GIS Tech News (#119)

16 Jan, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Mapping Technology Saves $3 Million for Australian Tunnel Project

With GIS, project managers were able to reliably map areas of soil settlement concern and prevent costly asset relocation.

By Alicia Kouparitsas

AirportlinkM7 is Australia's largest privately funded transport infrastructure project. The massive tunnel stretches more than six kilometers, carrying a multilane toll road under the heart of Brisbane, capital of Queensland, Australia. The engineering firm Thiess set new benchmarks in its construction, most notably in its use of GIS technology from partners and GIS specialist Esri Australia.

According to David Jaunay, a project GIS manager for Thiess, the company's GIS-centric approach made the job easier for the company's 4,500 staff members. "The simple layering capability and visual nature of GIS technology facilitates better decision-making," Jaunay said. "Once Thiess's staff became familiar with its advantages, usage went through the roof, with the central web-based viewer receiving up to 350 visits each day."

Jaunay cited one example where the technology delivered savings of more than $3 million. "Using GIS technology, we can analyze all the data pertaining to the project and its implications, and establish irrefutable evidence that empowers our team to make better operational decisions.

"For instance, we released modeling prior to construction on the impact that soil settlement above the tunnel would have on utility assets in the area. From this modeling, a utility owner identified a number of areas where settlement tolerance levels would be approached or exceeded, requiring potential asset relocation costs of around $4 million — for which the project would have been liable. Read more »
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Alicia Kouparitsas is a communications specialist for Esri Australia.

IRIS Produces Full-Color 3D Models from Printer Paper

New 3D printer from Mcor Technologies uses inexpensive, readily available material to produce models for AEC, manufacturing, and geospatial applications.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

The ability to produce 3D models can provide many benefits for companies that work with CAD and GIS data, whether they design business parks or baseball helmets. Investing in a 3D printer is not cheap, however, and the outlay doesn't end with the machine itself: Regardless of the type, every printer requires raw material, such as resin or metal, to build 3D models.

The cost of the machine can quickly be eclipsed by that of supplies. Conor MacCormack, cofounder and CEO of Mcor Technologies, likened the scenario to buying a new razor, followed by a stream of expensive blades. "Lots of times," he recalled, "we would go to visit a university, for example, and they would have a 3D printer but have a cover over it, because they couldn't afford to use it."

MacCormack aims to mitigate this ongoing cost with 3D printers that use a different kind of raw material: printer paper. "It's a ubiquitous material that everybody can get their hands on," he said. In addition to being inexpensive, it's also nontoxic, stable, and produces recyclable models, he explained, unlike some other options on the market. According to MacCormack, high material costs prevent users from realizing "the real power of 3D printing": producing multiple models to explore what-if scenarios.

Mcor's technology is best suited for prototyping and early design purposes, including product design, architecture, medical/dental, casting, and packaging applications. It's not intended for manufacturing finished products or creating full-strength parts that will be subjected to rigorous functional testing, although it can create living hinges that don't work-harden. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GPU Technology Conference 2013
March 18–21, 2013
San Jose, California
Event attendees will learn about and share how advances in GPU technology can help scientists, developers, graphic artists, designers, researchers, engineers, and IT managers tackle their day-to-day computational and graphics challenges. Read more

IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
July 21–26, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
With the theme "Building a Sustainable Earth through Remote Sensing," this year's event will emphasize the issues that most affect the Earth's environment. 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

Switch to Direct Modeling Speeds Furniture Maker's CAD Workflow
Kimball International moves to Solid Edge with synchronous technology and gains shorter design times and simplified reuse of legacy data. Read more

Take Stock of Your IT Assets
CAD Manager's Toolbox: Inventory the tools that your users currently work with so that you can reliably forecast future requirements. Read more

Improve CAD Production Quality by Annoying Your Users, Part 1
If the "carrot" of reward doesn't elicit the response you're looking for, carefully chosen annoyances can serve as the "stick" that improves employee behavior. Read more

Mouse Wheel Tips for AutoCAD Users
You use the wheel on your mouse all the time for panning and zooming — but do you know everything you can do with the mouse wheel? Join Lynn as she shares a myriad of mouse wheel tips that will put you on the road to instant productivity! Watch the video

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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