Autodesk University 2002; Autodesk and GIS; Celebrate National Surveyors Week; “New ACSM” Decision To Come This Spring—With Your Vote; and Lewis and Clark for Students.

Autodesk University 2002

In its 20th year, Autodesk Inc. (San Rafael, Calif.) made no small efforts to celebrate its position as the world’s leading design software and digital content company. During Dec. 3-6, 2002, Autodesk University (AU) took to Las Vegas, Nev., to hold its 10th annual conference. A recorded 2,150 attendees and 200 exhibitors gathered at AU, a large attendance for a trade show, considering the dramatic downsizing trade shows are experiencing these days.

To begin the Main Stage Presentations, a mirage of Autodesk signs and logos whispered across different design-build projects. Focusing on the aid of Autodesk products and services that built various elements of Las Vegas, the presentation included testimony from various engineers on their digital success and their easy integration of data between members of a project team using Autodesk products. Cost-effectiveness through 3D files and easier handling, sharing and packaging were also highlighted. The “bigger, better, faster” concept was the underlying message as was the concept of project collaboration.

In the Main Stage Presentations, Lynn Allen, Autodesk’s technical evangelist (her actual title), energetically stressed Autodesk’s leading role in the design data industry, calling this year “A Perfect 10.” Allen illustrated the improvements the company, the industry and technology have made over the years, mocking the old days of four-diskette AutoCAD by saying that CAD stood for Control-Alt-Delete. Today, Allen said, Autodesk is on the forefront of everything design data thanks to its chairman Carol Bartz, who is forward-thinking, “a visionary about three to four years ahead.”

“If you can’t find it here, I’m convinced you can’t find it anywhere,” Allen said.

Carol Bartz, Autodesk chairman and CEO, announced her 10-year milestone with the company and concentrated her introductory speech on the importance of being in the world of digital data. This is the way to remain competitive, Bartz said, including the streamlining of online collaboration, standards and the end of paper. Digital design data, dubbed D3, was the main catch phrase. It is Carol Bartz’s mantra and it’s becoming reality more and more as the years pass. D3, Bartz said, is “a survivor insurance policy,” but only if used from creation to management to integration to revisions to use—and used now.

“Our customers make everything that God doesn’t,” Bartz said.

Autodesk focuses its product series on all industries, considering the entire lifecycle of a project from surveying and mapping, to civil engineering and engineering, to utilities/GIS and facilities management. From this foundation, Autodesk is working to streamline some of its series, such as its Map series, engineering products and GIS products. The acquisition of CAiCE Software (Tampa, Fla.) will aid in this effort.

Jonathan Mark, GIS manager for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, told his success story in implementing a GIS with Autodesk products. Its result, VanMap, includes information for building efforts, including building height allowances, water barriers, public places and zoning data in great detail. Information is interactive for the public and is more easily accessible by the Internet. This new process improves public cooperation and interaction. Mark said the city wants “to take GIS to a place where it’s just another icon on the desktop, like Word or Excel.”

These are the success stories Autodesk strives for, and it recognizes what will help its customers: decreased costs, increased innovation and shorter time to market. Products should reduce cycle time for critical work processes while maintaining data confidence and security. Toward this effort, Autodesk gathered “wish lists” from its AU attendees. No specific promises were made as to exact release dates, but customers from every segment were told to expect dramatic and efficient improvements to their products in the very near future.

Autodesk and GIS

Autodesk’s efforts to hit the GIS community have been strong in recent months. The company held a GIS Exposition Road Show in 10 North American cities in September and October of 2002, highlighting its new versions of Autodesk Civil Series, Map Series and the all-new OnSite 7, which includes LandXML 1.0 (more detail about these releases can be found in the November New and Notable section of POB or online at Autodesk’s website, The Autodesk GIS Exposition 2002 was the first of its kind and an attempt for attendees to experience Autodesk’s newest integrated GIS workflow solutions and to meet with Autodesk’s strategic developer partners, data providers and local resellers. Autodesk University 2002 was the first year to include the GIS conference and it did it with style; it hosted a special GIS section with a beach/tropical theme.

The recent announcement of Larry Diamond’s retirement moves Rick Mascitti, current senior director of engineering for GIS, to the position of interim vice president of GIS solutions. Mascitti worked closely with Diamond since he became vice president of the GIS division and will continue to execute on the strategic and technical direction that Diamond set.

“New ACSM” Decision To Come This Spring—With Your Vote

During the Fall 2002 ACSM/NSPS meeting in October, The ACSM board, in conjunction with the other Member Organization boards, decided that the ballot containing the proposed Constitution and By-Law changes that would create the “New ACSM” will be sent to the membership in April 2003 after the spring meeting in Phoenix to give members ample time to fully review and comment on the proposed structure. To assist the members with this, NSPS officers, area directors and governors were asked to meet with the members they represent and with the state society leaders for the state(s) they represent to explain the plan. The bulk of these meetings will be held during the state society annual meetings, most of which will occur between now and April. The committees that have been developing the actual mechanics of the plan’s structure will soon have updated versions of their work posted on the ACSM website, As updates are developed based on feedback, they will be also be posted on the ACSM website. The current Constitution and By-Laws will also be posted on the ACSM website so that members can easily compare them to the “New ACSM.”

The team from the University of Akron, winners of the roman-themed 2002 NSPS Student Surveying competition.

Lewis and Clark for Students

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) began sponsoring a surveying student team competition at its annual spring conference in April 2002 in Washington, D.C.

This year’s competition, to be held at the March/April meeting in Phoenix (in conjunction with the ACSM-APLS conference), is based on the celestial observation and mapping done by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their expedition. Lewis and Clark used compass, sextant and two-pole chain to do their surveying. Celestial observations were made at principle points along the route, most notably at the mouth of various rivers. They also laid out a base line for mapping at the mouth of the Columbia River while at Station Camp.

Teams of three to six students from two- or four-year surveying programs will be judged on a research paper that focuses on the actual surveying and mapping performed by Lewis and Clark; the acquiring and demonstrating of the surveying tools and methods used on the Lewis and Clark Expedition; an observation for latitude using a sextant; and a base line that is to be laid out using the basic surveying equipment that Lewis and Clark had. From this a simple sketch a map of predetermined points will be drawn. Points will be given for authenticity of equipment acquired or reproduced, and for speed and accuracy in the use of the equipment in the demonstration.

A separate award will be given for authenticity of clothing and gear that best portrays the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

If you are interested in entering this year’s contest, contact Pat Canfield at, but you’ll need to hit the books now! The deadline to enter a project into the contest is Feb. 28, 2003. Seven copies of the original research paper must be turned in with the team application to compete at the 2003 ACSM conference.

Celebrate National Surveyors Week

Don’t forget Surveyor’s Week 2003 is Feb. 17-23, 2003. Celebrate and market the profession this week. Congratulate yourself on a job well done and for setting a good example. Get out there and talk to folks about the job you love to do. Have short talks in your local schools or your child’s class(es). Hand out balloons or candy, put out a sign, buy the crew a pizza—anything to get the word out there that this is your week! And be sure to recognize all the great surveyors you are able to call your colleagues. Happy Surveyors Week!