GIS Tech News (#45)

1 Oct, 2007

The Perils of 3D Modeling

Know what to watch out for -- and when to stop -- when using these powerful tools.

Over the past few months, this column has examined various new technologies for civil engineering and geographic information system (GIS) applications. This month, I’d like to step back and take a different perspective -- one that identifies some pitfalls of applying today’s high-powered technology. In particular, I’ll focus on digital 3D modeling, a powerful tool for civil engineering, surveying, and land planning professionals, but one that can create problems when misunderstood or misused.

Digital 3D modeling has vastly expanded the capabilities of land and transportation designers in recent years, enabling faster design, visualization, and data retrieval, plus numerous other benefits. With an accurate digital terrain model (DTM) users can readily determine x, y, and z coordinates virtually anywhere on a surface, whether it's an existing ground surface or a proposed grading surface. But based on what I’ve seen in numerous e-mails, posted on discussion groups, and through personal experience, 3D modeling is no panacea. Some of the common problems include inaccurate modeling, excessive modeling, and inappropriate combination of multiple data sources. There are probably others, but let’s start with these. Read more>>

From the Trenches (Tutorial): No More Drudgery

By Salvatore Napolitano

There's no easy way to draft underground ductile iron pipelines for water and wastewater. Anyone who has drafted single-line ductile iron pipe knows that it's very laborious. Why is it difficult to draft ductile iron pipe and why does Visual Basic offer a good solution? Read more


Webinar: Visualizing Bridges
October 9, 2007
8:00 a.m. PDT
The objective of this Webinar series is to provide knowledge, expertise, and suitable tools for civil engineers to employ visualization as a cost-effective solution throughout the project design process. This session, presented by RDV Systems, will cover extruding the bridge shape, barriers, guard rails, columns, and bridge heads. Read more

Webinar: Visualizing Tunnels
October 23, 2007
8:00 a.m. PDT
RDV Systems presents live Webinar sessions that will take a task-oriented approach aimed at solving everyday, real-life visualization challenges that face civil engineers and land planners. This session will cover extruding the tunnel shape, portals, and using transparency. Read more

Geographic Information Education Program
November 7, 2007
Belfast, United Kingdom
The GeoInformation Group will sponsor a free educational event for everyone in the geographic information community from recent graduates to highly experienced professionals. The seminar will be complemented by an exhibition. Anyone interested in learning more about the availability, management, and application of geographic data and related technologies is encouraged to register. Read more

Cadalyst's complete 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.