Rasterex and GTX Corp. separately announced that their respective AutoCAD-based raster editing and conversion software lines will work with AutoCAD R14 today (Rasterex) or within the next few months (GTX).
AutoCAD’s New Raster Ability Establishes A Foundation
AutoCAD R14 includes a new capability to recognize and handle scanned raster images as AutoCAD objects that can be scaled and positioned just like AutoCAD blocks. This makes it easier to integrate scanned paper drawings, blueprints, and digital photographs into AutoCAD files as hybrid drawings containing both raster and vector data. Anyone using AutoCAD or R14-based applications can view and plot these files.
Uses for this capability in conjunction with R14-based applications range from paper-to-CAD conversions (partial or complete) to digital terrain modeling (DTM) in geographic information systems (GIS).
The raster architecture was developed internally by Autodesk in conjunction with input from the AutoCAD Technical Imaging Partners group.
Rasterex Support of AutoCAD R14
Rasterex’s RxAutoImage 97 add-on software family works with AutoCAD R13 and R14 as well as AutoCAD LT95. Their software extends R14’s whole raster object capability to include selecting just part of an image for editing and/or conversion to vector. This includes individual entities such as lines, arcs, and circles.
The company reports its key functionalities include line-following with orthogonalization, single-pick, object tracing, single-pick hatch object selection, automatic clean-up wizards, advanced rubbersheeting, and raster-to-vector conversion with optical character recognition (OCR).
RxAutoImage Pro 97 retails for $3,895 while RxAutoImage Edit 97 lists for $1,995. The less expensive package does not include automatic raster-to-vector conversion or OCR conversion capabilities. Expert Graphics is the U.S.-based distributor of Rasterex software.
GTX Offers Two Software Lines
GTX noted that with R14’s capabilities, previous capacity limitations in its AutoCAD-based software no longer occur. This includes the number and size of images that may be loaded at a given time. Multiple images can appear simultaneously in multiple view ports.
GTX now offers two software lines that provide raster editing and conversion. The GTXRasterCAD 4.0 series works inside of AutoCAD while their new ImageCAD series offers the same capabilities (including commands and DWG read/write) by itself. ImageCAD uses the AutoCAD OEM engine at its core.
The commands have the same names as AutoCAD commands, but with the prefix G. Raster editing, manipulation and conversion is greatly aided by a neat feature called intelligent object picking (IOP). IOP recognizes basic entities such as arcs, circles, and lines even when they intersect with other entities. The IOP feature makes working with raster files less tedious.
Raster to vector conversion works decently from individual entities all the way to entire files. Text conversion from raster to vector is also good. Contour map conversion is handled by special programs designed to handle dense contour lines. We watched a few demonstrations of this capability and were impressed by how well it worked on a Pentium PC. It’s worth noting that the resulting file format is proprietary.
Batch conversions of scanned files to AutoCAD files can be done with the GTX OSR module and text is converted using the GTX ICR PLUS module. These modules work with both the RasterCAD series and the ImageCAD series.
Prices are charged per user per application. For RasterCAD this varies from $1,995 to $4,890 while ImageCAD varies from $1,395 to $4,990. Versions are available for AutoCAD R14 and R13 on Windows 95/NT as well as AutoCAD R11 and R12 on DOS, Windows, and UNIX (Sun and HP).
Expert Graphics, 800-648-7249, 404-320-0800, http://www.expertg.com
Rasterex (International) +47 22 23 92 90, http://www.rasterex.no
GTX Corp., 800-879-8284, 602-244-8700, http://www.gtx.com/gtx