5+ best civil engineering software [2021 Guide]

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  • A civil engineer should be proficient in mathematics and physics as well as computer aided design (CAD) software.
  • Our updated list of recommendations will help you choose the best tool for your project.
  • This article is part of our Engineering Software section, which you can visit to learn about other software utilities.
  • For business owners, we’ve compiled a number of articles in our Business Software Hub for you to bookmark.

civil engineering software

Some of the projects that the modern engineer is supposed to do are very sophisticated. It is therefore imperative that engineers first assemble the right tools.

In civil engineering, many professionals believe that the success of a project begins with the choice of a dazzling civil engineering design tool.

But things are not that simple as the market is currently flooded with civil engineering software.

On the one hand, it can be a blessing as it is hard to run out of a suitable tool. Conversely, it can be a curse as engineers have to spend more time comparing the avalanche of software.

So which of these software is best for civil engineering?

What to look for in civil engineering software

Civil engineering software integrates a collection of tools to assist civil engineers at every stage of project execution, from design to final construction.

So, at the bare minimum, the program should have each of these tools and they should work without bugs. The program is also supposed to perform faster design iterations in addition to streamlining tedious tasks.

In addition, the software must use visualization and simulation to improve project deliverables and decision making.

Finally, programs with an intuitive interface are easier to use and help deliver projects smoothly, regardless of their size and complexity.

As mentioned, there are a myriad of civil engineering programs to help with the design, control and completion of civil engineering works such as bridges, roads, canals, etc.

Here is a brief overview of the recognized champions of civil engineering.

3d civil
3d civil
3d civil

Autodesk’s grip on the engineering software market isn’t going to end anytime soon if they continue to release high-quality programs like the Marvelous Civil 3D Software.

First, it supports BIM (Building Information Modeling) so professionals can be assured of improved construction design and documentation.

Then it uses advanced water simulation, visualization and analysis tools to improve decision making so that the end product is of the highest quality.

With its well-built collaboration features, Civic 3D expertly eliminates initial team coordination as well as workflow challenges and could be a dream for teams in large scale civil infrastructure projects.

Surprisingly, they keep adding new features.

For example, the latest version features more precise offset profiles, expanded lane capabilities, and exceptional 3D virtual views of objects.

Others include automated plot design, geotechnical modeling tools, and the ability to produce annotated production plans.

One can download Civil 3D for a 30-day free trial, then choose to subscribe to the monthly, annual, or 3-year plans.

AutoCAD Civil 3D

AutoCAD Civil 3D

There’s a reason AutoCAD products are the best in the business. Get Civil 3D and see for yourself why right now!

Extend your BIM (Building Information Modeling) with Revit. You can use it to plan, design, and construct buildings and infrastructure items.

Instead of just creating a drawing of the elements of your projects, with Revit you create 3D models. For each element of the model, you can attach a lot of information.

Learning to use Revit means that you will have the confidence to manipulate the data of a BIM model and can easily see how a change to an object in one model will automatically impact the rest of the design.

The first version of Revit was released in April 2000, and since then it has grown rapidly.

It is now much more data-intensive software than AutoCAD but also less flexible due to its stricter rules needed to build something secure and in coordination with other stakeholders.



Download Revit to create coordinated, higher-quality model-based 3D designs with built-in automation of repetitive tasks.

If you are not interested in simple house and building designs and are looking to help with larger scale projects, such as city infrastructure, then AutoCAD InfraWorks 360 is what you need. should.

It has the same familiar AutoCAD design, although the toolset and built-in templates and features are designed to help with projects like road, bridge, and drainage design.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the transport phase or if you are already in the engineering, design and management phase of a large-scale project, InfraWorks has everything you need.

Your work can also be shared in real time using cloud technology. So it has never been easier to reach out to contractors and get their feedback live.

In addition, last minute changes and even new projects can be edited and sketched incredibly quickly, as InfraWorks allows you to create the existing environment using vector data, raster data and data from other sources. global.

All in all, if you work in construction on a much larger scale and need to be in constant contact with your employers, AutoCAD InfraWorks 360 is what you need in your life.

AutoCAD InfraWorks 360

AutoCAD InfraWorks 360

Design the infrastructure of a neighborhood, an island or even an entire city using this incredible CAD tool.


MicroStation is another engineering civil engineering software and competes closely with civil 3D when it comes to modeling different infrastructure projects.

The software actually borders on the rest on several fronts.

Users who are looking for a program that does not monopolize system resources such as RAM are the first winners, as Microstation usually performs quite poorly. The system is also a favorite for engineers looking for quick modeling, visualization, documentation and visualization of projects.

Microstation has recently been greatly simplified and the interface has become so straightforward that total engineering newbies will get used to it quite quickly.

Civil engineers need as much technology as possible to meet the expectations of demanding customers and the program does not disappoint.

It comes with a host of traditional CAD capabilities backed by a horde of groundbreaking inventions including 3D parametric modeling, making it a versatile choice for a variety of infrastructure projects.

The quality of paper plots, i-models, 2D / 3D PDFs, reports and 3D physical models is among the best.

Unsurprisingly, the software application is not that affordable!

?? Try MicroStation


Due to their diversity and power, few powerful civil engineering applications are cheap.

And this is where the biggest surprise of Sketchup lies! Of course, this is one of the most comprehensive 3D visualization programs for civil engineering work to date, virtually all site modeling can be done with the free version of Sketchup.

On a related note, SketchUp and its powerful extension repository offers some fantastic possibilities.

For example, one can use predefined assets from other users to speed up the basic design process. In addition, it makes the drawing and design straightforward.

We just draw shapes and lines. Then engineers push and pull the surfaces to convert them into crisp 3D shapes.

Plus, it stretches, copies, orbits and paints to easily and quickly achieve anything you desire. Best of all, it delivers super-fast rendering performance for even complex designs.

In a nutshell, this could be the real deal for a civil engineer who is striving to thrive in 3D visualization on a shoestring budget.

?? Download Sketchup

which software is best for civil engineering

Yet, from Autodesk, AutoCAD is a renowned 2D / 3D CAD program for civil engineers and one of the most widely used commercial design software.

The program intelligently creates basic geometry representing real information and is great software for drawing perfect lines and detailing elements.

This software also offers an impressive range of professional documentation tools, not to mention that it supports an impressive drafting workflow, where individual drawings are edited independently.

The robust software provides native support for a DWG file and can easily identify graphical differences between different versions of drawings.

By the way, it displays a lot of 2D graphics enhancements such as twice the zooming speed, as well as panning and changing drawing orders.

Additionally, users can import geometry, raster images, SHX font files, and even TrueType text into drawings from a PDF.

Collaboration is seamless now that designs are accessible from multiple platforms: desktop, online and mobile.

?? Download the trial version of AutoCAD instantly

Since there are so many considerations to be made, it is not easy to answer the question of which software is best for civil engineering.

Knowing exactly the types of tasks you will be involved in is crucial, as is your skills and experience with modeling software.

That being said, the prices for trading tools are a bit higher, so the available budget may limit the number of options.

But all is not lost since some of the great civil engineering software like Sketchup is free. At the end of the day, what matters is that you get a program that meets your engineering needs.

Frequently Asked Questions