Carlson Software and the ODA: a seamless transfer between field and office
Software for mining and land development
Collect, create, control and construct: Carlson Software products support the efficient flow of data in land development and mining projects and are used by professionals in surveying, civil engineering, construction, machine control, mining and agriculture. In fact, Carlson Software is the number one software solution for land surveying and for coal mining engineering in the US.
The Kentucky-based company provides powerful, comprehensive and easy to use features, backed by dedicated customer service. “Our goal is to deliver the most complete suite of office and mobile software solutions ever offered for these industries by a single company,” comments David Carlson, Senior Vice President of Development for Carlson Software. “We have a wide product range; we have always given free technical support and because we encourage customer feedback our annual releases are always full of customer-driven new features.”
When Carlson was founded in 1983, its surveying applications were based on Microsoft® MS-DOS®. The programs were ported to use Autodesk® AutoCAD® in 1989 and ever since Carlson has developed extensively on the AutoCAD platform. As applications and customers were added Carlson became one of the largest independent developers of Autodesk solutions.
Collecting data on the go
Carlson Software now uses the Teigha platform extensively for its own development and for the integration of partner products. For the popular Carlson SurvCE data collection, drawing data was originally transferred between programs and users as .dxf files. However, this method entailed extra time, effort and risk because of the steps involved in importing and exporting in .dxf. “Ultimately, we knew we would want to be able to read and write .dwg and .dgn files on a mobile platform for our data collection program. That is why we chose to work with the ODA. They had the only toolkit that we knew of for mobile access to .dwg and .dgn,” David Carlson explains. The company also uses the Teigha platform for reading and manipulating the custom drawing objects that Autodesk’s Civil 3D package creates.
In 2007 Carlson Software joined the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC), which uses ODA technology for .dwg reading and writing. As a member of the ITC Carlson was able to add IntelliCAD, a robust, CAD platform compatible with .dwg files, to its software application suite and offer that as an alternative to AutoCAD for its applications. Customers therefore have a choice of two CAD engines when purchasing Carlson software. "The decision to participate in the ITC and port our applications to IntelliCAD was a very natural evolution for Carlson as it was consistent with our mission to provide independent, non-proprietary single-source solutions with the greatest degree of value to our customers," says David Carlson.
As a result of joining the ITC, the Carlson 2009 product line was able to support both the AutoCAD and IntelliCAD platforms with a single set of source code and this gives customers more flexibility. IntelliCAD's support for .dwg files, along with a similar user-interface and programming interfaces made porting the existing source code very straightforward. It took less than six months to complete the port of over 2 million lines of C++ source code and approximately 500 LISP routines
Creating a powerful advantage
According to David Carlson the ODA is critical to the success of the company. “It is at the core of our technology both in the field and in the office. The ODA is the best in the business at what it does. Membership of the ODA is extremely important to us. The Teigha platform enables us to work with customers who are using .dwg and .dgn based CAD programs and that opens up tremendous markets. In particular the ODA .dwg and .dgn toolkits are a key component in our full-project solution so that the transfer of data from field (survey) to office (design) back to field (construction) is seamless. The ability to work with .dwg and .dgn files in Carlson Software is a powerful advantage.”