December 13, 2004
Bentley “You Deserve Better” (Or at Least Another Choice) Upgrade Program
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

This all works just fine as long as you're not using an application as well, but Flynn said they are working on that problem.

Right now Bentley is focusing their efforts for this upgrade program on the U.S. market, but will be coming up with International pricing as well, which will take awhile longer.

A spreadsheet of these results can be downloaded at

Las Vegas Valley Water District Site Visit

By Susan Smith

Case studies are a useful way of demonstrating the way a company uses software. Best of all is the opportunity to visit a company using a constellation of products, as was the case with Las Vegas Valley Water District, where a busload of journalists from Autodesk University convened for a presentation.

Illustrative of some of the technologies discussed at the conference is the work done by the Las Vegas Valley Water District's AM/FM/GIS Division. Once a small, remote desert oasis, Las Vegas is now the fastest growing area in the U.S. Someone moves in every hour, and it boasts seven out of the ten largest hotels in the world. In the last ten years, the population of the Valley has doubled.

All this has conspired to present huge challenges to the District's water supply and distribution. Now the District has 60-80 new service projects per month, and maintains 3800 miles of pipeline. To make this all doable, they first had to automate the tracking and distribution of data, organizing their hard copy system.

“Now we have all our drawings scanned into one database, comprising over 200,000 digital files,” said Wayne Lindsay, AM/FM/GIS Supervisor. They have combined CAD and GIS by building on the same spatial infrastructure. As AutoCAD users since 1995, the District's technology has evolved rapidly to something called CAD2ORA which is an AutoCAD and Oracle system. Oracle is the central database. CAD technicians can use the environment they're accustomed to, and do quality control, record and manage drawings, and manage GIS data in CAD, with all digital assets being served through the GIS database.

For GIS, the District uses ESRI's ArcMap on an SDE geodatabase. The Autodesk platform is the key to disseminating many products and is much faster for data management than ArcMap. All data is extracted from Oracle SDE. Facility data can be placed on top of a raster image, and data can be fit to GPS points as best as possible.

The line locators were the first to use the system. The database they have now houses maps and drawings that are displayed on their laptops that are linked back to the office.

The District uses FacilityView which in the CAD2ORA system allows users to attribute data to all facilities, and Redline Drafter for automated field markups. With such rapid growth, the district needed redlined drawings to know where valves and mains were. With Redline Drafter, they can log GPS simultaneously with redlining which is directly generated from GPS data. The accuracy is approximately within 2 centimeters for finding valves and doing as-builts. Now, 95% of facilities are done from GPS in the field. Data from the field is then made into capture data which strips out all the redline data, resymbolizes it and recopies it unique identifiers.

“Combining GPS data with engineering services adds extra insurance and accuracy,” explained Jonathan Pickus, Manager AM/FM/GIS Division. “After redlines are approved, as-builts are generated.”

The District has 65 million as builts today, 1500 tasks are processed each year. Also, 5,000 new valves are installed each year.

Although they still have 105,000 drawings yet to georeference, so much has been accomplished with the drawings they have so far.

FacilityView using MapGuide is very inexpensive to use, explained Pickus. It is
- Web based

- Views and queries maps

- GIS based functionality

- Tied to business processes

- Extensible with many layers of information
Las Vegas Valley Water District is also working on an AVL System and helping to optimize work order response based on vehicle location. They also use an external application called MIDAS which controls MapGuide externally.

How is ROI determined? No hard and fast numbers, but the ROI is evidenced by “not having to hire more people, do document research, or have people doing dispatch,” said Pickus. With the use of CAD2ORA and FacilityView, “you're providing a service you didn't have before, so we can only document how many people are using it.”

The efforts of the Water District have benefited many others in the district, and now they are enjoying a more symbiotic relationship and more data sharing with the county and other entities.

One of the concerns raised was about water conservation: everyone in attendance was aware of the amount of water the Vegas casinos and hotels use. Apparently the casinos are on a well system and are untouchable by the Water District. The Water District itself has a drought restriction plan and claims that Los Angeles uses more water from Lake Mead than Las Vegas does. Also they claim that 70% of usage comes from watering lawns.

Third Parties at AU

Avatech Solutions is a provider of design automation and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for the manufacturing, building design, civil engineering and GIS markets with 130 offices worldwide. They are currently addressing the shortage of engineers by teaching companies to maximize their software. Just in the past year, they have tripled their staff in the area of civil engineering. They have recently developed a new product that sits on top of Civil 3D called RDV, or Rapid Design Visualization.

From InterSpec, LLC, comes e-SPECS technology which links the project drawings to the specification documents in AutoCAD and other popular software programs. InterSpec's newest release is e-SPECS For Revit, which interfaces with Revit's parametric database, instantly updating project specifications to the requirements of the building model. The product takes advantage of Revit's parametric change technology and allows the user to insert any building object into a Revit model and instantly update the project manual with the appropriate specifications. Changes made to design are automatically included in the specification manual.

Oce's Plan Center can create various vaults within which you can categorize and organize files by discipline. For example, electrical engineers can look at only electrical drawings that pertain to their work. Oce's Client Tools is a free application that allows you to batch process, hatch print, and print DWG and DWF files. It also allows you to print whatever you want where ever you want, and you can select multiple destinations.


ESRI and two of its partners, Digital Quest, Inc. (DQI), of Ridgeland, Mississippi, and Berkeley Geo-Research Group (BGRG) of Orinda, California, are combining efforts to expand the educational programs that answer the needs of the quickly growing geospatial workforce. The results of these efforts are receiving recognition in key national geospatial workforce initiatives.

eSpatial and NAVTEQ have partnered to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of NAVTEQ data, delivered using eSpatial's iSMART® platform and hosted on Oracle 10g.

ISVs Encouraged to Develop Location-Enhanced Applications to Support Navigation, Location and Tracking Nextel Communications Inc. and Research In Motion (RIM) announced plans to enable location-based services on the BlackBerry(R) platform.

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To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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