GIS Tech News (#95)

28 Apr, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

GIS Gets Civil

Easy import of AutoCAD Civil 3D data into a geographic information system (GIS) using FME from Safe Software is the key to cleaner, richer data for the Township of Langley.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

As you likely know all too well, CAD and GIS are "format-rich" disciplines, to put it nicely. With a plethora of file formats — some of them proprietary — and evolving or nonexistent standards, headaches are bound to arise. It can be a daily struggle to move data among applications and coax a menagerie of file types into cooperation.

Data interoperability challenges like these are the raison d'etre for Safe Software's spatial ETL (extract, transform, and load) solution, FME. The 2010 release of FME, which arrived early this year, brought welcome news for anyone who works with AutoCAD Civil 3D data: It can now be translated and seamlessly integrated into geographic information systems. This capability promises time and labor savings for organizations — such as utilities and municipalities — that must maintain as-built data in their GIS to meet federal asset-management requirements and provide field workers with up-to-date information.

One such organization is the Township of Langley, located east of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Manager of Information Technology Steve Scheepmaker explained that the municipality — geographically larger than its population of some 100,000 would imply — must manage a significant amount of development. Langley maintains as-built data for water, storm water, sanitary, road infrastructure, and other civil engineering projects to comply with reporting requirements imposed by PSAB (Public Sector Accounting Board) 3150, the Canadian federal asset-management mandate.

Getting that data into Langley's GIS, however, is no small task. There are two data streams for projects like these — internally and externally generated — and both flow through Langley's Corporate Information Technology department, Scheepmaker explained. There, the data is subjected to quality control and added to the GIS. "We would get Mylar printouts of as-builts — and sometimes CAD files, depending on the consultant — but they were not consistently created," said Scheepmaker; elements might be spread across multiple CAD layers, for example. Wrestling with physical media and nonstandard files consumed many hours of staff time before the introduction of FME 2010. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.


AMD Strengthens Foothold in Professional Graphics Market with New ATI FirePro V8800

New card with ATI Eyefinity multimonitor technology supports up to double the display real estate with 2.6 teraflops of compute performance in a single card.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

AMD has announced its most powerful professional graphics card to date, the ATI FirePro V8800. Incorporating ATI Eyefinity multidisplay and Microsoft DirectX 11 technologies, it is the first in a new family of professional graphics solutions and is available for order immediately from AMD and its partners.

At a media event at its San Jose, California, headquarters early this month, AMD emphasized the performance/price value of this new card.

The top-of-the-line card delivers 2.6 teraflops of raw computing power with what is said to be the highest memory bandwidth (147.2 GB/s) available in any single-card professional graphics solution — more than two times the compute power of the previous generation, AMD reports. But at $1,499, the price of the V8800 is equal to or less than previous high-end models in the FirePro line. Read more »
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Nancy Spurling Johnson is Cadalyst's editor in chief..


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events


Cityworks 2010 User Conference
May 17–19, 2010
St George, Utah
Event proceedings will include Cityworks technical and application sessions, user case studies, a vendor exhibit hall, and the Cityworks Doctor's Office. Read more

Be Together: The Be Communities 'Live' Conference
May 17–20, 2010
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This community-minded event will be built on the ideas of members of Bentley's Be Communities networking site, as well as of Bentley User Groups around the world. The event will promote career and professional development and provide networking opportunities. Read more 

OSGIS 2010
June 21–22, 2010
Nottingham, United Kingdom
The international conference aims to join the industry, university, and government sectors in a space where attendees can share synergies and ideas around free geomatic. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What's New at

Keytech Brings PLM within Reach of SMBs
Scalable, modular solution goes beyond document management, extending the value of CAD data across small and midsized engineering organizations. Read more

The Future of Software for AEC? Autodesk's Direction Offers Some Clues
At an international media event, the company reveals insight and trends that are driving its product development. Read more

Programming for CAD Managers, Part 1
By honing your skills, you can create solutions customized to the needs of your users and increase your value as a CAD manager. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Your Weekly Report
Keeping track of the details at work can help keep you on track — and keep your boss in the loop. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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