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CAD and GIS Integration in Planning, Architecture and Engineering

Computer aided design and geographic analysis have earned their place in modern architecture, planning and engineering. These specialized technologies, enable professionals to communicate better through simulations and visualizations of their works and ideas. Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer technology for the design of objects, real or virtual. CAD often involves more than just shapes. As in the manual drafting of technical and engineering drawings, the output of CAD often must convey also symbolic information such as materials, processes, dimensions, and tolerances, according to application-specific conventions. In fact, most CAD users are focused on: productive editing tools, visual clarity, symbology and dimensions.

Geographic information systems (GIS) on the other hand, are computer software and hardware systems that enable users to capture, store, analyze and manage spatially referenced data. GIS users are more focused on data structure and modelling, data consistency, attribution and domains, location, connectivity, analysis and assets. The GIS tools have transformed the way spatial data, relationships and patterns in the world are able to be interactively queried, processed, analyzed, mapped, modelled, visualized, and displayed for an increasingly large range of users, for a multitude of purposes.

However, for optimal use of CAD and GIS applications, proper discipline integration is required. Integration helps professionals throughout a project lifecycle to exchange data and collaborate more efficiently. Professionals design, map, and analyze constantly, from roads and utilities to land development and land ownership. These professionals rely on digital geographic and design data to perform their tasks. Furthermore, data is not static; it moves and evolves, from creation to editing to management. Today, engineering, GIS, surveying, and IT departments are collaborating and sharing geographic and design data more often and more smoothly, and CAD and GIS applications are the backbone for making this change possible.

Prepared by

James Wanyoike


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