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Thread: Are Macs compatible with most urban planning software?

  1. #1
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    Are Macs compatible with most urban planning software?

    Salutations!

    As a proud owner of an 2004 ibook and a soon-to-be planing grad student, I was wondering if most (or any) important planning programs had Mac versions or if I was doomed to purchasing another computer.

    Words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by carfree
    Salutations!

    As a proud owner of an 2004 ibook and a soon-to-be planing grad student, I was wondering if most (or any) important planning programs had Mac versions or if I was doomed to purchasing another computer.

    Words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!
    Congratulations on starting grad school, and purchasing a great laptop. If you don't already use ArcGIS, you probably aren't going to start in grad school. But if you have to, you can use Windows emulation software to run it.

    I think a combination of Adobe Illustrator and Avenza is a better solution for mapping for non-GIS users. Is stronger cartographically, but still has GIS import capability.

    Most planners might agree that a word processor, spreadsheet software, and e-mail program are the main planning tools, however, and you've already got them!

  3. #3
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    Much obliged!

  4. #4
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    For anyone else who runs into this question, I'll add that as a current planning student it really depends on the type of classes you want to take. For example, we've been using Haestad's software for water system analysis, Highway Capacity Software (2000) for traffic analysis, and ARCGIS for mapping. None of these will run natively on a Mac. On the other hand, we do have a good computer lab with all of this software loaded, so having our own window's computers isn't necessary.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I'm another Mac guy who will be starting grad school in the fall and hope to do as much GIS work as I can. I know that my school will have ample PCs available with GIS programs, but I'd really like the ability to run in on my own system. How well does something like ArcGIS really run on Mac? Let's say I have a new MacBook or MacBook Pro with Parallels (I don't yet, but might buy one before school). Does it work without being too sluggish or is it something I don't even want to mess with?
    "I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering."
    -Steven Wright

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    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
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    hey kanben - from what i understand, if you get a macbook (wish i held out on buying an ibook 6 months longer... though i love mine!) you can run both GIS and AutoCAD on the windows platform. there are a few of my classmates who have both macbooks and macbook pros and do that... however - BUY A MOUSE! even if you don't use these programs - BUY A MOUSE! i currently don't have one on my ibook and the touchpad gives me ulcers when it comes to formatting tables/graphs within word for my quantitative analysis coursework. then again, you're probably rolling your eyes and laughing at me for saying that.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by supergeek1313 View post
    hey kanben - from what i understand, if you get a macbook (wish i held out on buying an ibook 6 months longer... though i love mine!) you can run both GIS and AutoCAD on the windows platform. there are a few of my classmates who have both macbooks and macbook pros and do that... however - BUY A MOUSE! even if you don't use these programs - BUY A MOUSE! i currently don't have one on my ibook and the touchpad gives me ulcers when it comes to formatting tables/graphs within word for my quantitative analysis coursework. then again, you're probably rolling your eyes and laughing at me for saying that.
    Thank you! Glad to hear this is something that other people do successfully!
    "I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering."
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  8. #8
    I'm afraid all the urban design software we make at Holistic City is being developed for PC.

    I like the Mac OS a lot (that's one of the reasons I put Windows Vista on one computer - despite it's problems!) - but unfortunately in our market we have to focus on PC's first.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Always the MAC workaround

    Great Choice on buying a mac, a far superior machine than your basic pc laptops in my opinion. I wish our design firm had macs instead of pcs, but hey being the technology manager of our planning group has its pluses (i.e. i got the supped up pc). If you are running an intel based mac and want to run windows based designed apps like ArcView and Cad, my advice is to download bootcamp by apple. http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/

    Emulation software can get tedious, and defiantly slow down your mac as you have multiple applications up, especially if your running arcview 9.X and above. This is the best of both worlds, as you can keep your mac and determine at start up whether you want to run windows, or mac. Just make sure you have a windows copy (i recommend XP, but if you want even better performance out of your mac, even downgrade to 2000 professional version if you got a copy).

    Also good advice on getting a mouse, and make sure it has two buttons, not just the singular button like standard macs, you realize it is a life save after a while. Also, i would recommend you have at least 1GB of memory on the mac before you install bootcamp or any emulating software. The optimal memory for doing the dual work is probably 2 GB.

    I used to run ArcView GIS 3.2 and CAD 2003 on my Ibook G3 in college without a hiccup on emulation software and my mac OS was Jaguar and 1 GB of RAM and i did fine with those programs running with word up at the same time and am doing just as fine with CAD 2006 and Bootcamp at home on a MacBook with 1 GB. Good luck

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks, CPSURaf, that's fantastic advice.

    So you're saying that a MacBook is fine? I've been assuming I'd have to shell out the extra grand or whatever it is for the MacBook Pro.

    Also, you suggest Boot Camp as opposed to Parallels? I'm still running an old Powerbook so haven't looked much in to the solutions for the Intel based Macs. I just know another mac geek friend of mine has been so happy with Parallels.
    "I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering."
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Should be fine

    The MacBook should just do fine. As a matter of fact when my wife and i went to go purchase the macbook pro, the only difference between the two is the screen, hard drive size (you can always go with the larger hd on the macbook) and a little device in the MacBook Pro, that allows you to have a digital to digital interface if you are connecting it to a high def widescreen monitor, or so said the guy at the mac store a year ago.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    The MacBook should just do fine. As a matter of fact when my wife and i went to go purchase the macbook pro, the only difference between the two is the screen, hard drive size (you can always go with the larger hd on the macbook) and a little device in the MacBook Pro, that allows you to have a digital to digital interface if you are connecting it to a high def widescreen monitor, or so said the guy at the mac store a year ago.
    Yeah but that aluminum finish on the Pro is so beautiful!!
    "I was trying to daydream but my mind kept wandering."
    -Steven Wright

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Software cost?

    I owned a 2003 iBook through planning school and into current practice. (The fact that it's been serving me well for 4.5 years now is a major Apple plus, imho...)

    In my experience, yes, there's software that doesn't run on my laptop, or that would run terribly slow in emulation. ArcMap is the prime offender. On the other hand, most such software is expensive enough that the price tag would have dissuaded me from a personal copy even if I had a PC. Many of my classmates had the same experience - used their personal Apple laptops for daily classwork and school lab computers for GIS and other crippled/pc-specific software. (I'll note that of the half dozen of us who carted laptops around, none of us were pc owners - Apple to a man.) Every employer I've ever had has provided me with a computer to use at work, so I haven't needed to run specialized PC-only software on my personal computer here, either. (I do use my own laptop to take notes at Commission meetings, but that's the extent of my personal computer's work use.)

    Unless you have a pressing reason to think it's worth it for you to shell out the cash for a copy of specialized software like GIS rather than use the school's copy, I wouldn't include that in your decision.

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    I guess I'll chime in here. I just bought myself a new one of those Black MacBooks stock except with the maxed out 2GB RAM. I have ArcGIS 9.2 and Autodesk Map 3D 2007 installed and they run just as well as on my work computer. I got it for graduate school in the fall, but I have ended up using it for work in the mean time. With the new intel macs, I couldn't imagine why any would buy anything but a mac.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by cashew View post
    I guess I'll chime in here. I just bought myself a new one of those Black MacBooks stock except with the maxed out 2GB RAM. I have ArcGIS 9.2 and Autodesk Map 3D 2007 installed and they run just as well as on my work computer. I got it for graduate school in the fall, but I have ended up using it for work in the mean time. With the new intel macs, I couldn't imagine why any would buy anything but a mac.

    I totally agree with this last post. I am in graduate school, and I haven't had much of a problem with owning a Mac - in fact once you own a Mac you'll likely never go back. It just works. Although I have mid-2005 Apple iBook, it still works just fine. The Intel Mac's the emulation visualization software Parallels is a great solution. I've got Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat 8 professional, Dreamweaver, ArchiCAD and of course Google Earth and Google Sketchup.

    There are also some GIS programs that run natively on the Mac, such as Grass GIS, but it has a learning curve to it.

    Just do a google search string for GIS for Mac and see what comes up!

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