A History Class

How about a little history lesson? Most Map3D users today forgot or don’t know how AutoCAD Map3D came about. So for today’s lesson we go back in time and look at a few key points in the life of AutoCAD Map3D. Of course my disclaimer is all this is from my memory and some creative use of the wayback machine to locate some info and is not the official history or endorsed by Autodesk.
Let’s start at the beginning August 9, 1996 with a quote from Autodesk themselves. “ Autodesk today took its first step into the fast-growing geographic information systems (GIS) market, as the company began shipping its first dedicated mapping and GIS product, AutoCAD® Map.”
The price for the software then was listed as $4,495.00 US  or an upgrade price of $365 to $995 depending on the users current version. The upgrades where from AutoCAD or AutoCAD Data Extension® (ADE). Now we all know what AutoCAD is but what’s this AutoCAD Data Extension program? Well in layman’s terms it was a OEM for AutoCAD, the simple API or code that you had to build the interface for. If you look at some of the commands that have around from day one still in the 2011 version today you can see the prefix ADE.
Another quote from the past “AutoCAD Map software focuses on five key areas: digital map creation; analysis; maintenance of accurate, up-to-date maps; data exchange; and publishing.” That statement is still true today.  If fact that statement and those five key areas is how MAP got the name MAP, it could have been named GIS Desktop or something else for all we know. After all this was the same time frame that Mechanical Desktop, Land Desktop and Architectural Desktop were being released. So why the name MAP? Simple someone there at Autodesk took a good look at what MAP did and put the pieces together in a nice acronym MAP. Manage, Analyze, and Presentation. Manage is the using of multiple drawings and updating all of them at one time and having multiple users working in the same drawings at once.  Analyze by creating the topologies and query objects based on extended data.. Presentation is the theme creation for those drawings and analysis preformed. 
The MAP acronym is still true today, 14 years later. We manage our drawings and data, we analysis that data and/or drawings and then we present those findings from the analysis. 
Lets jump ahead 6 months to May 28, 1997 to the next version of MAP (MAP2) unlike the first version of MAP which ran on the R13 AutoCAD, ran on AutoCAD R14. A much improved platform and the first taste of layouts. Here’s a quote from that press release “"Performance alone is a compelling argument to move to AutoCAD Map Release 2.0," says Steve Carter, Automated Mapping Project Systems Coordinator at PacifiCorp, the third largest electric utility west of the Mississippi. Carter currently uses AutoCAD Map 1.0, and beta tested Release 2.0. "Reduced start-up time, faster queries, and better draw and edit performance are noticeable in this new release."
Not only was the performance improvements  a big reason to move up to MAP2 but the listed price for it dropped to $4295.00. How often do you see that? A new and improved version for a lower cost?
MAP 2 also was able to import ERSI ARC Info/Coverage files and use solid fill for thematic mapping and supported raster files.
The next version, MAP 3, did not get released until  June 18, 1998. I was not able to find much information on this version. During this time period Autodesk was focusing on World Map, MapGuide and GIS Design  Server.
The next version MAP 4 or MAP 2000/2000i came out built on the AutoCAD 2000/2000i version. The I was for internet and again most of the new features were the standard AutoCAD features and/or some changes to the interface, layouts and plotting. It was released in the early year of 2000 then again later in the year as 2000i. As I remember it this was the same time frame that Autodesk was offering the VIP subscription as a way to budget the your software and get current releases. Again I was unable to find any information or press releases from that time but do recall signing up for the VIP program and getting MAP 2000 and then MAP 2000i in a short period of time. That short turn around, that I recall may have been the results that I was able to budget for AutoCAD MAP and get the company to upgrade at that time of the release cycle and going from AutoCAD to AutoCAD MAP.
MAP 5 (2002) was released around June/July of 2001. Build on AutoCAD 2002 it now offered support for MrSid and ECW files along with a connection to Oracle 8i Spatial database. 
I found some documentation on a MAP 6 also build on AutoCAD 2002 that was to be released later at the end of the year 2002. The key features of this release was “Classification”, “COGO” tools, “Annotation” and the new “Multiloop” Polygon. Now I am thinking that Map 6 was to become MAP 2004. About the time of this release is when Autodesk decided that the naming convection was misleading and decided to rebrand the verticals with the same version as standard AutoCAD. So I’ll say that MAP 6 was re-released a few months later in 2003 as MAP 2004 build on the new AutoCAD 2004 platform. In my research I found some archived web pages that contradict each other or where not complete so if I’m wrong on that I’ll let someone correct me.
The next version released in 2004 also had a slight name changed, it was now MAP 3D 2005. The addition of 3D was added to the name. This version had a little mix of Civil 3D in it. It allowed point groups, surface creations, analysis and visualization. It also had LandXML support.
The 2006 version MAP 3D 2006 gave us the first look of workspaces, a way to create a users’ interface the way we wanted. It also gave us a new Map Book tool. With a few standard AutoCAD feature like dynamic blocks there where some performance changes as well.
Then came AutoCAD MAP 3D 2007, a new way to work with GIS data, the FDO or data connect. Using some of the functions out of Map Guide we now have a method to connect with more data without having to use the old map import/export commands. Even though we could connect to Oracle, MySQL and ESRI SDE data in older versions the 2007 version made it a lot easier.  I like to say that the 2007 version takes us up to the current “modern” method of creating maps and data. The next few versions released added new features to work with the data connect/FDO data and brings up to the current version we are using today. 
So there you go a semi short AutoCAD MAP history lesson. If anyone finds any errors then free feel to point them out as I said this is an unofficial history and working with a 50+ year old mind it may be jumbled up at times.

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3 Responses to “A History Class”


  1. 1 Kalman Albert 08/18/2010 at 4:30 AM

    It’s very nice to read about Map3D history, somewhere was “maps series” a bundle Map+Raster+Envision. I think in all this time AutoDesk did not have a conception about future.
    Autodesk world was good idea file base gis desktop solutions, it’s like now a lot of open source solutions for shp but they give up. The Autodesk world 2.5 was much faster then today FDO technology in MAP3D and world has many interesting options like spatial query and fast database links, nice theming s.o.

  2. 2 R.K. McSwain 08/10/2010 at 8:51 AM

    Murph, you say that Map 2, on R14, gave a “first taste of layouts”. Was this a feature particular to MAP, because layouts did not become part of vanilla AutoCAD until R2000.
    *
    Also, I have a Map5 and Map6 CD, and these are built on R2002.
    The Map5 setup file “acadmap.msi” is dated 6-18-2001
    The Map6 setup file “acadmap.msi” is dated 9-17-2002
    HTH

    • 3 map3d 08/10/2010 at 11:31 AM

      R.K.
      I think you are correct on the layouts being in R2000 and not in R14 I may be in error or the “layouts” I was thinking of where the map displays that does allow different display of dwg objects in more than one file. Also on the MAP 5 and MAP 6 confusion, looking at Shaan’s blog there was no Vannila AutoCAD released in the same time frame as MAP 6 was. Therefore I believe that MAP 6 was a release with some new features that later was released built on 2004 AutoCAD and renamed Map 2004. The Wayback archives are a little misleading with links pointing to newer pages at times.


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