For many municipalities mapping still comes in multiple forms. With
Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Geographic Information System (GIS)
ranking among the highest used, it is safe to say that integration
between the two systems is a huge benefit.
CAD is predominately used for engineering style design drawings that
encompass detailed precision but also has the ability to make simple
maps. Whereas GIS deals more with detailed maps, attributed data and
spatial analysis. Although they both have their strengths, there is
often a time where one application is better suited for the job, or,
they will both be used to make one end product.
For the Engineering Department at the City of Park Ridge, using both
systems to create one useful end product was exactly what they needed to
accomplish the task of creating a sophisticated map from a simple
design drawing. The City Engineer, who is well versed in AutoCAD, was
assigned the duty of creating a “Departure Sight Triangle” study for one
intersection in town. What this study does is calculate the angles at
which an automobile can see oncoming traffic when turning into an
intersection and determines if any objects, such as trees or signs,
impact the driver view. If so, action will be taken to remedy the
situation. Designing all of the detailed line work in AutoCAD was not a
problem but the creation of a better looking map would have to be done
in GIS. Luckily the two applications were set in the same coordinate
system so using the engineer’s design inside of GIS was not a problem.
From there it was as simple as letting the GIS Department leverage their
skills to create a detailed thematic map that could then be shown to
the city council to help their analysis on this sensitive issue.