Wednesday, 3 June 2009

UrbanDiary Data in Autodesk Map 3D


CASA has recently been awarded “Centre of Excellence“ by Autodesk, and they provide their software packages. The software no is available in CASA and a few projects are taking shape on them. See a recent post by digitalUrban on the latest project using LandXplorer to map aerial images onto a 3d Lidar London model.
An other software of the Autodesk package is the Map 3D, a sort of AutoCAD GIS. On their website it is described as ”AutoCAD® Map 3D software enables engineers, planners, mapping technicians, surveyors, and GIS professionals to directly access, edit, visualize, and analyze a broad variety of CAD and spatial data in a familiar AutoCAD® software environment.“
With the experience from the previous mapping of the UrbanDiary data, this product looked as if it would be worth having a look at. The initial came from a link I came a cross on the web while searching for something related to a csv file. On map3d.wordpress.com I cam ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ a blog post on how to import a csv file into Map 3D and as the UrbanDiary data was available in csv I thought I just give it a go.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

map3D_01.14mW0E6WMcAR.jpgmap3D_02.XHiM0El985JJ.jpg
Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D

map3D.dgJfTT76jtso.jpg
Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - attribute box

It is actually straightforward once I figured out that the data formats in the csv file have to be set to number rather than text. Anyway, the data can be linked in via the OCDB data base link. This will include all the attributes from the csv table.
So far so good the data is there and can be used. With the help of the attribute table, changes in the visualization are simple. The rule builder is easy to use and produces good results, including an automatically generated key

Map3d_04.LSI7Qbo2lg4i.jpg
Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - generated key

map3D_06.5L5ca1HtfgLF.jpg
Image by UrbanTick - Screenshots from Map 3D - data displayed per week day including a label

So for not having used the software before I am quite satisfied with the result. Importing the data, sorting it according to the attribute table and apply visualization characteristics depending on features, not bad.
It appears that the program slows down quite quickly. The first run was with a subset o the UrbanDiary data, some 10’000 points and this was fine. Going up to 45’000 points used quite a lot of power and slowed down the machine drastically. Switching from 2D mode into 3D did not really work and it was a struggle to get back without quitting the program.
The next thing was the analyzing functions. Using the buffer worked ok, again on a subset of points, but the machine got slower again. Meaning it was not responding at times and I would get the funny message by Vista ”The program is currently not responding would you like to quit or wait for the program?“ Of course I want to wait for the program and eventually it would come back. The first crash was not far and after the importing some aerial imagery of London to give the points some context I gave up. But only for today, because I was impressed by the program’s user-friendly approach. Compared to other GIS that are very technical, Map 3D was a little bit intuitive to me. I am now telling myself that the performance problems are all down to me not being experienced enough and it will be all better next time.
The next thing to try is eventually to get the GPS data from Map 3D into Autodesk 3D Studio Max for visualization purposes. This would be the software way, people here in CASA are currently working on a programming solution for this.

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