Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CAD and GIS like Milk and Cookies

Milk and cookies - just plain good! There’s something about pairing the crunchy sweetness of cookies with a refreshing glass of milk that not only tastes great but satisfies too. Some things are meant to be together.

I think that CAD and GIS are kind of like that; I think CAD and GIS are meant to be together.

If you are an engineer or a drafting professional, you know all about CAD. You know the value of using CAD for engineering design and drafting; you know that when it comes to producing accurate drawings for construction purposes, CAD is the right tool for the job. In fact, there’s no better tool.

However, as an engineer, you may also have a need to place your designs within a geospatial context; you may need to combine design information with geographic data and you may need to examine your designs using spatial analysis techniques. In fact, attribute data, raster imagery and thematic mapping may help you to better design and visualize your infrastructure projects.

Traditional thinking separates design workflows from geospatial workflows. Consequently, you stick to what you know. With little experience in GIS or little time to learn new technologies, a choice is made; you focus on design and let someone else handle the geospatial stuff.

Unfortunately, this approach results in a disconnect between design departments and GIS departments, and between CAD data and GIS data. Consequently, workflows suffer which compromise efficiency, affect decision making, and impact data accuracy and currency.

However, there is an alternative: a unified approach called Engineering GIS that embraces both engineering design and GIS. Engineering GIS together with an improved understanding of how GIS skills can complement existing design skills can help overcome those workflow challenges and ensure that CAD and geospatial data are integrated in a manner that respects both engineering design and GIS requirements.

CAD and GIS like milk and cookies – just plain good.

Stay tuned as I elaborate on the importance of an Engineering GIS approach in future posts. I’ll also highlight some of the challenges encountered when attempting to integrate design information with geospatial data and I’ll review the key skills that you need in order to take advantage of Engineering GIS.

Until then… remember to geoExpress yourself.

1 comment:

Neal said...

Well Said - the technologies need to coexist and integration has really started to happen with the geospatial tools like FDO from Autodesk.

Can I get an AMEN!!