3D parametric modelling for GIS/CAD users

Evans & Sutherland has disclosed that version 2.2 of its RAPIDsite software for civil engineers will ship in August.

Evans & Sutherland has disclosed that version 2.2 of its RAPIDsite software introduces new features aimed at GIS/CAD users, such as the ability to use ESRI ArcView shapefiles and AutoCAD DWG files to automatically generate parametric 3D feature models and place them in a dynamic 3D site visualisation.

In addition to new parametric feature modelling capabilities, version 2.2 also offers texture management enhancements, support for ArcView projects containing multiple shapefiles, and the ability to generate 360-degree digital panoramic images along with video fly-throughs and walk-throughs for use on Web sites and other marketing materials.

Like other terrain visualisation software products, RAPIDsite generates 3D terrain models and then drapes them with aerial photos. In addition, RAPIDsite integrates both existing and proposed grading into terrain models and can also display CAD or GIS site plans as vector overlays on the textured terrain surface.

What is more, RAPIDsite allows the creation of ground features based on the GIS or CAD site plan. Terrain surface areas defined by vectors in the site plan are filled with user-selectable photo-realistic textures from RAPIDsite’s texture library, resulting in a spatial resolution as fine as a few inches.

RAPIDsite provides a wide range of methods for populating the textured terrain model with 3D objects – library models, parametric modelling, and custom modelling. In addition, users may import models from other RAPIDsite projects or VRML models.

Feature placement with RAPIDsite is WYSIWYG. The user positions the cursor on the terrain surface – in either the 2D or 3D window – and clicks the mouse. The object instantly appears at that location and conforms to the terrain surface instead of to a mean sea level datum typically far below the ground.

Once placed in the scene, a 3D model may be selected with a mouse click and interactively manipulated or edited. Each model can be copied and pasted, moved anywhere in three dimensions, rotated in any direction, scaled, mirrored, replaced with another model, or deleted. All the manipulations are interactive, instantaneous, and simultaneously visible in both the 2D and 3D windows.

The software will ship in August.