink version 6.0.

More information is available on our Custom Layout Sheet Setup article.


Placing Sheets

Use the New Sheet tool dropdown and select a pre-set sheet scale from the list.

  • The sheet options are intended to complement the custom layout functionality for sheet exporting and will reflect the user-defined layout and the “Layers” data frame size.
  • If none of the pre-set scales work, there is an option to place a sheet at the Current Map Scale (CS) which will be based on the actual scale of the current data view when the (CS) tool is activated.

If the user needs to change the data view’s scale, the (CS) sheet tool button will need to be selected again to reflect the change.

Sheet Placement Options:

  • Place a sheet by moving the cursor to the desired position in the map and clicking the left mouse button. Sheets are automatically numbered and scaled as they are placed.

  • To rotate a sheet, right-click and drag the mouse while in the map to rotate the sheet to the desired angle prior to placement. The top corners of the sheet will have “dog ears” to indicate the orientation of the sheet as it’s rotated.

  • Once the sheet is at the desired rotation, left-click in the map to place the sheet. Multiple sheets can be placed at the same rotation. To reset the rotation to 0, simply right-click once in the map. Each sheet will appear in the project contents window along with assigned operations contained within the sheet.


Edit Project (Annotations)

Must be in Edit Mode

  1. The Annotations drop-down menu located in the Project Planner window’s menu bar contains options to create annotations and associate them with the project automatically. The values displayed in the Annotation dropdown list are populated automatically based on the annotation classes defined on the sdm_ProjectAnnotation feature class in the geodatabase.

  2. Create annotations by selecting one of the annotation templates listed in the Annotation drop-down, or by accessing the Create Features window and selecting the desired annotation template for the sdm_ProjectAnnotation annotation feature class.


  3. A variety of construction tools is also available when placing annotations to determine how they will behave. Straight: Placement which can rotate 360 degrees. Requires two clicks (placement point and rotation point).
    Follow Feature: Follows a selected line feature. Requires two clicks (feature point and annotation position point).
    Leader: Creates a leader line between selected feature and annotation. Requires two clicks (leader start point and annotation position point).

  4. Annotations can be further customized before placement using the Annotation Construction textbox or after placement using Attributes window and selecting Apply.

  5. Edit existing annotations by using the Edit Annotation icon located on the Editor toolbar and selecting the existing annotation. Make the necessary changes in the Attributes window. 



Edit Project (Dimensions)

Must be in Edit Mode

  1. The Dimensions drop-down menu located in the Project Planner window’s menu bar contains options to create annotations and associate them with the project automatically. The values displayed in the Dimension dropdown list are populated automatically based on the dimension classes defined on the sdm_ProjectDimension feature class in the geodatabase.

  2. Create dimensions by selecting one of the dimension templates listed in the Dimension drop-down, or by accessing the Create Features window and selecting the desired dimension template for the sdm_ProjectDimension dimension feature class.

  3. There are numerous dimension Construction Tools to choose from, each suitable for different situations. 
    Simple Aligned: Placement requires two points (start point and end point). 

    Aligned: Parallel placement of baseline requires three points as input (start point, end point and height point). 

    Linear: Vertical or horizontal placement to baseline requires three points as input (start point, end point, and height point). Does not represent try distance between start and end points.

Note: Once a dimension has been placed the user can enter a custom distance value.

  • Access the Attributes window while dimension is selected.
  • Select “Use a custom value” and enter custom distance. (Note: values are entered as decimals but displayed as feet and inches.) 
  • Select Commit



Return to the CrescentLink User Guide series Table of Contents.

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