New Civil Tools: What's the Plan?

As you will all know by now, we released our Civil V8i Select Series 1 products on Feb 4.  In the Civil Enhancements arena there are some significant new toolsets and a few changes. 

I will explain these new and changed items in a seperate post and we will also be adding some more detailed posts to explain some of the finer points of new tools.  But first, let me take a moment to explain a little about how these tools fit into the larger workflow and the MX, InRoads and GEOPAK applications.

First Question: Are these new tools replacements for the equivelent MX, InRoads, GEOPAK tools?  Well, yes and no.  Let me explain.  We made a committement years ago, that as we develop our newer more modern tools (back then they were called next generation)  we would not abandon our older tools and force you to suddenly start over.  We have honored that committement by developing the new tools alongside the older tools and you can choose which best fits your needs or maybe a mixture of old and new.  So we can't (and don't) say that the new Geometry tools (for example) are a replacement for your existing COGO tools because you can still use the older tools, or you can use the newer tools.  It is our intention that the new tools will be good enough that you will want to migrate but the key point is "You get to choose when (or if) you want to switch"

Next, these new Civil Enhancements are included in all our Civil products (MX, InRoads and GEOPAK) and function identically in all three except for points where slight differences are required for campatibility with the native application.  For example, GEOPAK users will continue to use their DDB file for features and InRoads users will continue to use XIN file so there are some slight differences to accommodate this.

What has happened up to now:

  • Roundabouts tools were released as an add-on for our XM version products.  This was our first glimpse into to heads-up display, DGN data store and other characteristics of the new toolsets.
  • In our V8i products we added Civil Accudraw and Civil GPS as value added tools for our civil users.
  • Also in V8i, Civil Accudraw, Roundabouts and Civil GPS are an integral part of the installation for all three civil products.
  • In V8i Select Series 1, we add the Data Acquisition toolset and new Horizontal Geometry tools and again everything is in a single install. 

Finally, perhaps the most obvious question for you is "How can I use these tools today in my workflow?"

  1. First of all, your investment in feature tables (SMD, DDB, PSS and XIN) is preserved. You continue to use these files in their current form to control symbology and annotation.  No need to reproduce this information in a new file format.
  2. For Data Acquistion:
    1. You can use the tools to process survey raw data, DEM files, LIDAR files, various terrain model formats and more.  This step is effectively an alternative to the portions of GEOPAK Survey and InRoads Survey which process these data types.
    2. Once your map and surfaces are complete then export to MX, InRoads or GEOPAK to continue the design process or make use of the plans production type tools in those products.
  3. For Geometry (Roundabouts and Civil Accudraw are part of Geometry)
    1. Construct horizontal layouts such as roundabouts, alignments, pavements, parking, etc. using the new Geometry tools.
    2. Based on the features used (XIN, DDB or PSS items) these geometric elements can be automatically written into GPK, ALG or FIL. 
    3. Then you can use the MX, InRoads or GEOPAK geometry tools to produce profiles and continue the design process.