Direct. Delisle (left) targets survey device directly
from CAD. (Photo by Tom Sawyer for ENR)
Gabriel Delisle stands
beside a Leica Total Station. A laptop PC fitted to its tripod
displays a 3D CAD model. Delisle clicks a point at the top
of a column on screen and the surveying device instantly rotates.
The red tag of its laser nails the top of a column 80 ft away.
Delisle remarks, meaning that users can navigate in a CAD
image to locate features on a structure, or use the laser
to tag points and apply those coordinates to build a CAD model
or drawing in the field. Delisle is a software developer at
fieldDesigner, Inc., the Montreal-based creator of the CAD/total
The software works within AutoCAD
2002 and is sold with it, although it can export data into
other CAD programs as well. Using a library, points can be
related into 3D representations. Three points on a pipe establishes
curvature; two more establishes length, and the software delivers
a 3D pipe to the screen.
"Youre actually surveying
right inside the AutoCAD session," says Michael Frecks,
president of 3D Services and Solutions, an Elkhorn, Neb.-based
surveying and visualization consultant. "Its like
surveying in the virtual world," he says.
Frecks has been using the system,
introduced at the World of Concrete in Las Vegas last month,
in trials for about a year. "I love it," he says.
"I have not seen any other product that can accomplish
"We developed it in our company
to eliminate revisits," says Stéphane Arsenault,
fieldDesigner president. He says his 40-year-old firm was
fed up with converting survey data in the office, only to
have to send crews back out to correct errors and pick up
missing information. He says the system also is great for
checking construction accuracy against models or plans. "If
something is off, you will know it right then," he says.
Frecks adds that the device also is easy to orient. "You
just pick up a few points," he says. "Control point
problems virtually vanish."
The basic package has software,
tripod, dolly and PC rack. The company says it can deliver
many configurations and options, including links to GPS and
wireless hand-held measuring devices.