Monday, January 10, 2011

Subscription Advantage Packs

If you are a subscription member there a new extension you can download. The subscription extensions now called Subscription Advantage Packs (SAP) are available on the subscription site.  The SAP for AutoCAD Map3D 2010 contains tools to use LIDAR or point clouds data. If anyone ever wanted to use large LIDAR files or point clouds you now can with the SAP. So what can you do with this data? Well depending on the data a lot.  First here is how you can start using it.
First on the Display Manager, click on the Tools Icon, select Create Point Cloud Index. The “Index” needs to be created for all new LiDAR (las) files.
When you select to create the point cloud index the Point Cloud Manager palette opens. Here is where you browse to the LiDAR files and add them to a list or you can even group multiple files together.
PointCloud Manager
Once the files are listed in the Point Group Manager highlight the file or group and click on the Generate Index. This creates a file with an ISD extension. You have the option prior to generating the index as to the file location and name by selecting in the output column and browsing to a folder and renaming the file. The default is the same folder and file name as the las file. Generating the index takes a few minutes depending on the file size and number of points in the file. A process indicator is displayed in the the  Point Cloud Manager as it is generated.  Once the index is created you can click the Add to Map button to add the point cloud to your map.  Note you only need to create the index for the las file once, you can use the isd file to load the point cloud in any drawing. Once you created an index of a las file you can reload the point cloud by using the Data icon and selecting Add Point Cloud Date.
Once the point cloud is loaded into the map it is listed as a map layer in the Display Manager.
Once you have a point cloud loaded you can highlight it and the context sensitive tab on the ribbon will display for the point cloud.
The ribbon tab allows you control how the point cloud is display along with a few other tools to work with the point cloud. The Point Display control will allow you to control the number of points (density) displayed. Move the slider to increase/decease the amount of points. The Filter Point Cloud control allows you to filter the point cloud based on the data assigned to the points or by spatial (location on your map). Note: Not all LiDAR files will have data assigned to it. The Style panel of the tab will allow you to set the style of the point cloud based on the classification, elevation, Intensity or RGB assigned to the points. The create panel will allow you to create a surface from the point cloud. You have two formats for the surface file, GeoTiff or ESRI ASC. The Export panel will allow you to export the point cloud to SDF format to be used later in the map or as an ASCII (text) format or even to a LAS format. Exporting it to ASCII will only export the XYZ of the points it will not export any other data and exporting to SDF will create a LARGE SDF file, so beware.
Along with the advantage pack there is some sample files (las) and tutorials on the subscription site that you can also download that provides some assistance on using the new feature.
The AutoCAD Subscription Advantage Pack
There is also an Subscription Advantage Pack for standard AutoCAD as well that can also be ran with Map3D. This advantage pack contains some useful tools for standard AutoCAD objects that for once the Map3D product team has not forgotten about the AutoCAD Map3D users that still use Map3D as AutoCAD or that we still use drawing objects in our maps.
Once installed it adds a new ribbon tab to the ribbon labeled Subscription.
The first panel of the tab allows you to isolate objects and unisolate them. The next panel will allow you to select an object then create another object of the same type. The Select panel has the much needed and wished for Select Similar command. It does have a settings options allow you to filter the selection.
The last panel contains the Draw Order tools for setting the draw order for annotations and hatches. Keep in mind these are the standard AutoCAD objects, they do not work with Map3D annotations or the feature labels and hatches. Oh yes, if you are an old school user and have not embraced the ribbon interface yet, there is a toolbar for these as well, the AutoCAD SAP for the AutoCAD Map3D SAP you need to create your own toolbar or use the ribbon. 

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