3D Geospatial Workflows with New Bentley Map V8i SELECTseries II

For less common formats, Bentley Map interfaces directly with FME Desktop from Safe Software.

For analysis and presentation of data, Bentley Map includes many tools to assist in complex spatial analysis through buffers and overlays as well as thematic mapping for presentation and quality control projects.  It also has 3D analysis tools to determine interference between buildings and such features as sight lines, flight paths or radio beacon zones.  The analytical tools work on all features in your session regardless of the source.

A rich set of feature modeling capabilities lets users define features to be captured along with any properties, symbology, annotation, and behaviors and commands.  The product is said to be easy to use for technical users because they can select from a number of standard placement and editing tools that are based on common MicroStation commands, or create custom placement and editing tools using a simple scripting language or advanced programming techniques depending on their needs and skill sets. 

Reference data models available on Bentley’s website are  a way for users to do information modeling, and include a comprehensive database schema, feature symbology libraries, feature placement and editing rules, and detailed documentation along with a sample dataset. These reference data models will be released for different infrastructure industries. The first one, released last year, is an airport data model. This data model includes over 90 features as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration’s mapping guidelines, and is cross referenced to other data exchange and geographic data standards.

“We are currently working on a 3D City data model based on CityGML, and also a roads and transport model,” said Mankowski. These will be available later in the year.

Bentley Map contains many tools to create dynamic labels and annotation.  The annotation, or even plain text, can be curved along map features or masked to produce high quality cartographic output.

Bentley Map supports true Oracle Spatial access to 2D and 3D vector and raster data.  View only or lock, edit and post tools are available.  The interface is well integrated into Bentley Map and has support for cell and text scaling and rotation.

There are two ways in which users can connect Bentley Map to an Oracle Spatial database. The most straightforward way is a direct connection. Users simply enter the database connection information into Bentley Map, and they can begin working.

Bentley Map tools are 100% Oracle Spatial compliant, whether directly connecting in a 2-tier environment, or connecting in a 3-tier environment leveraging Bentley Geospatial Server. Spatial data uses standard Oracle Spatial data types.

Images, shadow studies and fly through animations for 3D city models will be able to be produced right in the GIS environment.

The 3D capabilities of Bentley Map make it possible to do image mapping, precise view setups, aerial photography draping onto terrain, shadow studies and animated movies.

For parcel mapping Bentley Map has a collection of tools to build and maintain polygon data sets.  These data sets are typically for mapping and maintaining information models regarding real property parcels, but they can include any polygonal types such as building zones or easements.

The tools build and maintain topology automatically through the editing process, and a number of tools are provided to split and merge parcels as well as to move vertices.  There are also many tools for data verification, stakeout, COGO, survey adjustments and more.

Two sample schemas are provided to get started right away. One provides a typical North American data model, and the other provides a more European type model. These are more typical of what you would find in a North American or European model in terms of features represented in a data model and the information associated with those features. However, they don’t match any standards of the countries. The API will allow 3rd party developers to create local solutions from these sample schemas. “Data models are just a starting point,” said Mankowski.

In general, end-users and 3rd party developers have a rich set of options available to them with the new API, which will allow them to build apps on top of Bentley Map products.

Bentley Map contains many tools for producing quick one-off work prints and for producing cartographic quality maps.  Custom work prints and maps can be created from Bentley provided templates or using existing user templates.  Legends can be generated automatically; north arrows and scales placed, and dates and title block information can be updated from document metadata.

Final output can be to a number or formats.  Many custom plot drivers are supported as well as any Windows printer, georeferenced PDF, PostScript or four color separations.

Bentley uses this same API to develop specialized industry applications as well. Bentley Water, Bentley Gas, Bentley Electric, Bentley Fiber, and Bentley Coax are a few of the examples of how the Bentley Map API has been used to create powerful utility information modeling applications.

Three-Tier System

The capabilities are packaged in a three-tier system, with all tiers supporting application development. The API available will depend on which tier is being used, but it is possible to write applications against all tiers.

At the lowest tier, Bentley Map PowerView includes the ability to markup, view and edit file based GIS datastores. Users can assemble and integrate data, view rasters, create maps and reports. They can view spatial database information, and create and manage feature models using the basic CAD and GIS tools.

The middle tier, Bentley Map, builds on Bentley Map PowerView by adding short transaction support for spatial databases, advanced map finishing capabilities, 2D spatial analysis tools, the cadastral mapping configuration, advanced interoperability, and a richer set of CAD and GIS tools.

The top tier, Bentley Map Enterprise, adds long transaction and history support for spatial databases, advanced 3D modeling, support for viewing Oracle GeoRaster, 3D spatial analysis tools, the ability to edit and transform raster images, create the 3D textures typically found in city models, view raster digital elevation models or DEMs, and the most advanced set of CAD and GIS tools.

At the bottom tier of the architecture, are data sources that may be file based sources, or spatial database server sources, or some combination of the two, but users can access them directly through  Bentley Map in a 2-tier client/server connection, or leverage ProjectWise Integration Server or Bentley Geospatial Server in a 3-tier architecture. This three tier including Bentley Geospatial Server with the Oracle database server and your client, has no middle tier in the way.


Bentley Map technology and capabilities are included in some industry specific applications such as the civil engineering design products, like InRoads, GEOPAK, and MXROAD, and the Bentley Communications products like Bentley Fiber and Bentley Coax, as well as the Bentley Utilities products such as Bentley Water, Bentley Gas, and Bentley Electric.

“Most of our users are people who are in some way deploying GIS within an infrastructure workflow of some kind so their propensity to use and be interested in 3D GIS is higher,” said Zambuni. “Right now we’re really focused on larger cities for 3D city workflows. The cost of acquiring and manipulating 3D data forms becomes more of a standard to keep up you’re your peers. Smaller and medium sized cities will be adopting those 3D workflows and of course, they’re beginning tin the most advanced cases to integrate the above ground view of the world from a spatial perspective with the below ground view of the world in the utilities arena.”

The Bentley data models are basically exclusive to Bentley Map. There is a collection of tools that go along with the data model for capturing data efficiently which are all implemented around Bentley Map technology. “While the logical data model is something that can be reused in other platforms, you wouldn’t be able to reuse the physical data model or the technology we’re delivering with those data models in anything but Bentley Map,” said Zambuni.

Bentley Map works with other spatial databases, and most standard spatial data formats, even natively or through the FME plug-in. Bentley also has a server connection to the Esri ArcSDE database.

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