Drawing classified pipeline networks with drawingAssistant

Oasen drinkwater, a water company manages its pipeline network in DiaGIS, a GIS management system developed by SPIE Technology. In addition to managing the existing network, they make drawings for maintenance or enhancements to the network. The physical work on the network is performed by contractors.

These contractors are obliged to survey the new pipelines and to create an asbuild AutoCAD drawing for the water company. Currently, only the locations of the pipes are returned, not the attribute information such as material, diameter, etc. When processing these revision drawings into the GIS management system, often questions from the engineer to the contractor emerge and it takes relatively much time before the network is up-to-date in the GIS management system.

drawingAssistant userinterface formOasen drinkwater wants to optimize this process and SPIE Technology came to vdPConsulting requesting the development of an AutoCAD plugin; drawingAssistant.

When the plugin is loaded into AutoCAD at first an XML configuration file is processed. This file is created by DiaGIS and contains all objects and their attributes necessary for the contractor to create the asbuild drawings. Then the plugin dynamically creates the user interface form that adapts itself when another object is selected from the list of possible objects. When the corresponding attributes are provided with the correct values, the object can be drawn. The plugin also checks first if all mandatory attributes are filled in.

Often measurements are captured by surveying instruments and the pipes are drawn as “ordinary” AutoCAD polylines in the drawing. The drawingAssistant plugin has, besides the drawing functions, also functionality to classify such a polyline as pipe including the desired attributes.

To exchange data with the GIS management system, the plugin has an export function to GML. DiaGIS has a GML import function which handles the revisions directly. Of course, the engineer has to check the result afterwards, but delivery of the revisions is simplified and the GIS management system is faster up-to-date.

If you want more information about the drawingAssistant plugin, please contact me.

AcClassify Workflow utility ( update )

AcClassify Workflow utilityAt one of the migration projects where I am involved, the source data is managed in AutoCAD Map and there must be a regular update of the data posted into an Oracle Spatial database. From this Oracle database the large scale data is shared with the GIS-department and used for web-applications. To support this migration process I have developed an AcClassify Workflow utility.

The customer – a Dutch province – has stored their large scale basemaps in DWG-files into a very detailed folder structure on a fileserver. For each provincial road there is a sub-folder, with topografie but also other sub-folders with DWG’s for the theme’s like roadsigns and green management etc.

The Workflow utility – a C# application, that runs inside AutoCAD Map – gives in the UI the possibility to select the roadnumber, the option to delete old data from that roadnumber from Oracle and to upload the new data into Oracle using AcClassify.

If this is an update, than de utility will remove the old data from that roadnumber from their respective feature tables ( for roads, water, buildings etc. ) using SQL Delete statements. Next the utility creates the necessary AcClassify config XML-files ( adding roadnumber, Oracle schema-name etc. ). Than the AcClassify process is started using API-functionality.

With this the workprocess, with a lot of manual action, is reduced to a userfriendly AcClassify Workflow utility.

New : there is an update of this utility that starts the AcClassify process using API-functionality

working with Features

In the Feature-concept, data will not be stored as CAD-entities ( a line with a linetype on a layer with a color ), but as classified objects. Features are so called Real World Objects; a combination of geometry and attribute-data, like for example roads, parcels, buildings, cables, pipes etc.etc.

this diagram illustrates the Feature-conceptIn contrast with previous versions of AutoCAD Map, geometies are no longer imported from SDF, Shape-files or Oracle-tables. We work directly on the files and databasetables in their own native format, without translation by import/export. Multiple users can connect to the same data at the same time, that is a big advantage and solves problems due to copies and different versions floating around.

Every layer in Map’s Display Manager refers to a single feature-class. These are not the traditional CAD-layers on the AutoCAD way, but “geospatial” layer, to display features thematically and in the proper display order.

Attribute-data or so called properties are part of the feature-definitions. These properties, together with the geometries stored in the same source, can be viewed and directly edited using the Data Table editor. Because we work with connected data, these modifications are directly commited into the source-data.

These attributes can be used as so called labels on the map. No static text, like in CAD, but dynamic labels, positioned by the software in the correct text height and rotation, fit for the scale in which the map is currently displayed.

AcClassify Enterprise

Classification-faseAcClassify – an AutoCAD Map utility from Autodesk Consulting – developed to leverage expertise around the AutoCAD Map drawing-structure saving this into migration-profiles.

Working with AcClassify distinguish the following fases:

Herewith we define features, how are they represented in the drawing and which specific requirements should they have to become such a feature.
for example the feature “building” consist of lineair objects with the layernamen = “B??_?

Herewith we connect the CAD-properties ( the input ) with the feature-properties in the database ( the output ), optionally “translating” for example colors into diameters.
AcClassify can create the schema-definition of the feature-tables in this fase, or an existing database-schema can be imported.

In this fase the current drawing will be migrated into the database.

There is also a command to migrate a complete folder of equal drawings with the same migration-profile.