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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

TopCon offers ScanMaster CAD Link interactive link with AutoCAD

 
February 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith

At AU I spoke with TopCon Positioning Systems (TPS)’ Brad Burgess, North American sales manager for scanning products, about the ScanMaster CAD Link which they were demonstrating at the show. CAD Link provides users with an interactive link between ScanMaster and AutoCAD and enables them to efficiently extract and draw objects.

The ScanMaster CAD Link makes editing point cloud data collected by the GLS-1500 scanner through the drawing operation via AutoCAD very smooth and efficient.

The main functions of CAD Link for ScanMaster are as follows:
— Synchronize views between ScanMaster and AutoCAD.
— Send coordinates, distances by picking scans data.
— Send ortho-images as background images of AutoCAD screen.
— Synchronizing UCS (User Coordinate System).

CAD Link had been released several weeks before the show. TopCon is active in various industry segments, and very busy in the heavy construction and machine control industries. The scanning product division covers a couple of vertical markets.

Where once before TopCon was known more as a traditional hardware manufacturer, now they are very involved on the office side. There has always been some software packaged with TopCon hardware.

“It’s a necessity today because once you collect the data it’s got to be processed in some manner so it can be consumed in the traditional design packages like Autodesk and MicroStation, and Carlson,” said Burgess. “You don’t have a solution unless you can move your data off your hardware platform and into your customers’ CAD platform.”

In the past 10-20 years or more, there has always been a multi-step process to move data. There were always a number of hoops to jump through to get that done. “What is different about this is a customer that’s using our scanning technology in conjunction with our ScanMaster software, doesn’t have to export a certain file format and then import that back with the CAD Link data. With the link created, as you’re working in ScanMaster software extracting features, those features are automatically and simultaneously populated in the AutoCAD environment.  So there is no import/exporting, it’s just happening in real time.”

By creating this link you’ve really streamlined a couple of keystrokes and there is no glitch of having to have compatible versions, it’s a seamless workflow.

CAD Link provides a link between the two worlds of data production and design. “Even if you went to a surveying engineering company you might find surveyors in the basement and the designers are on the second or third floor,” Burgess pointed out. “Now we truly have a product that links these communities together with one piece of software.”

Construction seems to be leading the adoption of many of these tools because they can take the work into the field more easily. “Construction companies by necessity must make better decisions faster,” said Burgess. They are creating positions with the title of “virtual design and construction manager.” “BIM and design build are taking hold and the construction companies are buying the technology. If you’re a tradesmen, a plumber, you need to have your designs in 3D and submit maybe to a website collaboration portal.”

Construction companies are also adopting products like Civil 3D or Revit Structure and mandating their use so that everyone is compatible. Point cloud data allows the construction company to capture as-built data and then compare it to the original design model. Within minutes they can tell if the verticality of the steel is off and stop what they’re doing. All of these things bode well for continued adoption of point cloud data, with something like CAD Link, according to Burgess.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, engineering, infrastructure, integrated project delivery

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