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Civil and Esri, A Match Finely and Finally Made

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I’ve always thought of the original BIM (building information modeling) process as being GIS (geographic information system). Basically, they are both representing information about something at a specific location. In the BIM world, that might be information about a beam in a building, while in the GIS world it could be information about a pipe in the ground.

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For quite a while we in the civil engineering community have been using the data produced by GIS professionals, but it’s always been a bit clunky. We can use Map 3D to import or connect to the data, but we haven’t really been able to use it in civil engineering other than as a reference. Well, with the addition of the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS, we now have more opportunities.

Using ArcGIS Online, we can now create an online repository for our data, and we can give access to it to just the people who need it – as Esri puts it, “Share your insights with the world or specific groups.” Even better, it’s quite simple to do:

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  1. Create your project.
  2. Add your data to the project.
  3. Save it.
  4. Share it.

Once it’s shared, you can then access that data elsewhere. In the current version of the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS, we can bring that data into InfraWorks. As you bring the data into InfraWorks, you can tell InfraWorks what that data represents. For instance, that GIS linework – what does it represent? Is it a road? Is it a pipe? Is it a rail line? What exactly is it?

We can use InfraWorks to create infrastructure items from that data, rather than just referencing them as we create them. Once in InfraWorks, the model can be opened in Civil 3D and the data transferred into your design modeling software. Autodesk has referred to this as “resilient infrastructure projects.”

Esri is the global market leader in GIS. Its flagship product, ArcGIS, is the world’s most powerful mapping and spatial analytics software. Along with its apps, ArcGIS combines mapping and location-based data analytics for location intelligence that can be used by organizations of all types and sizes to visualize, analyze and collaborate. Esri refers to its GIS-based problem solving as “The Science of Where.” If you’re not familiar with the products and processes of Esri, or if you’d like a quick refresher, check out the Applied Software blog for “Who is Esri and why do they matter?” and “Beginner’s Guide to ArcGIS and InfraWorks.”

Whether your business focuses on architecture, engineering, construction, or some combination of the three, your idea wheels might be turning right now considering the opportunities to put this powerful technology to work for your firm right away. The industry-trained experts at Applied Software, an Esri Silver Partner, can help. Contact Applied today and request a brief discovery call to learn about the real-world ways the Autodesk-Esri partnership can extend your capabilities and benefit your firm. Visualize, analyze, collaborate, and put that GIS data to work for you.

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