GIS Tech News (#76)

17 Feb, 2009

Salzburg Is Hands-On in 'Digital Cities' p>

Autodesk tests emerging technologies and software capabilities with future users to garner feedback.

By Chris Andrews

When Google introduced an online 3D world into which anyone could insert models of buildings and physical structures, municipal governments and utilities grew excited at the prospect of one day visualizing and analyzing their construction proposals and urban changes in real-world contexts. Geospatial and urban design professionals began to imagine the next steps beyond mass consumer applications, such as digital cities -- fully interactive, information-rich urban models that could support analysis and simulation in urban environments. Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth successfully moved the industry away from thinking that digital cities were unattainable. Today, municipalities and utilities actively seek technologies and services that can help them visualize, analyze, and communicate proposed changes to their assets and urban environments within real-world contexts.

With expertise in geospatial, architectural, and engineering design software, Autodesk found itself staring at an emerging gap between customer expectations and available technology. Autodesk customers and partners suggested that the company should take a leading role in delivering an off-the-shelf urban design product. Autodesk investigated customers needs by partnering with several cities to test early urban design technology and contribute requirements and ideas for Autodesk urban design products. With the help of the Centre for Geomatics at Salzburg University (Z_GIS), Autodesk approached the city of Salzburg, Austria, proposing a research pilot project to explore the requirements and ecosystem that would support the use of urban design technology by the city. Salzburg eagerly agreed to participate. Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chris Andrews, MS, GISP, is the urban design product manager for the Infrastructure Modeling Group at Autodesk. Contact him at


Civil 3D Tutorial: Toolspace and Its Settings

By Philip Zimmerman

For all the time I have spent on Styles, I haven't tried to explain the myriad of relationships and settings in Toolspace's Settings tab. First Toolspace's Settings is a hierarchical tree. In other words, settings at the tree's top push down to each branch's end. Secondly, at critical tree-branch points, any setting can be changed. Thirdly, the change's scope depends on where in the tree the change is made.

The Hierarchical Tree
Setting's hierarchical tree pushes two groups of settings: object settings and label style settings.

Objects - Edit Drawing Settings
Units and Zone, Object Layers, and Ambient settings, affect object layers, listings, listing and reporting defaults, and commands. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GeoDATA 2009
Various Dates May-July
Various U.K. Cities
This one-day seminar series promises a unique chance to hear thought-provoking presentations on a wide range of issues facing users of geographic information. This year's program content focuses on the business applications and return on investment issues affecting spatial data users. Read more

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