21 September 2021
What is GIS and What Does It Have to Do with You, the CAD User?
Does it matter to you if the building you designed is going to be built on a slope? How do you know if your design will be built in the most optimal space? What about the bridge you’re going to build? Will it be secure where it stands? Do you need a crystal ball to answer these and other possible questions? No, you don’t need a crystal ball exactly, but there is GIS for you to use, and it can be your fortune-teller. So, what is GIS?
If you ever use your GPS to find the nearest Starbucks or the best route to a friend’s house, you are a GIS user. Your GPS device relies heavily on GIS to show you where to go. Probably, the most widely known use of GIS, as a service, includes mapping applications such as Google Maps, for example.
GIS stands for “Geographic Information System.” It’s an organized collection of computer hardware, software and geographic data designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze and display all forms of geographically referenced information. It’s a combination of these elements that bring about data that exists in the form of maps, tables, 3D virtual models, lists or a combination thereof.
Different organizations use GIS for different purposes. For example, an engineering firm could use GIS to get data about the environment before designing a bridge. They would need to know information about the land and water on which the bridge will be built. With this data, engineers can determine such things as what materials will be used to construct the bridge, the optimum foundation depth and how high, above the average water level, the bridge needs to be. Emergency services is another example.
Knowing the “lay of the land” can expedite your CAD designs exponentially.
Dispatchers would use GIS to help them locate the correct personnel and equipment to ensure a prompt response for the emergency at hand. These dispatchers locate and direct police, firefighters, hazardous materials handlers, technical rescue personnel (which use specialized tools and techniques to rescue people from vehicles, confined spaces, and structural collapses) plus emergency medical personnel, such as paramedics, to the scene of an emergency.
Known as the father of GIS, Dr. Roger Tomlinson is the mastermind behind its original development. Dr. Tomlinson was a geographer who had worked for Spartan Air Services, in Canada, in the early 1960’s. During that time, he was chosen to help on a project that included developing a technique or method for finding the best tree location in Kenya. That project resulted in Dr Tomlinson deciding that using computers to aide in retrieving such data was the best route. Of course, the end of the story was the “happily ever after” development of GIS.
There are several industries that use GIS. Environmental services use GIS to get environmental information about land, water and other natural elements. Local governments, along with the transportation industry, use GIS in planning and building highways and other roads. There are more, but these are probably the leading industries that use GIS.
You may already work with this software. If you use Revit, AutoCAD or MicroStation, you could use GIS products that dovetail with your CAD/BIM application. ArcGIS is a free plug-in for AutoCAD users. ArcGIS supports Revit as well. Bentley uses GIS software such as Esri ArcGIS, Intergraph and MapInfo. You can probably surmise that knowing the “lay of the land” can expedite your CAD designs exponentially and save you from endless hours of fixing unwarranted and costly surprises.
In major part because of GIS, no longer do you have to worry about designing a house or office building in an area that has a seasonal flooding that you didn’t know about. You can make sure that the bridges you build will survive unpredictable earthquakes, and so on. Of course, the environmental aspect you look into may not be quite so catastrophic. You and your associates may just want to know other environmental data about the location in which you are planning to build. Whatever you discover, GIS can help you plan accordingly and more swiftly produce the optimum design.
You don’t need a crystal ball exactly, as GIS can be your fortune-teller.
We, at Axiom, believe the CAD user’s time and efforts should be on designing and that anything that makes your job difficult to do should be moved out of your way. That’s what we do. We focus on creating solutions to make using CAD/BIM easier. This is all part and parcel of our purpose, which is “to help CAD and BIM professionals design a better world for themselves, their families, their organizations and the planet, by understanding their needs and providing software that handles repetitive tasks quickly and easily. To remove some of their frustration; to increase their status and job security; to help them meet deadlines; and to get them home on time.”
That's a Wrap
If you need tools that can save you a ton of time so that you can get back to the important stuff, call a Service Consultant at 727-442-7774 to help decide what's right for you. Alternatively, you can visit Axiom on the web. MicroStation tools are here, Revit tools are here and AutoCAD is over here. What will you do with all that free time on your hands?