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JeremyLondonRMLA

Shapefile Import/Export in Vectorworks Landmark 2020 doesn't recognize User Origin

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Hi Team.

 

In previous versions of Vectorworks Landmark the User Origin is recognised by the shapefile importer & exporter as the 0,0 point for GIS data. This allows shapefiles to be generated directly from drawings which have an offset User Origin through a previous CAD file import (eg. from a civil engineer or surveyor). You simply georeference the layer to the coordinate system of the received CAD file, and export. It also allows a shapefile imported into an existing drawing based on a previously imported CAD file to appear in the correct position, provided that the shapefile and the CAD file share the same coordinate system. 

 

In Vectorworks Landmark 2020 I've found so far that both the shapefile import and export functions ignore any User Origin settings, and handle GIS data relative to the Internal Origin only. This prevents a shapefile from being correctly exported from a drawing with an offset User Origin (through previous import of a surveyors CAD file), and results in shapefile data imported into drawings with an offset User Origin appearing at the wrong numerical coordinates within Vectorworks.

 

Perhaps for technical reasons the introduction of the new Geolocate and Geoimage tools required this separation of GIS and CAD workflows, but it certainly seems like a step backwards in terms of CAD/GIS integration.

 

I'd be interested to hear other's thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Edited by JeremyLondonRMLA

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Hi Jeremy

I've done some thorough testing of this for another thread, so you might find my notes there helpful. 

Essentially, the user coordinate system can be aligned to the georeferenced coordinate system. There is a new command coming in SP2, but there is a workaround, which I've also linked below.

 

I hope this helps you...

Have a great weekend.

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Hi Tamsin

 

Thanks for taking the time to look into this and provide your feedback.

 

I've read through the linked thread and it all makes sense from the perspective of a primarily GIS workflow, i.e. importing, creating, and exporting GIS data, and perhaps subsequently importing and working with CAD files of the same coordinate system. For a purely GIS workflow such as the one you described, I imagine that adjusting the User Origin in step 4 isn't even required, as long as you set the Stake object to display lat/long values instead of document units in step 8.

 

However in either case I don't think it offers a solution or workaround to the issue I'm describing, where an imported CAD file generates an offset user origin, which subsequent shapefile imports and exports adhered to by default in previous versions of Vectorworks, but no longer do.

 

One significant effect of the change is that a drawing with an offset User Origin created in VW 2019 or prior, which previously exported correctly georeferenced shapefiles (without requiring any use of the Adjust origin and orientation of georeferenced data to to match document coordinates function), no longer does so if the drawing is opened in Vectorworks 2020 and the same shapefile export is attempted. Furthermore, if the user re-imports their generated shapefile back into VW 2020 to double-check the data, it will appear to be correct as it is now being both exported and imported by VW 2020 relative to the Internal Origin. However when imported into a GIS program such as ArcGIS or QGIS, the data exported from VW 2020 will be in the wrong place.

 

In theory this could be manually corrected by taking note of the document coordinates at the Internal Origin, converting them to lat/long in an outside program, activating the Adjust origin and orientation of georeferenced data... option, and manually entering the lat/long values. Alternatively, if your georeferencing in the original file was done through shapefile import, and you still have access to that shapefile, you could work out the lat/long by importing it into a new .vwx drawing, drawing a reference line in the original drawing from an identifiable point on the shapefile to the internal origin, copying the reference line into the new drawing and snapping it to the same point, and placing a Stake object set to lat/long mode on the other end of the reference line to obtain the required values. However, both approaches introduce multiple new steps to what was previously a simple process, and also introduce minor rounding errors resulting in slightly misaligned shapefiles, when compared with shapefiles generated from the same drawings by previous versions of Vectorworks.

 

In step 4 of your workflow in the linked thread you describe an Align User Origin with Georeferenced Coordinate System option. Out of interest, can you please direct me to this tool, as I can't seem to find it, or any reference to it on the Help website.

 

To maintain the workflow and functionality offered by previous versions, and allow smooth transition of older drawings into VW 2020, I believe what's needed is an option that does the inverse of the one you describe, i.e. aligns the georeferenced coordinate system with the User Origin.

 

Or alternatively, restore the 'old' system which handled GIS data this way by default.

 

Kind regards

 

Edited by JeremyLondonRMLA

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On 11/2/2019 at 5:17 AM, JeremyLondonRMLA said:

However in either case I don't think it offers a solution or workaround to the issue I'm describing, where an imported CAD file generates an offset user origin, which subsequent shapefile imports and exports adhered to by default in previous versions of Vectorworks, but no longer do.

Shapefile imports will georeference the design layer that is created on import, and respect the georeferencing setting within the shapefile OR use the georeferencing setting for the document. The import process can also apply the shapefile's georeferencing method as the document default if desired. The user origin IS irrelevant in this process. However, you can align the user origin with the origin of the projection method defined within the georeferencing system. There is a workaround defined in my other post, but the Align User Origin with Georeferencing system is a new command, that you will find under Tools > Origin > User Origin, following the release of SP2. Until then, the Stake workaround is the way to achieve this alignment.

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When you import CAD data now, and you want to work with a georeferencing coordinate system, you don't use the Location tab. Instead, check the option This document contains georeferenced data. This will match the coordinates of the imported data to the georeferenced coordinate system.

The Geolocate tool moves the internal origin to be close to the geometry, and therefore solve the problems that are caused by having geometry a huge distance from the internal origin. This was not possible before 2020, and made it difficult to work with such data.

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Also, I am able to correctly export shapefile data without paying any attention to the user origin. Shapefiles use the coordinates within the georeferenced system, not the user coordinate system as far as I understand. 

If you are seeing something different, please ask your local tech support team to work with you and submit bugs on your behalf, or you are welcome to post files here.

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@JeremyLondonRMLA I'm not sure if this helps or if I'm misunderstanding your question... but incase it does.

 

We regularly import non-georeferenced CAD data, which is located via user origin. If you import this in a geo-referenced 2020 file as per workflow for previous versions, and also import shape file data to the same file, the data doesn't align automatically anymore, where previously it would have. This did stress me out a bit when I first noticed it.

 

However, if when you import the CAD file, you select the 'this file contains georeferenced geometry' tick box, this automatically sets the 'advanced' settings to 'align with internal origin', and projects the CAD information to the correct geographical location in the file based on it's own user origin. This then aligns fine with shapefile imports, and exports the data geographically in the correct place too.

 

If you try importing a CAD file with these settings, and compare the same import using the previous workflow 'centre first import, align all subsequent imports', you'll note that the X and Y positions of the CAD data are different depending on which workflow you use. Previously the X and Y were reflective of the co-ordinate positions, where with the new geo-referencing workflow they aren't. If you want the X and Y to also remain reflective of geographic position (e.g. if you want to be able to export CAD data again as well as GIS data,) you need to manually adjust the User Origin to align with the georeferencing origin, either manually or (hopefully soon!) with the SP2 tool.

 

This then allows you to import and export both GIS and CAD data with the correct positioning, and also take advantage of the benefits of the geo-referenced data within Vectorworks, which I think overall has improved CAD/GIS integration? 

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Hi Tamsin. Thanks for your feedback.

 

For the benefit of anyone following this topic, see my points below

 

On 11/5/2019 at 6:56 AM, Tamsin Slatter said:

Shapefile imports will georeference the design layer that is created on import, and respect the georeferencing setting within the shapefile OR use the georeferencing setting for the document. The import process can also apply the shapefile's georeferencing method as the document default if desired. The user origin IS irrelevant in this process. However, you can align the user origin with the origin of the projection method defined within the georeferencing system. There is a workaround defined in my other post, but the Align User Origin with Georeferencing system is a new command, that you will find under Tools > Origin > User Origin, following the release of SP2. Until then, the Stake workaround is the way to achieve this alignment.

 

The options for Shapefile Import are the ones we're familiar with, but the User Origin has only become irrelevant to the Shapefile import in Vectorworks 2020. In Vectorworks 2019 and prior versions it was recognised, which allowed imported shapefiles to align with previous DWG imports and appear at the correct drawing coordinates without any additional steps.

 

For a drawing/workflow that begins with a Shapefile import and/or georeferencing of the document, followed by a DWG import, the workaround you describe works well and the new tool coming in SP2 will be an excellent feature that makes the process simpler.

 

However neither address the issue of an existing drawing from an earlier version of Vectorworks that began with a DWG import (with the default Center first import ... setting), followed by the subsequent import of a Shapefile, or perhaps the requirement to generate a Shapefile from the drawing data. In the office I work in alone, there are many hundreds if not thousands of existing drawings on the server which were created as above. Shapefiles were subsequently imported into many of them, and/or exported from them simply by georeferencing the relevant layer and exporting. It is entirely feasible that further work and future shapefile exports will be required from this large body of existing .vwx files. As I've described in an above post, the process for generating shapefiles that worked previously will result in incorrectly projected shapefiles from Vectorworks 2020, and the best fix I can come up with generates small inaccuracies.

 

On 11/5/2019 at 7:00 AM, Tamsin Slatter said:

When you import CAD data now, and you want to work with a georeferencing coordinate system, you don't use the Location tab. Instead, check the option This document contains georeferenced data. This will match the coordinates of the imported data to the georeferenced coordinate system.

The Geolocate tool moves the internal origin to be close to the geometry, and therefore solve the problems that are caused by having geometry a huge distance from the internal origin. This was not possible before 2020, and made it difficult to work with such data.

 

This process requires the document georeferencing to be set up correctly as a first step, prior to any DWG imports, which is perfectly possible going forward, provided the user has a good understanding of georeferencing and coordinate systems and is disciplined in following the process.

 

My understanding is that it's been possible for many years to move the georeferenced geometry toward the Internal Origin by manually entering coordinates under Geographic location and orientation of the internal origin in the document/layer georeferencing tab, and that the Geolocate tool is simply a new, user-friendly method of doing this.

 

On 11/5/2019 at 7:02 AM, Tamsin Slatter said:

Also, I am able to correctly export shapefile data without paying any attention to the user origin. Shapefiles use the coordinates within the georeferenced system, not the user coordinate system as far as I understand. 

 

Yes that is my understanding also. Up until now the coordinate system was automatically aligned with the user origin for the purposes of import and export (provided that Adjust origin and orientation of georeferenced data to match document coordinates was un-checked), which is what allowed the drawing coordinates and the shapefile coordinates to match. The process you've described for aligning the user origin to the coordinate system will achieve this going forward. It's mainly an issue for existing drawings brought into Vectorworks 2020, and for long-standing workflows based on DWG import (with data centered on IO) as a first step.

 

Thanks again for your time on this. I'm currently liaising with our regional tech support to further investigate how the transition of existing drawings can best be handled.       

Edited by JeremyLondonRMLA

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Hi @JeremyLondonRMLA

 

9 hours ago, JeremyLondonRMLA said:

The options for Shapefile Import are the ones we're familiar with, but the User Origin has only become irrelevant to the Shapefile import in Vectorworks 2020.

 

This change was needed to make things more stable. You see the User Origin is something that is not fixed and can be changed freely, typically for adjusting the numerical values of the geometry. 

 

Essentially relying on the User Origin was requiring the user to be aware of its significance and this was leading to misalignment and confusion.

 

So, in Vectorworks 2020 it's the Internal Origin that is the point that matches the GIS and CAD layers. It was there before, but it wasn't enforced as much as now.

Basically, the GIS layers (the layers marked as Georeferenced) are layers that belong to the Earth and they will move when you use the Geolocate tool. Then, the 'adjust internal origin' option will define the lat-long coordinate that the CAD layers will be placed at.

 

9 hours ago, JeremyLondonRMLA said:

My understanding is that it's been possible for many years to move the georeferenced geometry toward the Internal Origin by manually entering coordinates under Geographic location and orientation of the internal origin in the document/layer georeferencing tab , and that the Geolocate tool is simply a new, user-friendly method of doing this.


That is correct, the Geolocate tool is just a visual way to set the 'adjust internal origin' options.

 

9 hours ago, JeremyLondonRMLA said:

However neither address the issue of an existing drawing from an earlier version of Vectorworks that began with a DWG import (with the default Center first import ... setting), followed by the subsequent import of a Shapefile, or perhaps the requirement to generate a Shapefile from the drawing data. In the office I work in alone, there are many hundreds if not thousands of existing drawings on the server which were created as above.

 

This sounds to me like an issue of setting up appropriate georeferecing as your old drawings are already located around the internal origin, but if the shapefile import doesn't match means the the 'adjust origin' options are not matching.

 

That would be easy to calculate and set via a script. Please contact me at vstanev@vectorworks.net and i can develop a script for you to use in these cases.

 

Regards,

Vlado

 

 

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@JeremyLondonRMLA 

 

3 minutes ago, Vladislav Stanev said:

That would be easy to calculate and set via a script.

 

I should clarify that I don't think this will compromise the accuracy of the drawing as the geometry wont move. It will be a script that calculates the adjust origin's lat-long based on the current user origin so the internal origin is at the same place.

 

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Hi Vlado, thanks very much for your reply.

 

I see what you mean with the previous reliance on the User Origin potentially causing errors. I've always used the User Origin to maintain the true coordinates of received CAD files that adhere to our various regional coordinate systems. I try to always be aware of my User Origin settings, and have instructed others accordingly. But it's true that if the User Origin is moved manually after importing DWG's or Shapefiles (either intentionally or unintentionally), the georefencing of both the CAD and Shapefile exports will be affected.

 

7 hours ago, Vladislav Stanev said:

This sounds to me like an issue of setting up appropriate georeferecing as your old drawings are already located around the internal origin, but if the shapefile import doesn't match means the the 'adjust origin' options are not matching.

 

That would be easy to calculate and set via a script. Please contact me at vstanev@vectorworks.net and i can develop a script for you to use in these cases.

 

Yes this is precisely the issue I've encountered. A tool/script for Vectorworks 2020 that accurately aligns the georeferencing coordinate system with the existing User Origin would solve it. To be 100% accurate, the re-alignment would need to be based on the exact vector from the Internal Origin to the User Origin, and not introduce any of the rounding that occurs with my manual methods described above. (The values displayed under Geographical location and orientation of Internal Origin might still be rounded, but this rounding shouldn't affect the true position of the georeferenced data's origin).

 

I'll email you shortly.

 

Thanks also Tamsin and Lisa for your input.            

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An update to this thread:

 

Vlado has confirmed that the issue I encountered, where in VW 2020 Shapefile imports weren't lining up with previous centered DWG imports as they had done in prior versions, was a bug that will be corrected in SP3. He kindly supplied me with a copy of the replacement GIS plugin file for testing, and it works perfectly.

 

With this resolved, previous workflows (and drawings) remain valid, the Geolocate and Geoimage tools offer enhancements, and it sounds like the Align User Origin with Georeferenced Coordinate System tool described by Tamsin will introduce a new and improved workflow for coordinated CAD and GIS file sharing going forward.

 

Thanks again to everyone for your input.

Edited by JeremyLondonRMLA
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