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Computer software every planning department should have

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,133
Points
63
I'm taking an inventory of computer software in the department; what we have, and what we need. So far, the list of "must have" software looks like this:

* ESRI products - ArcView, ArcInfo
* Microsoft Office suite
* Any desktop publishing program - Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher
* Any photo editing program
* Text recognition software for scanners
* Adobe Acrobat - the full package, not just the reader

Does anybody have any suggestions about what could be added?
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
I would add software that acts like a fax machine and recieves faxes digitally. You can then e-mail the fax to numerous people and store them on your hard drive. I worked at a consulting firm that used this software and it is great.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
File compression software, such as WinZip. A necessity still, since not everyone has broadband internet access.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Dan said:
* Any desktop publishing program - Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher
Working with multiple consultants providing us with finished products in many varying file types, we have found over the years its best to have 1 of each major title.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Hey Dan, what sector are you in again, public or private?
-If your in the private sector, Synchro Traffic Simulation or Synchro Sim Traffic (Same thing I just wasn't sure of the order) is a good tool for showing potential traffic impacts for a new development (it is animated, the public loves that) or if your going to be widening roads or narrowing them, or if you need to add signals to problem intersections. The new version is pretty good (Synchro 6) and they've added traffic circle and round about options. You can get the traffic volumes and turning movement counts and/or peak hour factors/heavy vehicle percentages from the MPO of your region or the DOT.
-If your in the public sector well, you can always ask the MPO for maps and data of an area under review (usually they'll have a traffic simulation program).
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,901
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38
Web development software is also probably a good idea to have available, for those that aren't old-school and use notepad for HTML editing.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
NHPlanner said:
Web development software is also probably a good idea to have available, for those that aren't old-school and use notepad for HTML editing.
True. In addition to FrontPage (trash), we have Firestarter and Dreamweaver. Both are pretty good.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,133
Points
63
I was going to create a new departmental Web site using an open-source CMS, like one of the Nuke variants. There would be a steeper learning curve, but it beats buying ten licenses for a client-based Web aithoring program.
 

The Irish One

Member
Messages
2,267
Points
25
SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) used shockwave for an interesting satellite image project done to show the growth of San Diego from 1982-2000. Very cool project. I like the website in general. It has lots of useful regional info on all planning related info for San Diego.

The Shockwave application is heavy on virtual memory and not a very good download in general -takes too much time. But it's a good visual for seeing the growth that has taken place.

http://www.sandag.cog.ca.us/index.asp?projectid=1&fuseaction=projects.detail
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
OhioPlanner said:
RealPlayer
Good lord no! RealOne has to be the most irritating app. ever. Banished from all systems at our office (private sector.) If you don't use AutoCAD, Voloview is nice to still be able to open drawing files that weren't *.pdf'd. We also use ACDsystems picture viewer on a few systems for our huge library of digital images.
 

GIS Guy

Member
Messages
19
Points
1
Video Editor & 3D GIS too!

Hey, I use Front Page. OK, it's Microsoft, but it's fast and easy for those projects that require something fast and easy to get out the door, IMHO. I also use dreamweaver MX as well as my own and other commercial online website development tools.

You need a Video Editor, and possibly a motion screen capture tool like Camtasia; and "Snagit" is a great still screen capture tool also: http:\www.techsmith.com

I use video to deliver presentations to those who may not have time for a live one (like your elected officials & planning commissioners). If you have a fast connection, for an example, check out:

http://urbansim.net/video/lewis.wmv

It's includes a bit of commentary, short powerpoint presentation, and then a 3D GIS fly through.

Oh, 3D GIS simulation software (used for the video above) would be a necessity also. I used an ArcView 3.2 extension called sitebuilder3D by http:\\www.multigen.com.

BTW, I gave members hands on workshops at the 2002 & 2003 National APA conference where we took generic GIS data and built this kind of "real-time" 3D GIS simulation in about 2 hours, all in ArcView! Yes, it's is available for ArcGIS version 8.

Let the INFOTECH Division (or me) know if you would like to see more of these hands on workshops or CD training.

Mike Gritz
 
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jestes

Cyburbian
Messages
230
Points
9
Filemaker Pro - Database Management Software. Filemaker is much more usable than access and data can be exported to .dbf. I have created dozens of frequently used databases with this program.
 
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