Civil 3D: Closest Distance Between Two Objects

There are so many useful drafting tools within Civil 3D, many of which could be great additions to “vanilla” AutoCAD. Today’s post will be the first of many helpful tools found in Civil 3D and if possible, I will post LISP routines that provides the same functionality available to AutoCAD.

While working on some road access areas that lead into parking lots, I need to find and measure the closest points between two objects to verify that cars & trucks can fit in the lane.
Shown below is an example of an access point along a roadway. These are not parallel, so I am unable to measure at a nearest spot along a curb and find the distance perpendicular to the other side of the road.

Road Example

The handy tool that is found within Civil 3D is found on the “Analyze” tab and in the “Inquiry” panel’s dropdown list. The tool is named a long one… “Minimum Distance Between Entities”

Ribbon Minimum Distance

The command is MinDistBetweenEntities


Here’s how:

  • The tool is as easy as selecting two objects. After selecting the objects, the results are listed in the command line.
  • You are then asked if you would like a line to be drawn that connects the 2 closest points. I selected Yes because I need to place a dimension at these points.

In the example shown below, the objects selected are Polylines.

Minimum Distance Animated


Minimum Distance Finished