GIS Tech News (#22)

11 Oct, 2006 By: Andrew G. Roe,P.E.

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Editor's note: With this edition of GIS Tech News, we introduce a new twice-monthly publication schedule for the newsletter, now brought to you by Cadalyst and its sister Web site Geospatial Solutions. This new semimonthly schedule will deliver one edition that covers topics relating to CAD in the civil engineering, surveying and mapping fields. The other edition will maintain its focus on technologies and applications of general interest to our CAD/GIS audience.

From the Trenches: Civil 3D Adoption

Autodesk's 3D civil engineering solution is still maturing,
but some users in the real world are finding the 2007 edition
to be a viable production tool

One of the burning issues facing users of Autodesk civil products is whether to adopt Civil 3D as a production tool. First introduced in 2004, Civil 3D provides a more model-based design environment than Land Desktop. Civil 3D relies heavily on intelligent objects instead of generic AutoCAD entities and in doing so provides a more flexible approach to designing roads, residential subdivisions, building sites and other land development projects. The product, however, also presents a steep learning curve due to its departure from Land Desktop’s approach.

Autodesk emphasizes that Civil 3D is not a Land Desktop upgrade and that users should phase into using the product gradually because of its learning curve and because the product is still maturing. Some users believe that Civil 3D 2007, released earlier this year, may finally provide enough capabilities to warrant its use as their primary civil design tool.

Taking the Plunge
One company that has taken the Civil 3D plunge is George Butler Associates, a 250-employee engineering firm based in Lenexa, Kansas. GBA is using Civil 3D on an 18-building, 350-unit apartment complex near Kansas City, Kansas, and is experiencing success sprinkled with some frustration.

“Civil 3D has a lot of promise,” says Harland Russell, a GBA senior civil design technician. “It provides the functionality we’ve been looking for,” he says, citing the software’s flexible tools for designing site grading projects.

GBA first looked at Civil 3D a couple of years ago, but shelved it because it felt the software lacked key features and the learning process was too daunting. Sensing that Civil 3D had matured and was becoming the wave of the future, this year the firm looked at the latest version and formed a core group to implement Civil 3D 2007 on a live project. In addition to Russell, the team includes Gus Lind, a licensed professional engineer and land surveyor, Megan Schalansky, an engineer-in-training, and technicians Jim McKean, Brian Boyd, Jeff Cummins and Jamie Bell. Read More >>

Event Report: URISA 44th Annual Conference

by Cyrena Respini-Irwin

The 44th Annual Conference of URISA (the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) was held September 26-29 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The conference theme of "Challenge the Limits" suited the nonprofit association, which is composed of professionals who use GIS and other information technologies to solve challenges in government agencies. Read More >>

Cadalyst'scomplete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.

ASTM Committee E57 on 3D Imaging Systems
January 28-30, 2007
Costa Mesa, California
ASTM Committee E57 on 3D Imaging Systems meets twice each year to address issues related to 3D imaging systems, which include, but are not limited to, laser scanners (also known as LADAR or laser radars) and optical range cameras (also known as flash LADAR or 3D range cameras). Read more

ESRI Business GeoInfo Summit
April 23-25, 2007
Dallas, Texas
This fourth annual conference will brief C-level executives, managers and developers on geospatial analysis and business intelligence capabilities for the enterprise. Sessions and technical demonstrations will examine the role of GIS technology in managing spatial and customer data across the enterprise, integrating real-time information (GPS, weather, traffic, etc.) for operations and serving geographic data for applications and Web services. Read more

BE Conference 2007
April 29-May 3, 2007
Los Angeles, California
Bentley’s BE Conference offers attendees hours of accredited learning, a variety of networking opportunities and technology updates across all industries and disciplines. Read more

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CAD Clinic: Civil 3D -- Creating Complex Alignments with Civil 3D, Part 2: Use the constraints of alignment objects to control the interaction with neighboring elements.

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Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, offers a Web site packed with features, news, events and other information for users of geospatial technologies. Check out this latest news from

Pennsylvania Leads the Way to Making the National Map Possible: An initiative of the U.S. Geological Survey, The National Map is a noble vision involving intense collaboration at many levels. Progress made and lessons learned in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can help other states succeed at contributing to this nationwide effort.

Oracle Spatial User Conference to Take Place During INTERGEO 2006: Sponsored by ABACO, the first national Oracle Spatial User Conference will take place in conjunction with this year's INTERGEO conference October 10 to 12.

Spatial Data Technologies Releases the CartoPac Data Interchange for ArcGIS: The new extension provides ArcGIS users with expanded mobile capabilities, allowing them to transfer geodatabases from the office for use in the field.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Announces Leica Photogrammetry Suite 9.1: Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging has announce Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS) 9.1, which provides improved accuracy and processing.