I am starting a consulting agengy and I need to determine what my best interests are regarding the purchase of AutoCAD software. I have great faith in the more reputable users on this site, and I'm seeking advisement; particularly from those of you who use both ESRI software and map capable versions of CAD.
A little background: Due to variuos positions I've held in my locale, I have strong expertise in relation to Mining Land Tunure, and the Aggregate Resources Act (in Ontario, Canada). For those of you who are unfamiliar, Aggregate material refers to Pit & Quarry operations (sand, gravel & crushed stone). Also notewothy, there are a number of Environmental studies associated with these strands for which I provide AutoCAD, GIS, and legislative support. I leverage GIS and AutoCAD technology interchangably. I am extremely comfortable going back-and-forth between these two software packages, which allows me to bring a variety of effiiciencies to my worflows. Lastly, I am completely self-taught in AutoCAD, but I have exceptional strength with regard to using it for my needs.
My dilemma I moved from LDD to Civil 3D a few years ago, and I simply can't imagine going back to a less capable version od AutoCAD now that I've experienced the Cadillac of the AotoCAD realm. The difference between map 3D and Civil 3D is $5000 +tax per seat. This is a lot of money at start-up. I only need a few tools (to my knowledge) from the Civil 3D environment (surface from survey, from .shp, etc). I don't need most of its functionality (corridors, alignments, etc, etc ................>. The reseller has indicated that he can give me a few of the Civil tools as part of the Map 3D package, but I have never used it "stand alone". Otherwise, I need spatial data in CAD for site plans via mapconnect and mapimport. For the most part, it will be shapefiles.
If anyone could advise (who has knowledge of both Civil & map versions) it would be greatly appreciated. I have done more reading than my schedule can afford. Will Map 3D meet my needs? Are there marked differences and shortcomings when measuring Map 3D against the superior product. I appreciate any advisement.