With tools for data capture and linking, data labeling, import/export of SHP files, polygon topology creation and analysis, and more, Carlson GIS is an awesome GIS “Swiss Army Knife” for the surveyor or engineer.
The Carlson line of software has 64-bit capabilities, is Windows 7 compatible, and works on AutoCAD® and comes with IntelliCAD built in.
Also included are hundreds of enhancements to basic AutoCAD commands. Part of the Carlson Civil Suite, Carlson GIS runs atop of regular AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop or Civil 3D, as well as legacy versions, plus on IntelliCAD.
Carlson GIS includes commands for processing data attached to drawing entities and commands for drawing cleanup and conversion. Carlson GIS supports three methods for attaching additional data to entities: AutoCAD Map, Carlson GIS links and Carlson note files. Links can be converted between these formats. For example, using the command "Convert GIS Links to AcadMap," you can convert Carlson-style GIS links to classic AutoCAD-style GIS links.
Be aware, however, that the features in the MapPlus menu require Microsoft® Access 95 or Microsoft® Access 97 formats for the "mdb" file. If your Carlson-linked data (developed using the GIS pulldown commands) is in Microsoft® Access 2000 format or later, this conversion from Carlson to AutoCAD links will work, but the linked data will only be viewable using the Map pulldown rather than the MapPlus pulldown options such as View/Edit Data. All entities linked to data can also be converted to ESRI SHP files.
The AutoCAD Map links require one of the following AutoCAD Map versions: R2, R3, R4, R4.5, or R5. The commands for this method are in the Map and MapPlus menu and are available only if you are running AutoCAD Map. The AutoCAD Map drivers support multiple database formats including Microsoft®, Oracle and dBase. When using Map links, you have both the standard AutoCAD commands to work with in addition to the GIS 2009 MapPlus commands. The drawback to Map links is that they require more steps to setup and use.
The Carlson GIS links use Microsoft® Access MDB database files to attach data to drawing entities.
You do not have to have Microsoft® Access installed on your computer to use this method. The commands for the Carlson GIS links are in the GIS pull-down menu. These links are quicker and easier to setup and use compared to the Map links.
Also the Carlson links can be used with Carlson Field which is Carlson Software's AutoCAD-based data collection for total stations and GPS. The Carlson GIS links associate drawing entities to database records by attaching extended entity data (EED) to the entities. These links are self-contained and do not need Link Path Names and database environment setup like Map links require. The link EED contains the template file name (.MDB), the database file name (.MDB), the table name and the record ID. The database file and table names define where the data record is stored and these names are specified by the user when the link is created. The record ID is a unique key number to identify the record in the table. This number is automatically generated.