Have you ever rummaged through your toolbox looking for that certain tool only to find that you stored it somewhere else? If you have then you know how frustrating and inefficient it can be.
Well, when it comes to CAD and GIS, traditional thinking separates design tools from geospatial tools into different packages. When you’re faced with working in both domains, however, you end up switching back and forth between those packages. This means you also need to pass the data back and forth. The process is error prone and not very efficient.
Engineering GIS combines CAD and GIS capabilities into a single unified toolset. That is, the engineering design, data creation and editing tools of CAD are combined with the database, analysis and spatial data management tools of GIS.
There are five key principles of Engineering GIS:
1. Data passes through a lifecycle. Engineering GIS recognizes that data passes through a lifecycle. For example, when working in the municipal infrastructure domain, data moves through various phases from surveying and mapping, to design and construction, and finally to management. Engineering GIS assumes that the design information will be used in different ways by many people downstream from the engineering design process. Consequently, engineering drawings are topologically correct and “GIS ready” which streamlines the task of incorporating this information into an infrastructure management system and a geospatial database.
2. Access data natively. Engineering GIS recognizes that data comes in many different formats and from many different sources including traditional engineering and GIS environments, spreadsheets and databases, as well as, desktop and web-based sources. However, rather than relying on a data import/export process, Engineering GIS promotes working with the data in its native format. Consequently, data integrity is maintained, data redundancy is reduced and efficiency is improved.
3. Leverage design tools. Engineering GIS leverages CAD and engineering design tools because of their precision and ease of use for data creation and maintenance of engineering design features, as well as, mapping and other geospatial data.
4. Leverage geospatial tools. Engineering GIS leverages GIS tools because of their data oriented capabilities for automated mapping, spatial analysis and management of geospatial databases.
5. Renderings must be accurate. Whether printed to paper or published to the Web, Engineering GIS ensures that drawings and maps are accurately rendered with the point, line and polygon styles, raster and vector overlays, symbology, dimensioning and overall appearance that users expect.
As you can see, with Engineering GIS, you don’t have to choose between CAD and GIS software because both types of tools are available in one place. Together, they create a toolset that simplifies engineering and geospatial data integration.
Until next time...why not take a moment to geoExpress yourself?