I have taken the time to review this interesting application, which I am sure will interest many users of CAD technologies, who aspire to work with GIS data, such as the case of files shp, kml, gpx, connect to databases or services wfs .
Is Spatial Manager, a development that comes in two versions: One for desktop, which has its own CAD-GIS functionalities, and another as a plugin for AutoCAD, which is available for versions from AutoCAD 2008 to AutoCAD 2015.
We are aware that today there are many tools on the market, both free and proprietary, so to make new solutions requires a careful work of the gaps left by the major software manufacturers and the common routines of users. After downloading the tool and trying different data sources, I believe that its capabilities answer questions from professionals in the area of geoengineering such as:
Is it possible to connect AutoCAD with PostGIS?
How do I modify a KML file from a CAD?
Can you call a WFS service from AutoCAD?
How to convert data from Open Street Map to ESRI Shape file?
1. Spatial Manager for desktop.
The desktop tool makes routines for visualization, reprojection, editing, printing and export of spatial data. This does not require AutoCAD, because it runs independently on Windows.
Supported spatial formats
While Spatial Manager for Desktop looks simple, its GIS / CAD data management capability goes beyond what I was expecting at first:
- Reads data from almost 20 spatial sources, as shown in the table to the right.
- You can edit vector and tabular data from SHP, KML / KMZ files in Google Earth.
- You can read and edit text files as ASCII text, such is the case and coordinate lists in CSV format.
- Vía OGR can edit DGN data from Microstation V7, as well as DXF, TAB / MIF from Mapinfo. As E00 reading of ArcInfo, GeoJSON and WFS.
- As for spatial databases, you can edit PostGIS, SQLite, and SQL Server directly.
- You can read from ODBC (not edit) other database sources.
- Via FDO you can edit data from AutoDesk SDF, read Web Feature Services (WFS) and MySQL.
- You can also read GPS exchange standard data (GPX)
Transformation of Coordinates
To call a source only the format must be selected, and the assistant leads to decisions such as the name of the target layer, data that will come as query, color, transparency and whether the polygons will be maintained or arc-node type data will be generated. Over time you will find very practical features, such as scheduled tasks and drag / drop from the Windows Explorer.
It is also possible to indicate the projection and reference system that the initial layer has, and request that it be transformed to another one; very practical in case we have data from different sources and we hope to visualize in the same projection. It supports many reference systems, which can be filtered and sorted by name, region (area / country), by code, by type (projected / geographical).
Functions CAD - GIS
It really is a powerful tool, once the data is displayed you can easily modify the display properties, separate layers by attributes, change order and the best: call background image or maps Bing, MapQuest, or others.
Some of the functionalities are not seen, unless they are required, since they are contextual. As an example, see that selecting a record activates selection options, such as deleting, zooming to the data, inverting selection or creating a layer with the selected results.
There are some other functionalities, which in this article I do not explain in detail, such as printout of deployment maps or selected attributes, which is quite intuitive.
Export to other formats
The vector data once identified in the data source panel, can be exported to the following 16 formats: SHP, KML, KMZ, ASC, CSV, NEZ, TXT, XYZ, UPT, DB, SQLITE, SDF, DGN, DXF , TAB and MIF.
Note that this export would bring routines commonly used, but now not any application does, such as open Open Street Maps (OSM) data and export them to DXF or SHP.
Saving routines as tasks
Spatial Manager is not a complete GIS tool, as other solutions are, but a complement for data management. However, it has features that any GIS user would expect to use for its practicality. An example is the functionality known as Tasks, in which you can save a routine to call it again at another time, for example:
I want to save a data layer called parks.shp, as a KML format, and that layer is initially in CRS NAD 27 / California Zone I, and I hope it transforms to WGS84, which is what Google Earth uses. Additionally, use the NAME data as a name and PROPERTY as a description, a blue fill color and edge yellow, 1 pixel width and 70% transparency. With altitude hunted on the surface and in a specific Dropbox folder.
When I run it for the first time, it asks me if I want to store it as a Task, to execute it at any time, even from the command window of the Operating System.
If you save it as Task, when you consult it you will have the following descriptive data:
Click 'Execute' to execute the following options:
- File: Shortcuts: \ Sample data \ SHP \ Parks.shp
- File: C: \ Users \ galvarez.PATH-II \ Downloads \ Parks.kml
- The target table will be overwritten if necessary
- It will transform the coordinates of the source with the following parameters:
- Source CRS: NAD27 / California zone I
- Target CRS: WGS 84
- Operation: NAD27 to WGS 84 (6)
Saving routes and Project
You can define shortcut routes, known as Shortcuts, similar to what ArcCatalog does, by identifying a data source that will be consulted very frequently. The file can also be saved with an .SPM extension, saving all the configurations as a QGIS project or ArcMap MXD would.
Licenses and Prices of Spatial Manager Desktop
It can download trial versions of Spatial Manager. There are three editions of this tool: Basic, Standard and Professional, with scalable functionalities, as shown in the following table:
2. Spatial Manager for AutoCAD.
This plugin is ideal for adding spatial capabilities to the basic versions of AutoCAD, but also works on Civil3D, Map3D and Architecture.
In this case, I have tried it using AutoCAD 2015, and once installed a tab appears on the Ribbon with some features. Of course, not all of the Desktop versions come, because AutoCAD has its own commands for it.
In case of creating a data source, only right-click on "User data sources"And select"New data source" Then choose the type of source, which are the same options as in the desktop version.
We know that some of this is possible from AutoCAD Map and Civil 3D via OGR, however when reviewing everything that makes Spatial Manager we realize that the creators of this application have thoughtfully dedicated to all the features that AutoCAD users They can not do it in a practical way. Aspects such as calling a PostGIS layer, to give an example, or a WFS service published from a GeoServer layer that shows an Oracle Spatial data warehouse.
To see the functionality of Spatial Manager in AutoCAD, we have made this video with examples of our interest.
In the video initially called a local shp layer, with the country limit, then one with the municipalities limit. Later, a connection to WFS services is made and finally a layer of Microstation DGN file parcels in arc-node form.
It can be indicated that the points are coming as blocks of AutoCAD, inclusive that different blocks are used based on a characteristic of the data. Also establish if they will come as polylines, 2D polylines or 3D polylines.
Then, if you indicate that you import the attributes as embedded XML data, they will come as Objects Extended Entity Data (EED). This part is very similar to what Bentley Map does, to import data with inlays in the DGN as extensible XFM data.
Spatial Manager Licenses for AutoCAD
There are two versions of Licenses, in this case a call Basic Edition and a second Standard Edition, which are almost the same, according to the following list of functionalities:
- Import spatial data into AutoCAD drawings
- Transformation of coordinates in the import
- Embedded data viewer panel (EED / XDATA). This functionality is only in the Standard version.
- Objects are imported to a new or existing drawing
- Objects can come to a target layer based on a data value
- Use of blocks or centroids
- Insertion of block based on tabular data
- Fill and transparency of polygons
- Poly centroids if necessary
- Elevation and thickness from tabular data
- Import data from tables like EED. This functionality is only in the Standard version.
- Handling shortcuts
- Access to spatial data (SHP, GPX, KML, OSM, etc.)
- Management of own data sources. This functionality is only in the Standard version.
- Access to spatial databases. This functionality is only in the Standard version.
- Access to other connections (WFS, ODBC, etc.). This functionality is only in the Standard version.
Price of Spatial Manager for AutoCAD
The Basic Edition has a price of US $ 99 and the Standard Edition US $ 179
Both tools are interesting solutions. Spatial Manager for Desktop is very valuable, since the functions of transformation, editing, export and data analysis live up to its name. Although as I have mentioned, it is a complementary and intermediate instrument between the routines that are made with a CAD and the exploitation of information that is done from a GIS software.
The second seems to me to grow a bit more as I get more feedback from users; For now complements what AutoCAD can not do.
Considering the prices, it does not look bad the investment, if we take into account the benefit that can bring.
For a list of prices, see this page. http://www.spatialmanager.com/prices/