GIS Tech News (#83)

16 Jun, 2009

Road Map to Cost Savings

Calculate ROI to determine the real financial benefits of switching
from AutoCAD to Map 3D.

By Marcia Carrillo

Most CAD managers and engineers are painfully aware of current economic trends: workforce reductions, diminishing project backlogs, and doubt about the future. Or is the outlook improving? Historically, the upside is always better than the downside in a recession; therefore if we drop 10%, we could rebound anywhere from 15% to 40%. It doesn't happen overnight, so what can we do in these slow times to prepare for the upside? The answer is to invest in technology that will support future growth. And the best way to decide which technology deserves investment is to consider its return on investment (ROI).

I'll look at productivity issues and ROI associated with moving from a pure CAD platform to a data-management and interoperability platform -- namely, I will compare the productivity and ROI benefits of moving from AutoCAD to AutoCAD Map 3D.

Understanding ROI
ROI calculations determine the rate of payoff compared with the original amount invested. ROI does not indicate actual dollars gained or lost. For instance, a $1,000 investment that earns $50 in interest generates more cash than a $100 investment that earns $20 in interest, but the $100 investment has a higher ROI.

            $50/$1,000 = 5% ROI
            $20/$100 = 20% ROI

When someone asks about ROI, they're really asking:

  • What do I get back for the money (the return)?
  • What am I being asked to spend (the investment)?
  • What is it really worth (the ROI)?

Read more »

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Marcia Carrillo is a researcher and adjunct professor of spatial and visualization information systems at Claremont Graduate University (Claremont, California). She also does consulting for geospatial applications.


Sign on the Digital Line

Expedited workflows and significant cost savings are motivating
AEC firms to adopt digital signature technology.

By Gadi Aharoni

The Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA) was running the risk of not satisfying review standards because of improper project documentation and approvals -- and was in jeopardy of losing federal funding. By implementing a digital signature solution and requiring inspection staff to place digital signatures on project documentation, PRHTA was able to increase employee accountability, eliminate fraudulent requests for certifications, and guarantee that payments were timely and accurate. As a result, the agency significantly improved its review standings, which removed the authority's high risk status and the possibility of losing federal funding.

As AEC firms attempt to alleviate the pains they encounter in collaborative work, many are turning to standards-based digital signature solutions like CoSign digital signature software from Arx to streamline and accelerate these business processes. Using digital signatures is saving tens of thousands of dollars with each project while expediting daily workflows and enabling faster project completion. Digital signatures also bring a quick return on investment (ROI), with annual cost savings reaching several hundred thousand dollars for some firms.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

June Webinars: Wide-Format Scanning
Through June 23, 2009
This month's webinars from Contex Americas include tips on large-format scanning and working with large-format, scanned drawings. Read more

Bentley Systems Be Connected Online Seminar Series
June 23-November 25, 2009
The Be Connected online seminar series gives architects, engineers, builders, geospatial professionals, and owner-operators a chance to learn about applying information modeling from leading infrastructure practitioners. Events are free of charge and available in live and OnDemand formats. 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.


What's New at

Cadalyst Labs Review: AutoCAD 2010
The times, they are a-changin' -- and when it comes to new 2D parametric drawing, change can be very, very good. Read more

3D Printer Buyer's Guide
Learn which questions to ask so you can choose the best possible 3D printer to meet your prototyping needs without overspending. Available free in Cadalyst's Whitepaper Library to users who register.

First Look Review: HP Officejet 7000 Wide-Format Printer
Low-cost, B-size inkjet printer is an excellent choice for small CAD, engineering, and DCC offices. Read more

Lynn Allen's Circles & Lines: AutoCAD 2010 Makes Everyday Drawing Easier
Updates to layer colors, hatching, line conversions, purge, and more will help speed up common tasks. Read more