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GIS annotation

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Hello !

I?m trying to use the GIS capabilities of my VectorWorks 2010 version (designer). The data imports well from .shp files. However, I can't manage to label my elements.

On the whitepaper ( http://download2.nemetschek.net/www_misc/2010/VW_GIS_Whitepaper.pdf ), I read :

Annotation of GIS Information

Geographical data can be labeled individually or automatically with the aid of various annotation

functions, and the annotations can be linked to a database. The position of the annotation within

the objects can be adjusted later.

I?ve searched in the reference manual, on the forum and on google, but I did not find how to do this.

I'd like to be able to display the area name, or it's area, or whatever information associated in the database.

If possible, it would also be great to be able to set the color of the element depending on database values (for instance, every shape where a certain attribue is btw. 0 and 1 => dark blue, btw. 1 and 2 => blue, btw. 2 and 3 => light blue, etc.)

Can you help me ?



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Hi Oliver,

Vectorworks Designer is very capable as a GIS tool, with its Site Model feature, various annotation functions, integrated records for storing data and worksheets for displaying information extracted from the model. .shp files often import elements with attached records that store information such as wetland status, parcel IDs or elevation. If the elements have such information, you would be able to see it displayed when the object is selected in the Data tab of the Object Info palette (OIP).

Additionally, much information related to the element geometry, such as perimeter and area is displayed in the shape pane of the OIP.

Getting the information to display as a label requires review of the way that the information is stored, the scale of the task (how many elements?) and the goal of the presentation. Since you list that you are in Switzerland, we would like to know if you are using Designer by NVI or Computerwerks. If you submit a small sample of a few objects as they are immediately after import and an example of the various ways that you would like to format the information, (list in worksheet? text label on element? attributes applied?) then we would be happy to make a recommendation.

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Thanks for your answer. Our distributor is ComputerWorks AG.

As I said, the data imports very well : I'm able to see it in the data tab of the OIP, to list it in a worksheet, and so on.

However, as I said, I can't find how to use that data in my drawing (a basic symbology).

In some cases, I'd like to display a text label on my elements (for instance write the parcel ID).

In some other cases, I'd like to set the graphic attributes of my elements (for instance, set the color the yellow for residential zone types, to blue for commercial zones, etc.).

If it is possible to do that with Vectorworks 2010 out of the box, you could just point me to the right manual page (or describe shortly how to do it).

If it needs to be scripted, you could provide some clear and easy to adapt example scripts (you can use any generic data to show the example).

By the way, I have another (less important) question about the GIS capability of vectorworks (especially 2010).

Is there a way, as there is in any GIS software, to have computed data ?

For instance, if I've got the number of resident of a parcel, I'd like to compute the density of the parcel (nbr of residents / parcel area) and use that data as any data.

I know it is very easy to make computed columns in the worksheet, but is it possible to use them in VW ? It does not seem possible to use that with the "defined selection tool", and it does not seem possible to save the computed columns back into the database.

That would also be great and almost allow to avoid the use of a GIS software besides VW for simple operations.

Best regards,


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Hi Oliver,

Without knowing the specifics of your file, and version of Vectorworks I can only offer entry points to possible avenues of exploration.

The simplest way to get labels which display record information would be to use the ID Label tool. This tool is configured to use a symbol of your choice as a tag to display the desired record field data, which may be attached to objects of interest in your file such as a Parcel ID.

If the elements are imported as symbol instances such as culverts or water valves, attached record data is easily displayed with the Attached Text feature which uses a text block in the symbol definition to display the record field data.

The Custom Modification command can be used to select objects fitting a certain criteria such as a certain range of slope or elevation, which can then be assigned to a graphic attribute such as a color fill or line thickness.

Placing a calculated value into a field of an object record is probably a job best suited for a script. Scripts are quite capable of accomplishing most anything that is not directly handled by internal features of Vectorworks.

As I mentioned before, I can offer much more specific information once I have reviewed the details of your project file.

Lastly, since I am not intimately familiar with the Computerwerks product, there may be customized features that are available to you, so I would check with your distributor.


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I've tried many times to figure this out, but can't seem to figure out how to label a item in after importing a GIS shapefile.

I know how to attach text to a record label, create a symbol and attach text to a record format. However when I try to use the ID label tool, I don't seem to get very far. There has to be a way to do this.

What I want to do is label the streets on this map. The record field is Streetname. See attached.

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Wow! Thank you so much Dexie and especially Miguel for writing the script.

This is exactly what I was looking for! Worked perfectly. This feature should really be added to the VW tools.


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