Avoid design errors, rework costs, and deadline delays in a rapidly changing real world with the aid of Plex-Earth.
Having a clear understanding of a project site's existing conditions from the very start of the preliminary design phase can be a true asset for professionals looking to maximize efficiency and save precious time and resources. However, that's rarely an easy job in a dynamically changing world, as there are a number of different factors involved in shaping the physical and legal aspects of a given jobsite.
The availability of credible, up-to-date information holds the key to success in such cases, but unfortunately, it is not always that easy to get your hands on all the necessary data without having to spend considerable amounts of time and effort. So, how do you combine the best of two worlds and manage to overcome this obstacle? This is the million-dollar question that gave birth to the ideas which led to the development of our flagship product, Plex-Earth.
How it all began
The Founder and CEO of our company, Lambros Kaliakatsos, was taking part in various sanitary landfill and dumpsite restoration projects in his first steps as a Civil Engineer. In one of the major projects he and his team had been working on, after several months of design and consultation, they were presented with a huge surprise that made them suffer a major setback.
Apparently, the morphology of the terrain of their area of interest was different than what they had thought and designed for, land use had changed drastically, and a local shepherd was housing sheep in their study area. As a result, they had no other option but to start over again, completely revising their initial planning. Needless to say, this had a huge impact on their budgeting, putting the whole project at risk and harming the company's reputation in the process.
To give you some context, In a €6 million project, the redesign cost accounted for more than €600k, plus four months of delay. It was at that time when Lambros realized that everything would have been so much better if access to recent, high-quality imagery directly in AutoCAD had been granted.
This incident was more than enough for Lambros to get working on a system that would provide engineers with the ability to acquire aerial/satellite imagery and terrain information from the comfort of their office, even before getting their hands on relevant data produced by local surveys. It was more than obvious to him that this option would help significantly with reducing risks associated with an incomplete understanding of existing site conditions.
And that's exactly how Plex-Earth, the first cloud-based software ever created in the CAD market was born. Our software is a complete remote-surveying system used by thousands of engineers in over 120 countries worldwide. It constitutes a powerful tool that revolutionizes the conceptual and preliminary design phases by enabling professionals to have a complete 3D geographical view of their real-world project sites within seconds. It's already been twelve years, and now, the newest, enhanced version of our software, Plex-Earth, has officially been released.
Below are the five major components to the recipe for remote surveying success provided by Plex-Earth:
- Importing high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery from the best providers in the field.
- Importing terrain data and performing advanced terrain analysis.
- Publishing 2D and 3D drawings to Google Earth for visualization purposes.
- Accessing historical imagery datasets so as to monitor the evolution of a project site through time.
- Defining the georeference settings of a drawing with just a few clicks.
Or as we like to call them, the five dimensions of remote surveying. Please allow us to elaborate a bit.
1. Importing high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery from the best providers in the field
Welcome to the first dimension. The ability to import high-quality, up-to-date imagery from the best providers in the field, like Google Maps, Airbus, Maxar, Hexagon, and Nearmap, straight into your AutoCAD environment with just a few clicks is no joke. Imagery is a powerful tool for engineering, and Plex-Earth was developed to enable you to design with better accuracy while avoiding rework costs.
Our software provides drafters with the ability to add Quick Views, which are dynamic Images that instantly cover the whole extents of a specified area with a single tile:
Most importantly, with Plex-Earth it is also possible to create Imagery Mosaics, which are high-resolution images consisting of multiple tiles:
In both cases, your images will be placed in the correct coordinates in a matter of seconds, provided that your drawing's georeference settings have been defined properly.
It is worth noting that Imagery Mosaics can also be converted to raster files and stored locally, enabling drafters to share their images with anyone interested, even without a Plex-Earth License.
2. Importing terrain data and performing advanced terrain analysis
Moving on to the second dimension, Plex-Earth makes it possible to import Terrain data into your AutoCAD drawings in a few easy steps, from the comfort of your office, and without having to conduct time and money-consuming surveys. That's right, you can have a clear view of your project site's shape and morphology with respect to its real-life surroundings in a matter of seconds:
But there's more to it. Our software makes it possible to use your Digital Terrain Models in order to generate drawing objects such as contour lines, import thousands of elevation points, perform advanced Terrain Analysis, and get your hands on all sorts of valuable information, from the beginning of your design:
The best part is that you can also combine your Imagery Mosaics and Terrain models in order to create 3D Images, which come in handy if you're looking to produce top-notch depictions of your area of interest within your AutoCAD environment:
3. Publishing 2D and 3D drawings to Google Earth for visualization purposes
The third dimension, consists of Plex-Earth tools that can help with creating powerful visualizations to be used as a means of conveying and labeling information effectively.
Our software makes it easy to export any 2D or 3D drawing to Google Earth in the form of a KML/KMZ file, and this functionality can be a true asset across all stages of the design process, as it enables professionals to produce vibrant representations of their designs with just a few clicks:
Presenting your ideas to colleagues, clients, and stakeholders was never easier, however, that's not all there is to say. With Plex-Earth, you can also directly copy and paste Google Earth elements directly into your AutoCAD design, and thus, enjoy the privilege of creating instant connections between your AutoCAD drawings and Google Earth's rich geographical database. The dictionary definition of remote surveying.
4. Accessing historical imagery datasets so as to monitor the evolution of a project site through time
Time is the fourth dimension, and the Timeline functionality of Plex-Earth allows drafters to travel through it with little to no effort. You are granted the ability to create chronological visualizations of your area of interest by utilizing a variety of historical datasets from Airbus and Maxar. Observe the progress of your project and track any changes made in your area of interest from the comfort of your office, while minimizing redesign costs in a spectacular fashion.
The Timeline feature is intended to allow designers to have a clear view of their project site's conditions from years ago to just a few days back, making it possible to have a better understanding of the evolution of any given area of interest. Information is power, especially when it is available at your fingertips.
5. Defining the georeference settings of a drawing with just a few clicks
Finally, the 5th dimension of remote surveying may be the last one, but it actually comes first and is a prerequisite for bridging your designs with the real world. Defining the georeference settings of a drawing file properly is the first thing that needs to be done before utilizing any command of Plex-Earth, in order for the software to know where to place all the imported and exported data.
With Plex-Earth, it is possible to choose from literally thousands of different Coordinate Systems used worldwide:
Not sure which Coordinate System your drawing file was based on? Plex-Earth has got you covered. You can create a Custom Georeference by associating a point in your drawing with a Placemark in Google Earth:
Working with an already georeferenced drawing? That should be no problem at all, as Plex-Earth automatically recognizes the georeference settings applied.
Plex-Earth was meant to turn you into a design superhero, by making it possible to access recent and historical aerial/satellite imagery and terrain data from the comfort of your office. It is now possible to overcome the risks associated with an incomplete understanding of existing site conditions without even having to pay a visit to your area of interest. Bridging design with the real world was never easier.
Our software was developed to make life easier for skilled professionals who are on a mission to build a better world. Meeting deadlines and maximizing efficiency is now a walk in the park. Looking to delve into the secrets of remote surveying? Our software can be the perfect companion for your journey in the AEC industry. Start your fully-functional 7-day free trial today, and see for yourselves!
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