Which CAD program do you use?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums TECHNOLOGY Which CAD program do you use?

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    Andrew Spiering

    I was wondering what Cad program everyone uses. AutoCad, Microstation, Vectorworks, or something completely different?

    Kevin J. Gaughan

    I am working for a fairly small LA firm that focuses primarily on high-end residential design and we use VectorWorks. Besides some quirks that they have yet to figure out…it seems to be a very appropriate program for our scale of work. Unfortunately, however, they are starting to become less and less affordable for the smaller firms which was one of their biggest selling points from the beginning.

    Being trained with AutoCad in school, however, I am certain that AutoCad is a much more powerful program with much more functionality.

    John Black

    Kevin, I also use VectorWorks in my studio; it’s the right balance of price and functionality for the residential work I do. Their plant database and tools are the biggest liability, not impossible but not as graceful as the rest of the program. ACAD is undeniably more powerful, but for my purposes it’s just plain overkill. Although VW does 3D, Google Sketchup is faster and simpler and I often use that to explore preliminary concepts before fleshing it out in 2D.


    I work with Archicad, I find it very flexible and precise. renders can be exported to other programs i use for 3D such as Artlantis and Piranessi. I have tried to work with other software and always come back to Archicad. very useful here in Chile since most architects and construction managers work with autocad and archicad is compatible with this and most software around. besides the new Archicad 11 features a tool which allows you to access and use google earth. very useful when working on large scale projects!..

    Matt Landis

    AutoCad is far and away the industry standard for architecture and landscape architecture. I forget the exact statistics, but it is more than 80% of all firms. Microstation is sometimes preferred in Civil Engineering, but they still use AutoCad for the most part. Vectorworks in my opinion is like drafting in Illustrator. After having used AutoCad for several years, I worked in a firm that used Vectorworks. It was extremely less efficient than AutoCad, and not nearly as precise. Now that I have used both…I would never use anything other than AutoCad.

    Also, since base files are typically shared between consultants, the file format is always .dwg. Even though Microstation and Vectorworks can import/export .dwg files…there tend to be bugs. AutoCad rules the roost in terms of CAD programs.

    Juliah Rais-Morres

    i started also with AutoCad and then worked for a firm that used Vectorworks, i’ve used both. one of the disadvantage with VW is that you have to fix the scale of your drawings from the beginning…there’s no layouts like AutoCad. now i’m back again with AutoCad, i didn’t miss VW that much….i have the same opinion.. will stick to AutoCad til retirement.

    Carl A Ziegler

    I currently use AutoCAD 2007 with LandFX plug in. I have used VectorWorks in the past, but it has too many drawbacks, not enough plant material, Land FX actually has different nurseries around the nation subscribe and add the plant material that they have, specs and all. The irrigation is horrible, I live in Florida, where irrigation is becoming very important, like most of the US. I am really happy with LandFX, just wish I could use them on my mac.

    Juliah Rais-Morres

    hi John,

    thanks, that was a very good tip with the Google SketchUp, i work together with a small firm and i’m in charge practically of everything and didn’t have the time to work with a 3D programm before eventhough i wanted to for so long. Could you post some example of your 3D drawings that you did with SketchUp?..that would be great. I just installed Google SketchUp yesterday and couldn’t wait to get started…

    Ana Filomena

    I’ve always used autocad, i never tried the others. So I dont know if they are better…

    Chunling Wu

    I scan the replies through, someone mentioned Microstation which is not easy to make drawing fast. Actually civil engineers prefer it since its 3D ability with Inroad, which can create site model (with grading, curbs, storm piping, etc) with datum. Both of them are from Bently. Comparing with AutoCAD, I do hope it can be improved much more. Sometimes, once we were stuck by Micostation, we would say let AutoDesk purchase it. I like to use shortcut more than “click”, or I can say if you’d like to impove your speed and skill, no click in AutoCAD. But for our topic which CAD program you are using I think it depends on location, company, and your postion.

    Rosie Mohorko

    Here in Germany many companies are using VectorWorks or Nemetschek Allplan! I’ve always used ACAD and never even had a chance to see, at least, User Interface for these two (VW & Allplan). Can someone tell me how long does one take to learn managing these aplications? Have tried to find some demo for VW, but VW trial are not available for Win!

    Ryland Fox

    I try to learn everything. My preference is Rhino because it is the most fun. That said, firms I worked at used Autocad or Microstation.

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