Archive for the '2010 version' Category

Subscription Advantage Packs

If you are a subscription member there a new extension you can download. The subscription extensions now called Subscription Advantage Packs (SAP) are available on the subscription site.  The SAP for AutoCAD Map3D 2010 contains tools to use LIDAR or point clouds data. If anyone ever wanted to use large LIDAR files or point clouds you now can with the SAP. So what can you do with this data? Well depending on the data a lot.  First here is how you can start using it.

First on the Display Manager, click on the Tools Icon, select Create Point Cloud Index. The “Index” needs to be created for all new LiDAR (las) files.


When you select to create the point cloud index the Point Cloud Manager palette opens. Here is where you browse to the LiDAR files and add them to a list or you can even group multiple files together.

PointCloud Manager

Once the files are listed in the Point Group Manager highlight the file or group and click on the Generate Index. This creates a file with an ISD extension. You have the option prior to generating the index as to the file location and name by selecting in the output column and browsing to a folder and renaming the file. The default is the same folder and file name as the las file. Generating the index takes a few minutes depending on the file size and number of points in the file. A process indicator is displayed in the the  Point Cloud Manager as it is generated.  Once the index is created you can click the Add to Map button to add the point cloud to your map.  Note you only need to create the index for the las file once, you can use the isd file to load the point cloud in any drawing. Once you created an index of a las file you can reload the point cloud by using the Data icon and selecting Add Point Cloud Date.


Once the point cloud is loaded into the map it is listed as a map layer in the Display Manager.


Once you have a point cloud loaded you can highlight it and the context sensitive tab on the ribbon will display for the point cloud.


The ribbon tab allows you control how the point cloud is display along with a few other tools to work with the point cloud. The Point Display control will allow you to control the number of points (density) displayed. Move the slider to increase/decease the amount of points. The Filter Point Cloud control allows you to filter the point cloud based on the data assigned to the points or by spatial (location on your map). Note: Not all LiDAR files will have data assigned to it. The Style panel of the tab will allow you to set the style of the point cloud based on the classification, elevation, Intensity or RGB assigned to the points. The create panel will allow you to create a surface from the point cloud. You have two formats for the surface file, GeoTiff or ESRI ASC. The Export panel will allow you to export the point cloud to SDF format to be used later in the map or as an ASCII (text) format or even to a LAS format. Exporting it to ASCII will only export the XYZ of the points it will not export any other data and exporting to SDF will create a LARGE SDF file, so beware.

Along with the advantage pack there is some sample files (las) and tutorials on the subscription site that you can also download that provides some assistance on using the new feature.

The AutoCAD Subscription Advantage Pack

There is also an Subscription Advantage Pack for standard AutoCAD as well that can also be ran with Map3D. This advantage pack contains some useful tools for standard AutoCAD objects that for once the Map3D product team has not forgotten about the AutoCAD Map3D users that still use Map3D as AutoCAD or that we still use drawing objects in our maps.

Once installed it adds a new ribbon tab to the ribbon labeled Subscription.


The first panel of the tab allows you to isolate objects and unisolate them. The next panel will allow you to select an object then create another object of the same type. The Select panel has the much needed and wished for Select Similar command. It does have a settings options allow you to filter the selection.


The last panel contains the Draw Order tools for setting the draw order for annotations and hatches. Keep in mind these are the standard AutoCAD objects, they do not work with Map3D annotations or the feature labels and hatches. Oh yes, if you are an old school user and have not embraced the ribbon interface yet, there is a toolbar for these as well, the AutoCAD SAP for the AutoCAD Map3D SAP you need to create your own toolbar or use the ribbon. 

Surface Creation Tools – 2010 Version

For those users that used the survey extension in AutoCAD MAP3D 2009 and were using the Surface Creation tool you might of been a little disappointed with 2010 version lack of that tool. The rest of the survey tools were incorporated into the Survey Tab on the map task pane but the surface tool was left out.

Well not to worry Autodesk heard us complaining and did something about it. Actually back in the beta stages the complains and question about the surface tool where first brought up to the Map3D team. Although it was too late to get in the release versions Autodesk Map3D team has the solution.

Up on your subscription site under the product download section there is the 2010 version of the Surface Creation Extension, both a 32bit and a 64 bit version. Download and install and you will have the same tool that was in the 2009 version with one little missing function. The missing function is the export the points to drawing points, which you can now use the (map) import tools to accomplish that.

If you had not used the 2009 version Survey Extension or the Surface Creation tool you may want to take a look at my post here to get an idea of what it can do.  That’s only one of the task you can use it for, the main function of it was to allow users to import a topo survey in ASCII format and create a Geo-TIFF raster file.

Where is the Standard AutoCAD Ribbon?

One thing that’s is missing from AutoCAD Map3D 2010 is the Ribbon interface for standard AutoCAD functions. Sure we have the Map Classic Workspace still, but do you see the new parametric tools under any of the menus? How about the Constraint tools or the the tools that let you drive the design by the dimensions? Looks like the developers on the Geospatial team forgot that most  Map users or the GIS guy still have to do some drafting now and then.  I remember in my days of being  the “Map” guy at a electric utility co. that once or twice a month I would have to draft up some new piece of equipment or something. Either a concrete pad for a UG transformer or doing simple one line drawings for the substations. The new features in AutoCAD 2010 would of make it a lot easier back then. So why was a quick and easy access to those tools left out of Map3D 2010?  Who knows? To fix it is an easy little task that you can take on. All you need to do is create a new workspace and add the correct ribbon panels to the ribbon. Here’s how I did it. Start by opening up the Customize User Interface, entering CUI on the command line will do that part. Now if you hear all the horror stories about the CUI and workspaces from others rest assure it has improved since it was introduced in 2006.

Now that you have the CUI open go ahead and resize it to where you can see both sides, the left and right panes. In the left pane highlight Workspaces and right click then select New Workspace. Provide a name for the new workspace, I used “Standard AutoCAD 2D” for mine.


Now over on the right pane of the CUI it should be listed under the Workspace Contents. Click on the Customize Workspace button.


Now all we need to do is go back to the left pane and select the Ribbon Tabs we want in the workspace. Expand the Ribbon and Tab tree then start checking the tabs to place on the ribbon, as you check them on the left pane they will appear in the right pane under your new workspace.


The tabs you choose is up to you the ones I selected are in line with Standard AutoCAD. Once you select the tabs click on the Done button then the apply button at the bottom.


Now you should have all the tools in standard AutoCAD with in quick reach by switching to that workspace. You can also create another workspace for 3D AutoCAD commands if you do 3D designs and rendering.

Map3D 2010 "What’s new?"

The new version is on it’s way to a desk near you. So lets look what is new. First it has all the features of AutoCAD 2010, that includes the new freeform modeling tools and the parametric tools. Using them in a Map/GIS environment is another story but if you want to “design” 3D models you can.

The first thing you may notice is Map3D 2010 is ribbon based with two new workspaces. A tool base ribbon and a task based ribbon.


Now if you have not used the ribbons in any other application or used them in AutoCAD before it takes a little extra work to get used to them over menu driven interfaces. The big change to these in 2010 version is a new context-sensitive ribbon.


With the context-sensitivity ribbons a new tab will display depending on the object(s) you may have selected. It makes it easier with most of the tools/commands right there instead of trying to hunt down the location on the ribbon.

Next item you may notice is the Survey tab on the task pane.


The Survey Extension from 2009 is now part of the task pane and allows you to import survey points from a number of different ASCII point data files and supports LandXML data. You will be able to import points and create different point groups from the data based on the attributes. 

The next new feature is creating an overlay with feature data. Prior to this if we needed to do an overlay it had to be with standard AutoCAD objects then  create a topology, which always took some drawing cleanup to complete a correct topology. Now users can do 7 different types of overlays with data from FDO sources.


With the new overlay feature and the existing buffer feature Map3D users can do just about any type of analysis they need to on a regular day to day operation.

Speaking of day to day operations, the next new feature may be of use. The new Windows Work Flow Framework may be an answer to all those repetitive tasks.


Any one that tried to use the Macro-recorder in 2009 found out that it did not work with FDO features, this not only works on FDO but use the Window Workflow Foundation to include tasks or activities that can be done outside AutoCAD. So far there is little documentation on using it but the nerds that like to get under the hood and tinker should be able to get some nice little activities created with it.

Another new feature is one that a lot of CAD users have been wishing for since the data connect days. A simple way to view the attributes from the connected features with out opening the data tables.  It’s included in the property palette now. That’s right, instead of getting just “Mapbulkfeature” in the property palette when you have a feature selected you get all the attributes with that feature.


Not only is it viewable you can edit the values also. Select multiple features and change the attributes value at one time is now a possible task.

Those are a few of the new features that a lot of users can take to the boss and say it was worth the upgrade. A few others improvements are the bulk copy has been enhanced and improved on, a few new options with the COGO tools, a couple new data providers, a better raster reprojection, support for 64 bit systems and Citrix XenApp 5.0. The last new feature I will post about it the Geographic location tool. In 2009 version you most likely seen the GeoMarker or what some call the “wagon wheel” or “pizza” when you assigned a coordinate system to your map. That is a standard AutoCAD feature the allows non-map users to get a geographical location  from a number of places like Google Earth or just by entering a Lat/Lon, well now we can use that location to insert the drawings into our map with out having to move or scale it. In other words if you get a drawing of a building from an standard AutoCAD user and they provided the geo location in the drawing then when we bring that building into our map it falls right into place instead of at 0,0,0.

It’s on it’s Way

AutoCAD 2010 that is. Yes the next version is just around the corner and should be shipping to customers in two weeks. That means AutoCAD Map3D 2010 should be right around the bend if history repeats itself on past releases. So what in new in Map3D 2010? I can’t say yet but I can tell you what is in Vanilla AutoCAD 2010 and everyone knows that Map3D is built on top on the vanilla favor of AutoCAD. First there has been some 3D modeling improvements or what is called Organic Modeling. If you do a lot of 3D work the new free form modeling is a lot easier to create some nice 3D designs. Ok they may not be of┬ámuch use in Map3D unless you are trying to create a 3D surface for your map but there is also a new feature to set Geometric Constrains. Here’s a link to Lynn Allen’s Blog posting on that. Think of creating lot lines or parcels when looking at that posting or keeping utilities lines parallel to a road center line.

For more on the vanilla new features take a look at Shaan’s posting here. There is even a link to download the preview guide so take a look.

As for AutoCAD Map3D, well you have to wait a little longer to see or read about those but I can bet there will be a few new features in it some of you may like and have been asking for.


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