Water & Wastewater

York Region, Ontario, Canada

Canadian regional goverment uses AutoCAD Map 3D and AutoCAD Raster Design to eliminate data conversions, completing tasks 16 times faster.

“Now, our Autodesk solution integrates data directly from ArcSDE and gives us an inclusive view of the pipes—location, size, and surroundings—in less than 15 minutes. We complete this task 16 times faster, freeing staff for other tasks.”
—Scott Stover, Manager, Corridor Approvals and Records, York Region

Project Summary

Seeing an opportunity to import utility, property, and asset data into its existing CAD base maps, York Region saved time and money by relying on its AutoCAD®-trained staff to quickly implement a new geospatial system that incorporates both CAD and GIS. Now staff are working more efficiently and producing higher quality maps.

Using AutoCAD® Map 3D software, York Region is able to:

  • Complete tasks 16 times faster
  • Reduce training time and expenses
  • Save time by incorporating older scanned drawings, maps, and photos
  • Work seamlessly with ESRI data in its native format
  • Deliver detailed maps with integrated data from multiple departments

The Challenge

Ontario’s York Region claims nine municipalities, boasts more than 900,000 residents, and provides services to 25,000 businesses. The regional government manages major roads and water and wastewater networks for all nine municipalities.

The region manages the construction and maintenance of more than 1,100 kilometers of road. Staff designed new roads by hand, but implemented AutoCAD to automate their design processes in the 1990s.

York Region’s Geomatics department uses ESRI’s ArcGIS software and ArcSDE server technology to maintain tree inventories, traffic signals, municipal maps, property data, and more. Scott Stover, Manager of Corridor Approvals and Records, explains, “We needed to tap into the ESRI data and import it directly into our road project basemaps. We wanted a geospatial system that easily integrated the ESRI-formatted property and utility data into our designs.”

The Solution

Stover’s 26 employees had minimal training on ESRI software, but many had successfully used AutoCAD for many years. An Autodesk partner suggested an AutoCAD environment for their system and worked with the region in the initial stages of the implementation.

“We chose an AutoCAD-based geospatial solution to take advantage of well-trained staff that thoroughly understands the AutoCAD interface,” Stover adds. “Using AutoCAD Map 3D, we exploited our AutoCAD skills to tap quickly into ESRI maps, utility data, property data, and more without having to use ESRI software. AutoCAD Map 3D gave us the GIS tools we needed, but allowed us to use our AutoCAD expertise, reducing training time and expenses.”

Open Technology Improves Productivity

When York Region designs a new road, surveyors visit the proposed site and collect data. Office staff then use AutoCAD Map 3D to quickly generate a map of the site, adding utility and property data from the ESRI software. The result is a rich base map pulling all the data together into one view.

Stover appreciates that he can use many types of GIS data in the system without translation. The open source Feature Data Object (FDO) technology embedded in Autodesk software enables York Region to manage geospatial data in its native format. “Not having to translate or convert our data reduces the risk of corrupting it or losing the data all together. In the end, it means that our data is more secure, accurate, and precise,” Stover notes. Staff use AutoCAD Map 3D to create detailed designs and maps with utility and property data as well as high-definition photography for proposals for road construction.

York Region uses AutoCAD® Raster Design to incorporate and edit data from older scanned paper sources and aerial photos. “We make the most of existing scanned engineering drawings and plans by using them in current projects.” Stover says. “And, we save redrafting time with the software’s raster editing tools.”

Subscription Provides Extra Service

York Region subscribes to the Autodesk Subscription Program, and Stover appreciates the automatic software updates and available online support. “I like that we are getting up-to-date software on a regular basis. I know that we’ll always have the most current releases, which reduces the number of things I have to worry about,” says Stover. He also enjoys that his team has the option of added direct Autodesk support. “We have used Autodesk’s technical support a few times over the past 3 years. Autodesk staff answered our questions quickly so that our system was at peak performance.”

The Result

York Region’s Autodesk solution is saving both time and money. Employees complete tasks more quickly because they have integrated their GIS data with CAD. Stover explains, “If we needed a complete view of our wastewater network, it required more than four hours to find the person who managed the files, locate the right drawings, and plot the drawings. Now, our Autodesk solution integrates data directly from ArcSDE and gives us an inclusive view of the pipes—location, size, and surroundings—in less than 15 minutes. We complete this task 16 times faster, freeing staff for other tasks.”

Stover adds that Autodesk technology reduces the Region’s costs by eliminating traditional operating expenses. “We no longer must purchase upgrades for our software licenses, retrain staff, or translate data. Simply put, we are able to complete projects faster and focus on the next task.”

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York Region Customer Story (pdf - 1601Kb)