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Using the Google Maps feature inside AutoCAD WS, you can easily position your drawings over an aerial photo. Sometimes just showing a site plan within the context of its surroundings can go a long way toward getting a project approved. In this lesson we'll add an aerial underlay to a drawing. Let's say that I'm an architect, and I'm working for a property owner who owns a small piece of property in a downtown city. Currently, his site is used as a parking lot. What he would really like is to build a fast food restaurant on the property. On my screen is a drawing of the proposed restaurant site plan.
Now, since the property is so small, I'd like to place this drawing over an aerial photo such that I can show the owner that this design will work. To add the photo, I'm going to click the View tab, I will then select the Google Maps button. This inserts an aerial photo behind my drawing and brings up this tool that I can use to align the drawing to the image. The first thing I want to do is narrow down the scope of the image. I'll do that by clicking in the Search field, and I'll type an address.
I'll enter 1060 West Addison, Chicago, IL, and I'll press Enter. My site is just north of this address. I'm going to pan the drawing down. My site is located right here. I'm going to launch the Zoom Window command, and I will zoom in on the property.
I will then pan it over to the right side of the screen. I can then use the buttons on this tool to align my geometry to the photograph. Here is how it works. If I pan or zoom while the tool is open, I pan and zoom the photo only. If I want to reposition my geometry, I'll use these two buttons to adjust its location and size. It's important now that these buttons do not affect the actual size or coordinates of my line work, they only control its display to make it easier to align the geometry to the photo.
I'll start by clicking the Scale Drawing button, I will then click inside my line work, I'll pull this out, and click again to make the geometry smaller. Then I'll click the Place Drawing button, I'll pick the geometry up from the lower left end point, and I will center it on the existing property. Once I have a good view of both the site and my line work, I'm going to click the 2 Points button, and I'll click two points in the photo. I'll click the southwest corner, and then the northwest corner of the existing site, then I will select the corresponding points on my geometry, the endpoint here at the southwest corner, and then the endpoint at the northwest.
This will align my geometry to the image. When I'm finished, I'll click the Apply button to lock my geometry to the photo. After a few seconds, the drawing will reload and from now on if I pan or zoom, my geometry will stay with the photo. In the event I'd like to make adjustments to the alignment, I can always come back and click the Place Drawing button, make my changes, and click the Apply button. That being said, if you want to adjust the north rotation, you can see that mine is off here slightly. I'm going to set this value back to zero. To accept this value, I need to press the Enter key.
Once the background image has been finalized, I can use the Map Type menu to select an alternate image. For example, I'm going to select the Street map. Let's zoom out a little, and I'll pan the drawing up. You know, based on my current layer colors, it might also be a good idea to open the View mode menu and select a grayscale to make my geometry a little easier to see. Let's open the Map Type menu again, and I'll change this back to Satellite. I will then change the View mode back to as CAD model.
On occasion you'll notice if you change your map type, the geometry may lose connection with the photo. If this happens, simply pan slightly to reset. If you'd like to hide the display of the background image, you can toggle it on and off by clicking the Google Maps button. The best part about the Google Maps underlay is that it's saved with the file. So if I share this drawing with the property owner, he can easily review this design within the context of its surroundings. Sometimes a little visualization can go a long way toward getting a project approved.
Using the Google Maps feature, we can easily incorporate aerial photography into our drawings such that our customers can view a design in its proper context.
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