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KitH

Plant Database

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I'm having a heck of a time with the 12.0 Landmark database resource information. There is inconsistency in trying to scroll through the library by typing the first letter of the plant to locate. Sometimes it works, sometimes nothing happens. also the filtering system is rather archaic in that you can't refine the ssearch without having to click back to the All Plants list. Trying to filter more than 3 items (i.e. category, zone and light/soil conditions has a tendency to just come up blank.

I design from a plant library primarily as I do intricate small residential designs. I feel the database was thrown into this program without much thought of how it is to be used.

Are there bugs being worked out with this. I tried the 12.5 software and found more bugs than the 12.0, but still am fighting with the tool.

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Guest

I usually export my latest Plant Database to a spread sheet, print it and view it from there.

The Plant Tool and database functions do require some improvements.

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I agree, I also notice that as I add some plants, they will be missing later on when I go back to find them. Can someone explain this and how to fix it? I find myself retyping some plants later. NNA pleaase make dramatic improvements on the pd.

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When defining new plants; if I want them available later for other files I always create them in Plant Symbols.mcd which lives in Vectorworks/Libraries/Defaults/Plants; then save the file return to my drawing and away I go

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The Plant Tool and database functions do require some improvements.

The plant tool and data base have been a mess for years now, upgrades add bells and whistles but fail to address core instability, nothing has changed it seems.

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Actually, it is a flawed concept altogether. An odd successor-in-bad-technology from the days when one was supposed to maintain his recipes & fridge contents with a Sinclair 48-computer.

Seriously: is there a single landscape architect who

(i) does not know his/her plant material & region;

[ii) needs to consult a data entry contractor based in India (Pure guesswork. It could be North Korea - or whatever the subcontractor country Dilbert favours is called) to make the choices;

(iii) makes decisions in the assumed workflow of the Plant Tool?

Whatever. For the vast majority of prospective Landmark users, the database is irrelevant and useless. Being a consultant, I can't recommend anyone outside the U.S. of A. to buy Landmark. Whether it is the ant's pants there, I can't comment.

The Plant Tool would, I think, be totally useless to anyone.

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The tool is OK the problem is it is so unstable, 10,11 and now 12 has the same recurring issues. This call has been repeated for years - fix the core process rather than tacking on frills for a new release.

A number of VW users I know abandoned the plant tool and library long ago and made up their own symbols and data base.

To me it is on coincidence Landmark is the only sub forum with no dedicated moderator, ( not even a generic "tech" )and as a result so many cries for help go unanswered on the board, landmark seems not to factor too highly in the pecking order, I wonder how many have just given up ?

Has that changed of late ?

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Seriously: is there a single landscape architect who

(i) does not know his/her plant material & region;

Most in my experience !

Strong in hard landscape yes, but very often hopeless in plant knowledge.

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Dear me... Who could be THAT hopeless?

Seriously: when choosing plants, I first consult several books, then suppliers' catalogues. Or vice versa. But then again, I'm not a landscape architect.

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In regard to the VW Landmark module, it meets my requirements as a highway consultant (except for some problems with polylines) & in fact is the only software available on the Mac for my work. I do use the plant tools & database for pretty roadside pictures.

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Bruce - I think we approach the subject matter from totally different angles. I'm interested in the spatial & visual aspects of plants nd have to consider the availability as well.

A database can tell me little about the former and absolutely nothing about the latter.

"How many trees and of what species & varieties, in which configuration, should I place here to accentuate the vista while retaining the view? Do I want a closed space or an open one?"

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Petri

I had always hoped it was my expertise that provided "liveable roads for all travellers" not the software.

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As a garden designer in the UK and a refugee from "20 years in the IT industry person", my comment is that the database and place plant concept idea is far better than a circle template with a pencil and ERASER, which is where I've come from with this product.

I am working on getting under the skin of the database to load my own plants quickly because, No - the plants list as shipped isn't much good to me. Can anyone suggest any decent, DETAILED, documentation on this?

I DO know my plants, and the database doesn't take away the need for plant knowledge - nor would I want it to. But it does dramatically speed up the process of placing plants on a drawing, labelling them and totalling the list.

What I would like it to do, is pull out the height and spread information when using plant data, rather than default to the symbol size. If you're associating the graphic with that plant, it makes more sense to me to use that data rather than have to type over the size that comes with the symbol. I know I still may want to make changes to that because of the style of placement, but it would be better to start with the plant's size than the symbol's.

Is this the place to make such suggestions?

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I just went back and read all the entries from February and I think this is a good doscussion. Yes, it's a scary thought that someone might be doing a planting plan and needing the plant information about height, spread, habit from the database. But maybe more scary is the thought that a programmer was the one deciding what info about the plants should go in there...yikes. I'm a landscape architect, have been using vectorworks forever and I have never used the plant database, the plant place tool or any of it. Mainly because I customize everything so much that it seemed overwhelming to try and make the vw database work for me. Honestly I have not spent a lot of time really digging into it but here is what I do:

I have made all my own plant symbols (trees, shrubs, perennials, vines & groundcovers). Each symbol is a simple circle, or mabe an octogon or something for a little visual difference on the paper for the contractor. Occasionally I'll have a symbol that has an 'illustrative' class if I want to use the drawing for presentation purposes right out of the printer. Each symbol has a two letter code in the midle that corresponds to the plant list which is a worksheet. The lettering has a class assignment so I can print the drawing without the text for rendering purposes. Each circle is sized to correspond to the appropriate plant spacing. So my plant list is a worksheet that has the size, name, root, etc. for the plant and a column that automatically counts the symbols on the drawing to show the proper quantity. I also have a label on my sheet layer for each plant or plant mass that I place using the annotation tool. The one thing I need to spend some time with is my labeling process though. I know that if I use all the stock vw plant stuff my label will automatically show the quantity of the plants it's pointing to. But I have not yet taken the time to see if I can get that same automatic labeling to work with my own custom symbols. Is anyone else working this way? I'm pretty happy with this system except for the labeling.

Edited by miles

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I'm also a garden designer & think the plant database is one of the biggest red herrings in Landmark. It's talked up as a useable feature whereas in truth it's not really anything more than an electronic reference book, and a bad one at that as it doesn't contain many relevant plants for the typical domestic garden. I did spend some time converting one of the major nursery catalogues into the correct format for importing to the database, but even then found I didn't use the database as it was as quick to define a new plant from scratch so haven't bothered with that since v10.5.

I do use & teach the place plant tool though - I'd venture to say that most VW users aren't tek-savvy enough to start writing their own plant utilities, some would even struggle with adding 3rd party scripts, and so most people have to live with what they've got. The work flow of planting has improved massively in VW12 but the fragility of the file structure still makes life difficult - and as for the default plant symbols, they generally fall uncomfortably between being too bad to use for presentation drawings and too fancy to use on working drawings.

I usually advise people to define a new set of symbols, get rid of the default plant definitions and ignore the plant database!

Edited by Keith Hadland

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Well said Keith, especially your desciption of the graphic symbols. In your experience is there an 'easy' way to use my symbols in combinations with automatic labeling numbering? Or should I just stick with what I'm doing now?

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Miles, seems that you're currently defining a separate symbol for each plant anyway and then counting those in a worksheet. To use the place plant tool you'd need to define the symbol, define a plant to use the symbol, then actually place the plant. Of course if you've already got the symbols you could jigger things so they could be used by plants and then only need to define each plant one time - a bit of effort but maybe worth looking at in one of those 'quiet times' that we long for when we're busy and hate when they arrive!

You'd have to check what happens to your class assignments in the symbols too once they go through the place plant machine - not something i've worried about thus far, but it may affect your workflow.

Edited by Keith Hadland

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My two bits -

I am a landscape architect working from the residential scale to large master planned resorts.

I use all the tools that are supplied with Landmark. While I do think the database is cumbersome, I do edit it with every job to add new plant materials, then save the dwg as a template (thks Katie for the suggestion) It is not the most convenient, but works. I would also like better search tools.

I also use VWL for graphic presentation. I would like more flexibility and graphic tools to be able to improve the graphic output(ie photoshop) and also have a easier way of going from graphic to construction symbols. I have an idea how to do this, but need time.

My two bits-----

By the way - any one know of a good LA that wants to work in a growing market encompassing all phases of LA, wants to live in a outdoor recreation meca in Central Washington - read low desert

thks

Edited by Thom

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I think there may be some crossing of nomenclature here - by 'plant database' i mean the plant reference data whereas 'plant definitions' are the actual defined plants with spread, height, symbols etc. I'd think anyone using the place plant tool would have to define and save their plant definitions, but struggle to think or reasons to go near the database itself - it's difficult to search and is a poor substitute for a decent reference book, and doesn't even save that much work when defining a plant.

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the content may not be suitable to all, but so what...just add a plant.

as for those moaning about functionality, sorry but this co. delivers exactly what they state. like it or lump it. I think they respond well to users. this forum demonstrates that.

show me similar co.s that offer the same user interacrion.

there are none.

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Just want to make it quite clear - I'm not moaning!

I love the product and compared to pen and ink, it makes my work profitable! I just want to understand a bit more about how the plant reference file works and the best working method. I want to add plants to suit my own designs - but would like to be able to automate that process outside of VW using excel. I have a big list already in excel that I'd like to suck in without having to re-type.

Can anyone recommend any good documentation that goes into this level of detail?

My only suggestion (not moan) is that it would be nice if having associated a symbol with a plant from the plant reference data file, the symbol can't pick up the size from the plant reference data as well as the name etc.

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If you want, you can email me your file, and I can convert it for you, then give you a step by step of how to do it.

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Oooh - fab - thanks Katie. That's really kind of you. Do you want to save yourself some work and just send me the step by step?

tamsinslatter@hotmail.com

Many thanks

Tamsin

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There's a lot of variables in the steps, depending on how the data is laid out in the Excel.

What you can do is email me the type of information you have in each column, the number of columns you have, and the number of rows you have.

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