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Differences Between GIS and CAD

The biggest way GIS and CAD differ is that GIS shows the world as it is, while CAD models things that are going to be produced. Both are applications used in industries where is it necessary to gather information about an area.

How the information is gathered and then used is where they differ, and we’ve broken it all down below. Check it out! If your firm needs help with civil CAD services, why not outsource some of these project needs? A partner like Indovance can help. Keep reading to see how!

GIS and CAD Differences

GIS, or geographical information systems, is primarily used to develop a relationship between data and a geographical object.  It can capture, store, analyze and present spatial information in a visual manner that many find easier to interpret.

CAD, or computer aided drafting, is software for designing a product or infrastructure in 2D and 3D diagrams that can be viewed from any angle. This makes understanding how a product or building will be constructed easier to visualize.

Another way to view the difference is that GIS uses a spatial database where CAD is a drawing of a model. CAD models things that are going to be created, so it uses coordinates relative to the object. They don’t exist until the designer creates them. With GIS, the world is mapped as it appears.

The tools they use also differ. CAD uses lines, circles, and text to create layers and dimensions of objects or buildings. The software enables designers, architects and engineers to have the ability to create a diagram of the product or structure they are producing. The items are created without concern for scale because the actual dimensions can be added at the end stage, giving them an idea of supplies needed.

GIS uses spatial data using vectors and rasters that can create maps showcasing towns, roads and states.  It is often used in relation to distance between objects. Because it’s easier to understand the information gathered in a visual format, maps are usually created. The information can be interpreted and manipulated in a better format than in graphs or charts found in a spreadsheet.

In most cases, people who use one application do not have a need for the other because one creates objects and one creates maps. But there are times when there’s a need for both.  For instance, if a large facility needs to expand, it can use CAD to develop the building plans using a GIS generated map of the grounds. Having the data from GIS technology will allow developers to see how much space they have to work with thanks to its ability to capture real-life geographic information.

Both systems can also help in developing the management of a facility because the mapping aspect of GIS can be used to determine square footage of the areas and how they can be best utilized. CAD features can show how new buildings would impact the current ones.

Because GIS and CAD use layers within the software to create models, it is possible for the information from CAD software to be linked to a GIS system in order to have the best of both worlds, but it may require that the user customize the software to meet his or her needs.

As CAD software continues to add more features, the differences between the two may begin to become less clear.

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Stay up-to-date with the latest technology by outsourcing your work to one of the top drafting firms in the world. We offer AutoCAD, BIM modeling, engineering, 3D design and even civil CAD services. Let us help your business avoid the costs associated with bringing new software in-house. We already have the software, hardware and highly trained experts to do the job. If you’re interested in lowering costs within your business give Indovance a call.

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