I’m at 30000 feet over the east coast heading to the AEC Media Event.  I am thinking of all the questions I will be asking while I am there, and began considering Chris Fugitt’s  article I skimmed over.  That got me thinking about the Civil design crowd.  I am involved with all of them, from the field to the Company owners.  There is a huge gulf between those that do Civil 3D yes, and those that do Civil 3D no.  I don’t have James W. here to argue with, so I’ll just argue with myself.

The Excuse delivery

Land Desktop 2005/2006 was a great platform, and really keeps some die hards hanging on because:

  • It is expensive to upgrade, and a subscription renewal might mean someone is out of a job.
  • That division is set in its ways, and is easier on morale if we just leave them on LDD.
  • It is a different platform, and migrating all at once or staggered the divisions is just not feasible right now. (right now meaning any time you will ever ask)
  • Civil 3D training is unaffordable, both in out of pocket costs, and in lost production.
  • LDD really does work for their simple operation

I mention these Land Desktop users specifically because the rest are either using Brand X (we don’t rub elbows with those), putting it down with Eagle Point, or pulling it together with an array of inexpensive archaic software, or just plainly using a drafting table.  Odds are these are the acceptable losses we deal with. They are happy with how they do things, and the Lord knows Civil people really get set in their ways.

Um, the Step Brother

There is one other group, and that is those piggy backing Carlson on top of AutoCAD (or maybe MAP) 2008-2010.  I am leaving them out of the discussion because Carlson is a real software company and real Civil solutions that are (or were) pretty cool.  We’d still talk smack about you if you went with Carlson, but we’d invite you over for a beer just the same.

The Facts

Where you gonna go? There is not another more capable and comprehensive civil development package available.  Some may do this or that a bit more the way you like, or contain a ‘gee-wiz’ tool or two, but NONE will go the distance with Civil 3D.  All of them are expensive, and if you’re gonna pay a lot, you should get your money’s worth.  The entire Autodesk 2011 product line is more stable and more useful than ever before; this is definitely the time to get on subscription.

The fledglings

The Land Desktop group will upgrade.  The way I see it, there are 2 factors that will drive most companies into regularly updated Civil 3D licenses. 

The Subscription Program, and Attrition.

That new escalating pricing model will be a beast to choke down, and those that have to face it will go subscription, and just increase some pricing…

…but then the mothership already knew that didn’t they.