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Digitising field drawings
Guess it all depends on the approach you take - normally, I'll have CAD as the work engine which is my primary digitising tool. Yes, everything gets digitised (unless during the QC checking stage features have been marked as natural/not real/not for digitising by the PO/Supervisor) but it's a lot easier to discard features after they have been digitised than to go back and digitise them at a later date.

From that excavation file, I'll set up a conversion into MapInfo that others can then access, analyse and produce annotation layers for PXA. This'll lead on to a PXA cad file which then forms the seed file for the report figures to be produced via Illustrator.

As Kevin points out, you do have to watch the pennies though and you can work within GIS programmes to digitise plans and create report figures - and it is something I do and advise POs to do for small watching briefs or negative evaluations. But where the site is more complicated or more detailed figures are required, hachered plans for example, I'd always run them through CAD first.

(As an aside - One particular cripe for me is the number of times I'm asked to produced hachered plans from TST/GPS data where not only have they not recorded the break of slope - they haven't even recorded which side of the feature they excavated!)

I've always used AutoCAD Map 3D whenever possible as this gives me a lot more options for synthesising data with GIS software, it can geo-code data as well as import data fields from external GIS platforms and was AutoDesk's response to the emergence of ArcView and MapInfo as an alternative digitising/mapping software. So, depending on which version of CAD you use, you can do virtually most things GIS software can do.
...but if I want to produce distribution analysis, contouring or surface modelling - I'll use neither!!Big Grin
We seem to have drifted from digitising to wider Post-Ex process!

Kevin, I agree that a heck of a lot of PX can be done just with the scanned pencil drawings, especially if they get georeferenced (CAD or GIS, it's easy enough in either system) and any surveyed linework is added. Then, once you know what you want to see in the report illustration, the digitising can begin! After all, the scans and the permatrace serve as archive enough - the vector derived from them is secondary. But I still prefer to do that digitising in CAD. (Learning Illustrator, but nowhere near proficient enough...)

ShadowJack, I feel your pain! You do know ACAD searches in its own folder first regardless of xref path settings, so if you copy all the scans from the server to your desktop machine (along with the CAD file) then it'll at least remove the constant network traffic during work sessions. Assuming of course you can put things on the local HD...

As for being asked to do the impossible with crap data - that's what heavy throwable objects in the office are for! Remember - an infinite number of monkeys might produce the odd script for Hamlet, but you'll also get a lot of broken typewriters...

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