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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Pictometry/AutoCAD Civil 3D integration

December 11th, 2012 by Susan Smith

Pictometry International Corp., inventor of measurable, aerial oblique imagery and analytics tools, launched Pictometry Integration for Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 and 2012 products at Autodesk University the last week of November. Now users’ high resolution geo-referenced aerial imagery can be accessed from directly within the AutoCAD Civil 3D workspace, enabling users to visualize and take measurements of real-world field environments, helping reduce the need for field visits. AutoCAD Civil 3D use has grown phenomenally over the past two-three years, and continues to climb, according to experts in the field. It will also certainly benefit Pictometry to gain access to Autodesk’s millions of users.

According to Pictometry’s David Petterson, product manager, solutions integration, the integration with AutoCAD Civil 3D follows last year’s integration with AutoCAD Map 3D. Both of these integrations utilize the new Pictometry Connect platform that allows users to instantly access Pictometry’s 2.1 petabyte library of olique and orthogonal imagery, as well as accurate geospatial content.

The aerial imagery is stored in the cloud, and Pictometry imagery and data is accessed in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 with just a click. The types of data that will benefit from this integration include asset data such as transmission and distribution networks, oil and gas pipelines, and lease parcel boundaries that can be accurately displayed on top of dimensional imagery, to verify and validate spatial data. According to the press release, the imagery is precisely geo-synchronized with the user’s drawing file, automatically overlaying GIS and CAD data. Pictometry’s imagery can be used as a visually intelligent backdrop for the creation of new content, and for editing and attributing existing content. In addition, Pictometry has added an integration within AutoCADMap 3D 2013, complementing its existing integration with AutoCADMap 3D 2012, which was released last year.

Pictometry’s initial foray into the AutoCAD market was with the Map 3D integration last year. “We began with Map 3D because it serves that planning, and GIS type market,” said Petterson. “What we found from customers was that our imagery was such an authoritative resolution that we could pull this down the food chain into a better design and as-built within the Civil 3D structure. That’s why we officially launched the Civil 3D integration last week. Obviously the Civil 3D market is ten times that of Map 3D, and customers asked for Civil 3D integration. Imagery always been the domain of the planning and the predesign and conceptual.”

In addition, Pictometry currently has a release with Autodesk Utility Design which is  built on the Map 3D engine. “What we’ve found is that one of the derivative products of what we do is used to generate some of the best 3D models that are out there,” said Petterson. “People are taking that imagery and producing it in a 3ds format and natively consuming that in something like Infrastructure Modeler. So it’s really exposing our imagery to all of what the customer does.”

With the Pictometry Civil 3D integration you don’t have to exit out of AutoCAD, you can stay within that system you can go find the location you want. At the press of a button you can bring the content directly within the Civil 3D environment. Utilities that might have thousands of  substations scattered around countryside, and in order to go into an as-built location they’d have to send a survey crew out there. With Pictometry imagery they could pull down that site location and do a general as-built and model that location, all without leaving their office. “They are finding multiple use cases for this ability to pull discreet images as opposed to a whole map base,” Petterson pointed out. “That’s the other thing we find with our AutoCAD users, they don’t want to have to deal with a 20-30 Mb Mr. Sid image file and pulling it into WMS because it gets in the way of what they’re trying to do. It’s great for validation to turn that on and off, but in the end it becomes cumbersome. What we provide is a tighter integration and the ability to pull in just a discreet image in very high resolution just covering the area they want. This fills a need that fits more into their workflow than what they’ve had in the past.”

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