GIS Tech News (#24)

6 Nov, 2006 By: Andrew G. Roe,P.E.

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A Gaggle of Google Earth Tools

Users have a host of new options for publishing CAD and GIS data to this popular mapping tool

In the past few months, CAD and GIS users seeking to link project data with Google Earth mapping data have found new and powerful tools at their disposal. Autodesk and Bentley have both introduced tools for connecting their CAD products to Google Earth, and other vendors are also throwing their hats into the ring.

After Autodesk introduced an AutoCAD add-on application for publishing and viewing drawings and 3D models within Google Earth, the company released an Autodesk Civil 3D extension that allows engineers and surveyors to publish intelligent Civil 3D objects such as points, parcels, alignments, corridor models, surfaces and hydraulic networks in a Google Earth environment. Using a wizard-based interface, the extension guides users through a process of selecting which objects to publish and automatically positions the objects on a Google Earth background, assuming the project's coordinate system is properly georeferenced.

Georeferenced AutoCAD and Civil 3D models can be published to the Google Earth environment for impressive visualizations. (Image courtesy of Autodesk)

To georeference a project, simply use the wizard to specify the coordinate system or drawing coordinates that will be mapped to the Google Earth coordinate system. You can select either a coordinate system or a reference point in a drawing and assign it a latitude and longitude that will be transformed to the Google Earth coordinate system.

Short of accurately georeferencing project coordinate systems, users can grab mapping data from Google Earth, bring the data into AutoCAD or Civil 3D, add design information, then publish everything back to the Google Earth environment. The process is not suited for final design quality, but it can yield nice-looking conceptual drawings. To run the Civil 3D extension, you need Civil 3D Service Pack 2 in addition to the Google Earth extension. Both the AutoCAD and Civil 3D extensions are currently offered as free preview products, with no guarantees as to suitability for real-life projects. Read More >>

New 36" Scanner Offers Great CAD Options

By Henrik Vestermark

The second half of 2006 will prove to be an interesting time for wide-format scanner users. During this time, it's expected that all of the major scanner manufacturers will release new and enhanced models that will dramatically change the scanner market.

On August 1, GTCO Calcomp revealed its new line of scanners that added impressive scanning features. The new models range in size from 25" wide to the top-of-the-line 54" ScanPlus 6 LF954 scanner. All new models share the same hardware platform (except the 25" model), making them virtually identical in regard to scanning quality and available features.

In this article, I'll offer a brief overview of the new line, then focus on the GTCO Calcomp ScanPlus 6 LF736, a great choice for CAD users. With this model, the company is offering software including a free plugin called WIDEcapture that enables users to directly scan drawings into AutoCAD instead of scanning to file and then importing the file. Read More >>

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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

2007 Survey & Engineering GIS Summit Expanded to Include Civil Engineering: Civil engineering will now be a central component of ESRI's annual survey and GIS conference. This event, officially renamed the Survey & Engineering GIS Summit, will take place concurrently with the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California, June 16-19, 2007.

Pictometry Announces New 3D Product Offerings: Pictometry International announced the new suite of 3D products at its FutureView 2006 User Conference.

Geomagic Honored as a 2006 Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Company: Geomagic has won a 2006 Triangle Business Journal Fast 50 Award for being one of the fastest-growing private companies in the Triangle area of North Carolina. The award marks the third time that Geomagic, a leading provider of software and services for digital shape sampling and processing, has received the honor.

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