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Thread: Autocad vs. GIS

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Autocad vs. GIS

    Which program is more essential to a planner's knowledge: Autocad or GIS? Which is easier to learn? Thinking about taking a course in one of the two programs but I can't decide which.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Which program is more essential to a planner's knowledge: Autocad or GIS? Which is easier to learn? Thinking about taking a course in one of the two programs but I can't decide which.
    AutoCAD is the premier designer/engineer software. If you will be making site plans or offering alternatives to site plans and wish to have a very precise drawing that is quick and easy to prepare. AutoCAD is the answer.

    GIS is the analysis tool of a planner. It is exceptionally valueable for demonstrating spatial trends, data, etc.

    I'd learn GIS before AutoCAD in a planning and analysis environment and in a design environment, I'd go for AutoCAD.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Well.. It also depends on the type of GIS you want to use... Because for vectorial GIS programs (ArcView) you pretty much need to use Autocad before to do the layers and all, unless you have that beforehand, which is not always possible.

    So look up for what type of GIS programs they teach you to use in your course, if it's ArcView you're going to need basic knowledge of Autocad (unless they also teach you to use it for Arc View), but if it's only Raster GIS programs (like Idrisi) you'll do fine without Autocad.

    And of course, as boiker said, it depends what you want to do with it... if it's just pretty maps, then go for AutoCad, but if you want to do Analysis then GIS is mandatory.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    AutoCAD. Hands down.....

    I just dont believe in the planning profession GIS is necessary. Its used to make maps 9.9 out of 10 times....

    If you do any type of plan reviews too, so easy to do if you have the cad files

  5. #5
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    AutoCAD. Hands down.....
    If you're private sector, sure.

    I just dont believe in the planning profession GIS is necessary. Its used to make maps 9.9 out of 10 times....
    Which is what we in public sector need 99% of the time. We're not designing, we're analyzing zoning, environmental, etc.

    If you do any type of plan reviews too, so easy to do if you have the cad files
    I get them as PDF files from applicants, and I edit them and mark them up without needing to know CAD. Far easier IMHO.

    I went 4+ years without GIS in my current community when I came here from a City that had GIS. You really don't know how much you miss using it until you go for a while without it.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    what i'm saying is GIS is overkill just to make maps.

  7. #7
          jhboyle's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    what i'm saying is GIS is overkill just to make maps.
    sure its overkill to make maps, but a true GIS system does many more things besides 'Making Maps'. Granted, 75% of the average GIS users never tap into these powerful functions. I don't know how many times I've sat down with people in our assessment office and watched them use pen and paper and spend hours doing something that would take 3 clicks of a mouse.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Don't diss the pen. It's keeping them employed.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian chasqui's avatar
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    All depends on the planning you are doing

    If you want to do "planning" in the sense of design then go with the CAD solution - better yet, learn both GIS and CAD. If you want to do "planning" in the sense of policy, go with the GIS - better yet, learn to think in terms of how the GIS analysis works.

    Here's an example for GIS: Council is considering changing its ordinances to restrict where a certain undesirable use can locate. Proposals include the use not being 500 feet from the property boundaries of schools, churches, parks or residential zones/uses. You know (from your planner training) that the city shouldn't "zone out" legal uses. Is there anywhere in the city this use can locate? Do you have the data to do the analysis? What about schools/churches/etc just outside of your jurisdiction?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    what i'm saying is GIS is overkill just to make maps.
    I would agree most of the time. Even the 9.9 out of 10. But that all depende on the theme of the map. Basic zoning exhibit? AutoCAD. Market analysis? GIS. AutoCAD won't do didly for drive time analysis.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    But.....

    The new AutoCad programs are now loaded with GIS functions anyway? AutoCad 2007 being the latest?

    Please.....I beg many of you to consider going to AutoCad....this way ESRI will begin to lower prices for our ArcGIS upgrades
    Skilled Adoxographer

  12. #12
    Suspended Bad Email Address teshadoh's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    The new AutoCad programs are now loaded with GIS functions anyway? AutoCad 2007 being the latest?

    Please.....I beg many of you to consider going to AutoCad....this way ESRI will begin to lower prices for our ArcGIS upgrades
    Then why don't you persuade him to consider MapInfo or even better - Idrisi

  13. #13
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I would personally learn AutoCAD, and use the logic strains it imparts to self teach GIS.

    I taught myself MapINFO, CARIS and a bit of Arc based on a sound working knowledge of AutoCAD. Many of the ideas are transferable. As for making maps, autocad is better than Mapinfo as you have better control over line weights, scales, viewports etc. By using add ins AutoCAD can be as powerful as most GIS programs.

    No experience using autocad for drive times.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I can make my way around ACAD and know MicroStation very well. I've fiddled with MapInfo and ArcGIS. With all programs, I've learned more in a week of tinkering then in a semester of school. If your wanting some sort of certificate to boost your resume, take a class. If your wanting to really learn the program, tackle a project. No better way to learn than getting thrown to wolves. Good Luck!!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I am surprised to see so much response for AutoCAD. I have used GIS in almost every planning activity (mostly land-use related) I have been involved in (public, private and academic) over the past 5 years or so, but have never even seen AutoCAD. I guess it all depends on what you are doing?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  16. #16
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    How'd I manage that?

    I'd guess that the reason why GIS is not used as often is because so many people don't realize the potential the program has... that or they're scared of it.

    For example, the engineeing consulting company where I currently work; on more than one occasion, we've wasted hundereds of hours producing isopachs in AutoCAD/Land Development. This is primarily due to limitations in the standard interpolations included in the package (the operator only knows how to do linear and nearest neighbor interpolations, and I don't believe inverse distance or kriging are supported at all.)

    Given a copy of ArcGIS, my one semester of GIS experience, and the same .dat files from EXCEL, I could have produced the same maps (with higher quality) in... oh 12-16 hours.

    I say that this isn't an either/or question. One SHOULD have basic knowledge of both. Then, as stated earlier, one can choose to spend more time with whichever fits his general job description.
    Last edited by Planderella; 11 Aug 2006 at 9:03 AM. Reason: Consolidated double posts
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    The new AutoCad programs are now loaded with GIS functions anyway? AutoCad 2007 being the latest?

    Please.....I beg many of you to consider going to AutoCad....this way ESRI will begin to lower prices for our ArcGIS upgrades
    ESRI is just over-rated... like Microsoft... people buy their GIS because it's the only one they know...

    There are lots of others... like Erdas, Idrisi, TNT Mips, etc...

    But it all depends on the needs and uses you will give it. Using a GIS to do pretty maps is a waste of time, money and resources. To do pretty maps you can do it much better with AutoCad or a similar program.

    And while maybe the GIS functions you mention in the new AutoCad may be good for some things, but I doubt it can rival a true GIS (at least for true geographical uses...)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Questions, Questions! Please help! Questions about GIS, CAD Urban Design

    Okay so I am at DePaul right now, and I am majoring in Geography with a concentration on Metropolitain Planning and Development. I want to go to Grad school for Urban Planning with an emphasis on Urban Design. Now after doing some research here are some questions I am wondering if they can be answered. Any help would be greatly appreciated it!

    1. Some schools offer seperate Masters. One master is specifically in Urban Planning, and the other Masters is in Urban Design. Let's say I chose Urban Design, how would that affect me in terms of, would I still be an Urban Planner? I ask this because some schools seem to offer Urban Planning with a concentration in Urban Design, and some other schools offer them seperately. What's the deal with that? Are Urban designers something completely different?

    2. I want to learn CAD, and as far as I am aware, it stands for Computer Aided Design. I have a ton of electives to fill but DePaul has something called Computer Applied Design with three courses in it. Is it the same thing as CAD? It seems to me it is. If it is how many courses should I take in it? How many courses are recommended?

    3. When I go for my Master's i will be GIS certifited and depending on your answers from above, possibly CAD certified (if one does get certified for that). Knowing GIS and knowing CAD before grad school, will it shed time off of Grad school? I ask this, because I know most schools only offer a Master's in Urban Planning and not a Bachelor's so I am assuming that most Urban Planners learn GIS in grad school.

    4. How much money on average to Urban Planners, that specifiaclly concentrate in Urban Design make? I don't want an exact number, but it would be nice to now a range, like in the 50's or 60's?

    Thanks all help is much apperciated!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    ArcGIS / ArcMap / ArcWhatever, in all their iterations, piss me off. Why? Because they are buggy buggy buggy and crash crash crash, regardless of what kind of system specs you provide the program to feed on. AutoCAD, on the other hand, is much more stable (though far from perfect itself).

    I avoid GIS because of the software itself.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by njm
    I'd guess that the reason why GIS is not used as often is because so many people don't realize the potential the program has... that or they're scared of it.
    I would love to use it more and more powerfully, unfortunately, my techs only use it to draw maps, and not analyze anything. We also don't have an appropriate dataset to use for analysis.

    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  21. #21
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Well cause i work in strategy here- all i use is GIS. AutoCAD is only used by the engineers, not planners at all.

    I have no idea how to use GIS, even after a course at uni- which is disappointing as it is a powerful tool, im just lucky we have great GIS staff who are interested in what planners do and what we want to produce.

    The last thing i used GIS for was to map our development records in order to look at where development was going within the Council area, over a period of ten years- interesting stuff.

    So i say go GIS (not esri or Mapview they suck) But it seems to me like you planners over there do things a little differently...
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    The new AutoCad programs are now loaded with GIS functions anyway? AutoCad 2007 being the latest?
    Are you referring to the Carlson 2007 software?

    AutoCAD 2006 is the latest. But there are ads in alot of mags for this Carlson 2007 program, which does incorporate alot of GIS type features.

  23. #23
          bluehour's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    Are you referring to the Carlson 2007 software?

    AutoCAD 2006 is the latest. But there are ads in alot of mags for this Carlson 2007 program, which does incorporate alot of GIS type features.
    Nope, we've got AutoCAD 2007 in the office. Trust me. Once you open a file in ACAD 2007 it is not longer usable in any of the previous versions....

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    how about that...i cant see what the difference is between 2006 though? Probably why we didnt buy ?

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    This makes AutoCAD unnecessary for most land development applications:

    http://www.boundlessgis.com

    (see the demo link)

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