Civil 3D life sure is tough when you don't have the tools to properly do data management. At least that's the way I see it in the life outside of Autodesk Vault. Our company has been holding off on implementing Vault until we see what becomes of it. There had been some rumors about Vault being implemented as part of a future release of Revit Building. That would have gotten our Architectural department fired up about Vault and would have certainly started the ball rolling towards purchasing the required hardware and software (Windows server, MQSQL server, etc., etc.) required to run a corporate-wide Vault system. But now as it stands, the Revit / Vault tie-in seems unlikely to happen. So needless to say, data management has been virtually non-existent for us in the Civil 3D world. Sharing data in Land Desktop was cumbersome enough. And "manually" trading LandXML files back-and-forth between our user base in my opinion is a step backwards and just doesn't make the cut. Yes it can be done, but there's got to be a better way (without Vault).
So back to the future. The good folks at Autodesk have decided to include a "not so old" favorite back into the their system - Data Shortcuts are BACK!!! Or at least they will be in the near future. Dan Philbrick of the Autodesk Civil 3D development team posted in his blog entry of 9/29/2006 that Data shortcuts will be reintroduced in an upcoming release. All I have to say in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice is, "Sweet!". This means that a method that we've been trying to use, as described in a post on Angel Espinoza's blog entitled Civil 3D 2007 - Data Shortcuts, will most likely work again in some form or fashion like it did in previous versions.
A Beta of the "Data Shortcuts enabled-version" is due to be released soon and will be available for download and testing to those who contact the Autodesk development team. Also, more details will be discussed during this Friday's C3D webcast (10/6/2006).