Managing Geospatial Infrastructure with Autodesk Map 3D 2009


“You can quickly create a thematic map, by pulling information out of the map. There is also labeling. Map is about merging the CAD design world and GIS and to be able to not only edit the data, but also edit attributes and geometries, but to be able extract information out of that data before you even go to create a design. You may need to find out where x parcel is when you’re querying an entire database. Map gives you tools to find that information and bring that right into your project.”

Map 3D brings the ability to create metadata for AutoCAD drawing files, but also for any kind of data that we can actually work with in Map 3D, such as ESRI shape files. “Data management is always a huge challenge,” Christian pointed out. “We see many of our customers using Map with a central database such as Oracle to manage information, but that may just be the line, the point, the polygon, attributes values. Then there’s the idea of what is the descriptive information that a new user would want, whether it is a paper plot that is taken out by a field worker or whether it’s publishing information to the Internet. This is where our integration with Autodesk MapGuide comes into play.”

MapGuide also has some new capabilities, involving a flexible web layout that keeps users from getting “hung up” on terminology. “It lets somebody create a web application very easily, pretty much out of the box with a few clicks,” said Christian. “Map fits in as the aggregation, creation and editing tool and it lets you publish finished designs for finished maps to MapGuide for sharing on the Internet.”

Autodesk invested heavily in the API in this release. While many people do use Map 3D out of the box, Christian said that they also noted customers who were having solutions built for them by Autodesk consulting or independent software partner vendors. A series of geospatial APIs are available for people to build location and geospatial applications on top of Map 3D and MapGuide. “What is unique about our geospatial platform API is that essentially you write code once and that code can be utilized on the desktop or on the web environment,” said Christian. “This year we created more examples of how to use the API to fill gaps that are not in the UI of the product but are underlying for application developers to extend this product.”

Another feature of the new release are Industry Toolkits specific to industries such as electric utilities. These toolkits contain information such as overhead conductor, underground conductor, and a list of objects common to electric utilities, for example. The toolkits, which are a data model and a set of templates, can be used in Map 3D. The toolkits enable Map 3D to be an industry specific solution. Someone doing design work or data attribution work, can use the out of the box template of objects to draft with.

In a video demonstration, objects were being classified by taking the CAD object and giving it a data structure. “You can do a query on an object and find all the attribute information and fields that need to be filled in for asset management purposes. So for infrastructure lifecycle from design to build to operate and maintain, the terminology that are only used in the utility sector, why not include information that will need to be in a database somewhere for management of this infrastructure for a later time?” queried Christian. Map 3D with Industry Toolkits provides a platform to add this intelligence up front. “You don’t have to worry about what CAD layer you’re on, as an end user you just decide to create a new object, pick it from the right hand menu with all the other information you may need, the correct layer type, line type, colors, symbology, attributes, etc., is all assigned to those objects as they draft.”

There are three toolkits: electric utilities, water utilities and wastewater. All three are based on Topobase, an asset management system that is built on Map 3D that runs on an Oracle database on the back end. For customers who are not using a database with Map 3D, it’s possible to design and create their infrastructure in the CAD environment and retain attributes and information that can be moved over to a true database driven asset management system such as Topobase in the future.

Another new release for Map 3D is the Survey Toolkit. All the toolkits are extensions available for customers in the Autodesk Subscription program. The Survey Toolkit contains objects that can be used in an asset management solution but are centered around data aggregation or data capture.

Autodesk has made a huge move toward 3D and visualization within its product line, and it seems only natural that this would extend to Map 3D. Map 3D 2009 provides the ability to work with lidar data to create surfaces typical in site planning and site assessment, and to create thematic maps of the elevation data to understand the terrain better. Other ways to create a surface include using contour files in Shape file format to create a DTM, with a combination of surface information, vector information comprised of parcel outlines or road centerlines, to get a 3D view. Ultimately, after aggregating the data and bringing imagery into a single application, the maps can be shared by moving to another data format or publishing to the web.

Autodesk’s recent acquisition of 3DGeo will further the company’s visualization capabilities, coupled with some technologies that are already resident in some of the Autodesk product line.

Top News of the Week

Google.org has launched a new grants program for online mapping. Google.org Geo Challenge Grants will award small grants to non-profits and NGOs around the world to create projects using online mapping tools, such as Google Maps and Google Earth. The program is an open application process that will award grants up to $100,000. See press release

Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, introduced the Geospatial Data Access Retrieval Translator (GeoDART), a powerful new web-based search engine that enables geospatial information users to perform multiple searches, in parallel and across multiple data sources, using any service-oriented architecture (SOA) platform. The commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product is designed for a wide range of government and commercial applications, including intelligence, oil and gas, agriculture, civil engineering, environmental protection and disaster response.

Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

The Survey of India announced that the Government of India had formally approved the strategic agreement between the National surveying and mapping organization Survey of India (SOI) and Tele Atlas Kalyani India Ltd., formerly Kalyani Net Ventures Ltd (KNVL) - a joint venture between the Kalyani Group and Tele Atlas. With this agreement Tele Atlas Kalyani India becomes the first Value Added Reseller (VAR) of India’s digital maps. The agreement allows Tele Atlas Kalyani India to release the first Survey of India-approved digital maps and custom map content within the public domain for commercial use in a range of navigation and location-based solutions in the mobile, internet, automotive, personal navigation system and enterprise markets.

Valtus Imagery Services is pleased to announce the establishment of a distribution partner agreement with Divestco Inc., whose portfolio of software and service offerings focus on the oil and gas industry.

DigitalGlobe announced that it has signed an agreement with deCarta, the leading supplier of software and services for the Location-Based Services (LBS) industry under which DigitalGlobe will provide deCarta's geospatial platform customers access to its premium, high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery.

Loopt, a revolutionary social-mapping and communication service, announced an agreement with SnapTrack Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, to use QPoint location-based server software to provide social mapping and other advanced location services. Loopt will help enable wireless carriers and a broader set of customers to provide certain high-performance, compelling location-based services (LBS). This agreement allows Loopt to address many of the economic challenges that have prevented the proliferation and success of high frequency, high accuracy location-based services.

Announcements

Pitney Bowes MapInfo announced that its Location Intelligence Component (LIC) now integrates with Xcelsius 2008, a data visualization tool from Business Objects, an SAP company, that enables users to create detailed and insightful dashboards from any data source. Organizations using Xcelsius 2008 can now combine business intelligence reporting, query and analysis environments with Pitney Bowes MapInfo’s location-based data, visualization and interactive spatial analysis capabilities to make more insightful business decisions.




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