GIS Tech News (#52)

18 Feb, 2008

Seeking the Ideal Civil 3D Setup, Part 1 p>

Examining what it takes to create the best Civil 3D-SQL-Vault configuration.

By Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong photo

With AutoCAD Civil 3D and Vault, Autodesk introduces what it describes as “a dynamic engineering model that delivers proven power to complete projects up to 75% faster.” The software is designed so that “surfaces, cross-sections, profiles, production drafting ... are dynamically linked and updated automatically,” the company states. Some users see it as a possible solution to an age-old problem: sharing work across offices to make the most of organizational resources. But with this benefit, they also face new challenges.

In Part 1 of this article, we follow the progress of two firms, Bowman Consulting Group and David Evans and Associates (DEA), to understand the work involved in migrating from Autodesk Land Desktop to Civil 3D. In doing so, we follow their decision-making processes and their workflow considerations.

The SQL Quest
If Bowman chooses to install Autodesk Vault with Civil 3D, the company will be installing the Autodesk Data Management Server (ADMS). By default, ADMS installs Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005. It used to install Microsoft SQL Desktop Engine Edition (MSDE), which limits the number of concurrent connections to 10, but that’s no longer the case. SQL Server Express 2005 doesn’t put a limitation on the number of concurrent users, but caps the database size at 4 GB (as noted in Microsoft’s datasheet for the product).

For Jason Bjornsen, Bowman’s IT manager, the first issue he faces is selecting an appropriate version of Microsoft SQL, without which he won’t be able to implement the Vault architecture. In Bjornsen’s experience, “We have seen some performance hits [some strain on performance] with over 10 people simultaneously working on the SQL Express database. Because of this limitation, SQL Express is only viable in the smallest offices.”

Bowman has nine offices. Bjornsen estimated that most of them have about 20 simultaneous connections, and the larger ones have about 50 connections. Below are his upgrade options, as listed in Autodesk’s online Q&A document for Vault:

  • SQL Server 2000 (Standard or Enterprise)
  • SQL Server 2005 (Workgroup, Standard, or Enterprise)

Bowman plans to use SQL Server 2005 Express in its smaller offices. “We have considered installing SQL Server (full version) in our offices that regularly have more than 10 concurrent users. This generates more expense because each instance of SQL Server would require a server license from Microsoft for the SQL Server. As you may know, SQL server and client access licenses aren’t real cheap,” Bjornsen said. Read more »

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Kenneth Wong is a Cadalyst columnist and former Cadence editor. He explores innovative uses of technology and its implications in his writing. Reach him at


Tech Trends:

Dividing the Digital Plunder

By Kenneth Wong

The legitimate software market in the developed world is much greater than the pirated software market in the same region. The ratio is the reverse in emerging countries. However, because the software market in the developed world is eight times that of the emerging countries, the losses from piracy in the developed world still ranks higher than those from the emerging countries.

Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk -- every vendor in the high-tech sector feels the weight of this burgeoning industry. Operating within a loose network with little or no structure, this relatively young market thrives on a supply chain that stretches across China, India, Russia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Its distribution channels include legitimate outfits such as eBay, dubious corners of the open-air bazaars in Bangkok and Mumbai, and anything in between.

According to the most recent study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the International Data Group (IDG), pirated software accounts for 35% of what's installed on personal computers. The estimated value of the software pirated in 2006 is $40 billion. That's the equivalent of three times the money spent on product lifecycle management (PLM) during the same period, reported as $13.2 billion by CIMdata. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GIS Manager's Workshop
February 25, 2008
Kissimmee, Florida
Geographic Technologies Group (GTG) will sponsor the GIS Manager's Workshop for all GIS managers and IT directors. Topics will cover Managing GIS, The Governance of GIS, The Enterprise Implementation of GIS, and The Business Case for GIS. Read more»

Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference
February 25-28, 2008
New Orleans, Louisiana
The 12th Annual GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference, jointly sponsored by URISA and the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO), is designed to foster collaboration and integration of data, technology, and functionality. Read more»

AWRA GIS Conference
March 17-19, 2008
San Mateo, California
Among the offerings at the American Water Resources Association's GIS Specialty Conference will be a field trip, workshops, and presentations covering a broad range of subjects on integrative geospatial hydrologic technologies. 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.