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Thread: Where would I learn CAD software?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Where would I learn CAD software?

    I've never used any kind of CAD software. My undergrad department doesn't offer any courses on it. And to be honest, I'm not even sure what those programs even do...I guess I can infer some things from the acronym, but that's about it.

    Is CAD something I might learn in a MUP program? Would I have to either self-teach it, or find a course to take on it at a college somewhere?

    These programs are mentioned just as often as GIS around here, so I figure I'll have to become familiar with it at some point.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Check around at community colleges. In regular unis CAD instruction is usually offered as part of a design program (Arch, LA) or as part of the course work for civil engineers. Most straight CAD courses I've seen are associated with drafting degrees/diplomas. You can teach yourself but an entry level drafting course will probably help you out quite a bit.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I've worked as a CAD draftsman for 5 years while also having other planning duties. You don't need AutoCAD for an MUP. I had a few drafting studios from high school and college (was an architecture major before switching to a non-design planning degree) and then learned a ton on the job working with landscape architects. Even MUD programs don't get too involved with the program. That is usually more of a requirement for architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering programs (although engineers also learn Microstation).

    Hope this helps-
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  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    CAD really isn't a program that is hard to learn, just hard to master. It is mainly used by Architects and more technical draftsman. See if any colleges have libraries with computers that have it. You would be surprised at how easy it is to learn once you mess around with it a while. Unless you are in a specific job that requires this, in the Planning field this will only really enhance your skill set, not really give you skills you need day to day. If you don't have the ArcInfo skill set yet, I would say get that first.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    I agree that CAD is not necessary for a planner, it is more in the realm of landscape architects and architects.

    But, it is a useful skill to have, especially if you are interested in the design side of planning. CAD drawings can also be used as a basis for sketch-up drawings. Also, there are many older municipal and county maps (such as parcels and zoning) that were done in the "old days" (meaning a few years ago) that were done in CAD. Knowing how to work with CAD can make it easier to convert them to GIS.

    If you want to learn CAD, I would recommend doing so in a design environment rather than an engineering environment. There are special versions of CAD for land design (like AutoCAD Land Desktop) that you would want to know if you were working in a land development or design environment.

    I learned CAD in grad school (AutoCAD 12) and, while having general knowledge of CAD was sometimes useful when discussing projects with CAD technicians, I have never actually used a CAD program since then.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    As a part of a design firm, I utilize CAD pretty much every few days to create base drawings, land use plans, etc. As other as said, CAD is not necessary but yet another tool at your disposal. I had some cad exposure in a few undergrad design studios, but i learned the most with OJT. Being forced to learn, quickly, for the aspect of my job forced my hand. I am glad i did. JimPlans mentioned Land Desktop, but Autodesk makes a more powerful software suite known as Autocad Map. This is a hybrid of GIS/CAD and does a the work of a GIS system, but a more cumbersome pace.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian bocian's avatar
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    CAD is very useful when it comes to design aspects of planning -- a lot of times CAD is used to create maps for master plans, for instance. This said, unless you really feel you need to know CAD, I wouldn't bother since typically CAD technicians take care of CAD-based needs in a given entity --- if anything, I'd rather go with learning how to use TransCAD, particularly if you are interested in transportation planning or want an alternative tool to geocode ( better than ArcView for that purpose).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian bocian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    I agree that CAD is not necessary for a planner, it is more in the realm of landscape architects and architects.

    But, it is a useful skill to have, especially if you are interested in the design side of planning. CAD drawings can also be used as a basis for sketch-up drawings.
    I have tried that and feel CAD is not very compatible with Sketch-up. Imported CAD drawings lack much detail and I'd rather stick with one program or the other.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by bocian View post
    I have tried that and feel CAD is not very compatible with Sketch-up. Imported CAD drawings lack much detail and I'd rather stick with one program or the other.
    It really depends on which rubyscript you use in Sketchup to clean up the dwg and dxf files, or cleaning up the drawing files in AutoCAD prior to importing.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I've worked as a CAD draftsman for 5 years while also having other planning duties. You don't need AutoCAD for an MUP. I had a few drafting studios from high school and college (was an architecture major before switching to a non-design planning degree) and then learned a ton on the job working with landscape architects. Even MUD programs don't get too involved with the program. That is usually more of a requirement for architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering programs (although engineers also learn Microstation).

    Hope this helps-
    I disagree. If you want to be taken seriously by other design disciplines like architects, landscape architects and civil engineers knowing and using Autocad is essential. If you ever want to do design work, Autocad is the only acceptable industry standard. Sketchup is fun, but not widely accepted in the industry.

    There are private schools that have intensive Autocad classes. They are pricey but in a week you can get the essentials learned and be working with basic methods.

    One real plus with Autocad is the precsion it provides. It is a real time program that gives you accurate calculations of areas and distances, assuming you start with good data at the beginning.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    I disagree. If you want to be taken seriously by other design disciplines like architects, landscape architects and civil engineers knowing and using Autocad is essential. If you ever want to do design work, Autocad is the only acceptable industry standard. Sketchup is fun, but not widely accepted in the industry
    I agree, though I think Sketchup saves a lot of time in setting up isometric drawings. The original poster was asking if CAD was necessary for an MUP program in general. I didn't see anything regarding design-heavy programs.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Learning CAD

    I took two semesters at a local college. I would try your local community (2-year) college or even a vocation school. Try contacting the makers of the program to see if they run any local courses.

    I think it's a nice thing to have under your belt - just another tool and skill to set you apart. In my case, it's been the main thing that's kept me employed the last year and a half.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
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