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.


I've only used Civil3d and it's been a few years so I can't provide any in-depth comparisons. However, you can get a good idea about how the features compare using the online Autodesk Compare Software tool. Once you narrow it down, Autodesk offers 30-day free trials.

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  • Hey Jakub-Thanks for the suggestions (+1 for the effort). I am aware of the different CAD options and the free trial (just never used any besides Civil).I'll be taking a 1 month trial of Map 3D and purchasing it if it meets my needs. The reseller has agreed to throw in a few of the Civil 3D tools I need too. I was looking for feedback related to user experiences with the Map 3D. I will upgrade to thge full Civil 3D package if I find the lesser version is not meeting my needs, but there's a price difference of nearly $6,000 when you factor in taxes and other incidentals. Anyway,thanks again. – Dano Oct 31 '12 at 1:51

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