Posts Tagged ‘autocad


Pre-work for Autodesk University 2014 – Life of a Building Footprint

After arriving in Las Vegas today for the beginning of Autodesk University 2014, I have been reviewing my presentation.

This class touches on the following products:

  1. AutoCAD Map 3D
  2. Autodesk Raster Design
  3. Autodesk InfraWorks 360
  4. SketchUp
  5. Autodesk Infrastructure Map Server
  6. MapGuide Maestro
  7. Google Earth
  8. mapguide-rest project
  9. Cesium

All this in 90 minutes.

It’s a lot to cover, but it is some of the tools we need to publish data to the web.

There should be a lot more GIS-y things at AU, but AutoCAD Map 3D and Infrastructure Map Server have not had many big functionality increases over the past few years, so they don’t get much press.  They still are used by thousands of users everyday, but the tools you use every day are not considered “sexy”.

Hopefully there will be some big leaps in the products soon  –  like integration with Cesium – or seamless round tripping from DWG to FDO and back (using block rotations, object data, etc) – this was done extremely well with an old Oracle Spatial Extension but doesn’t work with 64bit now.

Fingers crossed.



Flow Arrows and Custom Linetypes in AIMS 2012 (aka MapGuide)

So a lot of people want to recreate the look and feel of the maps they created in AutoCAD, even though precise engineering drawings are not cartographically accurate.

That being said there is definely a way to recreate the flow arrows and Leaders from AutoCAD in AIMS.

If you have a line layer in AutoCAD you will either have to export it to SDF, SHP, Oracle Spatial, SQL Server Spatial, or any other “FDO” type data.

Connect to that data in AIMS and modify the layer style in AIMS 2012 Studio.

In the Style Lne dialog:

  1. Ensure to use “Map” units
  2. Chose your units (feet or meters typically)
  3. Under Symbol and Style, click Add Symbol.

 4. Under Select Symbol, choose Triangle.

5.  For height, type your height in feet or if you have it as a column in your data, choose that.

6. For width, do the same as step 5.

7. Click Advanced.

8. If you want to put an arrow at the beginning of the line, enter 0 for Offset from Start, do not type anything for “from end” and set the Repeat interval to 0.

9. For Rotation, enter: 90

If you change the Offset for the End to be 0 and the beginning empty, the arrow will appear at the other end of the line.
This is very effective for AutoCAD Leaders and Flow Arrows.  Also, you can use text instead of triangle, to get a custom line.
For example: Choosing Text instead of Triangle, you can repeat the text along the line to create a custom line time
The cool thing is you can do this in Map 3D 2012 as well, for any FDO based layer.
 Also, you can save as a .LAYER file, load back into AutoCAD Map 2011 and use the Publish to MapGuide to retro your advanced layer definition into MapGuide 2011.
 Normally you would have to hack around in XML to get this to work with MapGuide 2011.
 If you have Map 3D 2012 you can now create .LAYER files with all this neat stylization and use the .LAYER retroactively.

DWG to FDO: Moving Blocks to SDF (with Attributes)

I have had a lot of questions lately on how to move complex DWG files with Rotated Blocks with Attributes to FDO.

(Feature Data Objects include storage such as Oracle Spatial, SQL Server Spatial, SHP, SDF, mySQL, etc.)

Moving from DWG to Universal Spatial Storage (USS) is key for any organization wanting to share data or maintain a “Truth” to their assets.

I have created a video that shows how to take Blocks with 3 Attributes and export them to a SDF file – which can then be put in the SQL Server or Oracle etc.

I use the existing block as a symbol with FDO, so please keep your individual DWG block libraries on your system.  For example, I have a folder with all my utility blocks – each block exploded in an individual DWG file.


GIS Data Needs a Database for a Home

There are many GIS formats out there, current SAFE Software translates over 250 GIS/CAD/Spatial formats.  The one thing in common is that the data can be accessed much easier if it was in a database.

The issue is maintaining the data once it’s there.  I really like the Oracle Spatial Extension that is part of AutoCAD Map 3D.  This has been around for over 10 years and works great.  It stores the AutoCAD blocks and its attributes, the Object Data and Link Template (all data in the DWG file) as columns in an Oracle table.  You can then render that data in other GIS that can read Oracle spatial data (such as MapGuide) exactly like it was in the DWG.  In fact, since the Oracle keeps the DWG file verbatim, you can read and write to Oracle and never lose the AutoCAD features you are used to.

Oracle DWG Data in MapGuide

This MapGuide rendered data including Polylines, Blocks and Symbols is maintained in AutoCAD Map and stored in Oracle.

Now, there is newer technology called FDO (feature data objects) that all the Autodesk (and other Open Source GISs) data is built on.  I really love FDO but the bridge between the DWG (object data, blocks, link templates) and the data sources (such as SQL Server 2008 spatial and Oracle spatial) is not complete for round-tripping.  I would love to see the mapping seen in the old Oracle Spatial Extension for AutoCAD Map moved over into the FDO world.

Now that would help GIS data find a home!

Gordon Luckett

Arrow Geomatics Inc's Gordon Luckett


gordon dot luckett at arrowgeo dot com 1-519-837-9500 (Arrow Geomatics Inc.)

Checkout MapGuide Guy’s Youtube Channel


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