I recently interviewed David Maguire, chief scientist at ESRI. During the interview, I probed a bit on the role of 3D in GIS, and the difference between CAD and GIS. Here are Maguire’s perspectives on these topics:
“We’ve always felt that CAD and GIS are two different worlds conceptually and in terms of the groups that use them, although both are built on similar graphics-based technologies which require precise 2D and 3D data sets. GIS tends to emphasize multi-user transactional databases, spatial analysis and modeling, and high quality cartography and visualization. CAD is more concerned with the graphical representation of real world objects, collecting information about structures and materials and about designing new entities. CAD users often work at a finer scale than GIS users.”
“We have some good capabilities in ArcGIS 9.3 to visualize 3D objects, execute 3D queries and do 3D geometric operations like overlap and intersect. We have a big project for ArcGIS 9.4 to enhance the 3D capabilities of our software. I feel that the main contribution that we’ll make to the 3D market when all is said and done is 3D analysis.”
Read the complete interview here.