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IRREGULAR NETWORK (TIN) SURFACES
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED 5
This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. Section 119(e) of the following co-pending and commonly-assigned U.S. provisional patent application(s), which is/are incorpo- 10 rated by reference herein:
Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/507,062, filed Sep. 29, 2003, by Christopher Eric Putnam and Mark W. Anderson, entitled "PARCEL DESIGN AND PLANAR TOPOLOGY,";
Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/507,080, filed Sep. 29, 15 2003, by Sreenadha B. Godavarthy, John M. Lewis, Thomas M Inzinga, Edward James Connor, Robert Bruce Todd, Jr., and Christopher Eric Putnam, entitled "SURFACE PROCESSING,";
Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/506,975, filed Sep. 29, 20 2003, by Kumud Dev Vaidya, Michael C. Rogerson, and Bhamadipati S. Rao, entitled "HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT PROCESSING,"; and
Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/506,974, filed Sep. 29, 2003, by Kumud Dev Vaidya, Michael C. Rogerson, and 25 Bhamadipati S. Rao, entitled "VERTICAL ALIGNMENT PROCESSING,".
This application is related to the following co-pending and commonly-assigned patent applications, all of which are incorporated by reference herein: 30
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/954,526, filed on Sep. 29, 2004, by Christopher Eric Putnam and Mark W. Anderson, entitled "METHOD FOR DYNAMICALLY UPDATING A PLANAR TOPOLOGY",
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/954,542, filed on Sep. 35 29, 2004, by Christopher Eric Putnam and Mark W. Anderson, entitled "METHOD FOR AUTOMATICALLY DISCOVERING HIERARCHICAL RELATIONSHIPS IN PLANAR TOPLOGIES",
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/954,529, filed on Sep. 40 29, 2004, by Christopher Eric Putnam and Mark W. Anderson, entitled "INTERACTIVE METHOD FOR DESIGNING PARCELS",
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/953,806, filed on Sep. 29, 2004, by Sreenadha B. Godavarthy and John M. Lewis, 45 entitled "SURFACE SMOOTHING TECHNIQUES",
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/953,245, filed on Sep. 29, 2004, by John M. Lewis, Robert Bruce Todd, Jr., Edward James Connor, and Christopher Eric Putnam, entitled "SURFACE CONSTRUCTION AUDIT TRAIL AND MANIPU- 50 LATION",
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/953,807, filed on Sep. 29, 2004, by Kumud Dev Vaidya, Michael C. Rogerson, and Bhamadipati S. Rao, entitled "INTERACTIVE CONSTRAINT BASED ALIGNMENT OBJECTS", 55
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to computer aided 60 design (CAD) applications and geographic information systems (GIS), and in particular, to a method, apparatus, and article of manufacture for interactively editing a triangular irregular network (TIN) surfaces design.
2. Description of the Related Art 65 Computer aided design (CAD) applications are traditionally used for creating and editing drawings (e.g., maps, floor
plans, and engineering designs). Further, CAD applications enable users to create/modify highly precise and accurate drawings/maps. Civil engineers and surveyors, for whom precision and accuracy are of primary importance, have adopted CAD applications to speed data input and perform computations for design projects.
Geographic information systems (GIS) have been traditionally used for spatial analysis and mapping and allow users to store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and display geographically referenced data. In this regard, an arc/node data model is commonly used in the GIS industry to identify a polygon that is used in land analysis. The arc/node model enables efficient data storage and users to easily determine whether an object is inside or outside a polygon. However, traditional GIS have been aimed at general cartography and broad land-use analysis, and not precision design for the construction and management of real-world projects. In this regard, the geometric precision that many engineers require has not been provided by traditional GIS systems. Some GIS companies have attempted to use complex databases to model real-world objects. However, such databases are still built on points, lines, and polygons and cannot store geometric objects used in traditional CAD applications (e.g., true arcs or road spirals).
Many organizations have used both CAD and GIS tools in different departments to utilize the different specific features available. Further, data from original CAD drawings may be frequently imported or digitized for use in the GIS mapping environment. However, because of the limitations of GIS systems and/or CAD systems, during such a transition, data connectivity, accuracy, and geometric precision are often lost. Accordingly, what is needed is an integrated solution that provides the functionality and tools of a GIS system with the precision and accuracy of a CAD application.
In an attempt to address the above concerns, industry specific components were built on top of the CAD engine to address specialized needs and eventually, an integrated solution was developed (e.g., Autodesk MapTM or Autodesk Land DesktopTM software available from the assignee of the present invention). Integrated solutions attempt to provide GIS functionality (e.g., multiuser editing, polygon overlay and analysis, topology, thematic mapping, etc.) within a CAD application and spatial database. The integrated solution allows civil engineers the ability to integrate the precision engineering tasks (from CAD) (e.g., site, roadway, and hydrological design) with the spatial analysis tools and data management of GIS.
Some integrated solutions may provide solutions for a particular industry or field. For example, one such integrated solution may be tailored to land development professionals to provide a base level of functionality for land planners, surveyors, civil engineers, drafters, and anyone who creates supporting documents. Such an application may also provide a streamlined ability to communicate survey data to and from the field and/or provide transportation and site engineering tools, and hydrology and hydraulics design and analysis.
Drawings in an integrated solution are often associated with one or more projects and a single project can contain one or more drawings. In this regard, land development professionals may desire to generate a model of the earth's surface for a project. Such a surface model is a three-dimensional geometric representation of the surface of an area of land. Surface models may be made up of triangles that are created when points that make up the surface data are connected. The triangles may form a triangulated irregular network (TIN) surface. A TIN line is one of the lines that makes up the
surface triangulation. To create TIN lines, the surface points that are closest together may be connected.
The surface data used to obtain the surface points (i.e., for the surface map) may comprise random point data (points taken at a variety of elevations and coordinates), a selected 5 group of points, coordinate geometry (COGO) points (e.g., COGO point data stored in an external database 110), or points imported from a file. Alternatively, coordinates from blocks or lines at elevations in a drawing may be used.
In addition to points, surfaces may also be built from DEM 10 files (Digital Elevation Models), contour, breakline, and boundary data. The vertices of a contour may be used as surface points, or the contours may be treated as breaklines that prevent triangulation lines from crossing the contours.
To build a surface accurately, more information than points 15 and contours must be provided. For example, to prevent surface triangulation across features such as roads or stream, breaklines may be defined. Breaklines are constraint lines used by the model that represent abrupt changes in the surface. TIN lines may be drawn to and from breakline vertices, 20 but they do not cross the breakline. By including boundaries in the surface definition, a user can control how the surface extends to its outer limits, and internal areas may be hidden to prevent triangulation from occurring.
In addition to the above, when editing/manipulating a sur- 25 face, many operations may be conducted by a user. However, when an edit is made, or when data defining a TIN surface is made, the updates to the TIN surface may not be reflected in the display of the surface immediately. In this regard, the prior art systems may require a user to maintain knowledge of 30 which data defines a TIN surface and if such data is changed, the user must manually elect to update the TIN surface. Thus, prior art systems lack automation in updating TIN surfaces and lack flexibility in allowing the user to determine if and when such automation should occur. 35
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
One or more embodiments of the invention provide a technique for dynamically updating a TIN surface when edits are 40 made. If defining data is changed, the surface may be automatically rebuilt, with all graphical displays updated appropriately. Alternatively, if defining data is changed, the surface may merely be flagged as out-of-date. Whether the surface is automatically rebuilt or flagged as out-of-date may be depend 45 on whether an automatic rebuild option (that may be selectable by a user) is toggled on/off
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Referring now to the drawings in which like reference numbers represent corresponding parts throughout:
FIG. 1 is an exemplary hardware and software environment used to implement one or more embodiments of the invention; 55
FIG. 2 illustrates a graphical user interface window presented to the user to define definition items in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 3 illustrates an expanded build category section for defining options for definition items in accordance with one 60 or more embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 4 illustrates an expanded Data Operations category window for defining options for definition items in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 5 illustrates an expanded Edit Operations category 65 window for defining options for definition items in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention;
FIG. 6 illustrates an enlarged view of the definition list section for surface edit operations in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention; and
FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating the logical flow for updating a drawing surface when an edit operation is conducted in accordance with one or more embodiments of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and which is shown, by way of illustration, several embodiments of the present invention. It is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
FIG. 1 is an exemplary hardware and software environment used to implement one or more embodiments of the invention. Embodiments of the invention are typically implemented using a computer 100, which generally includes, inter alia, a display device 102, data storage devices 104, cursor control devices 106, and other devices. Those skilled in the art will recognize that any combination of the above components, or any number of different components, peripherals, and other devices, may be used with the computer 100.
One or more embodiments of the invention are implemented by a computer-implemented graphics program 108 (e.g., a CAD program), wherein the graphics program 108 is represented by a window displayed on the display device 102. Generally, the graphics program 108 comprises logic and/or data embodied in or readable from a device, media, carrier, or signal, e.g., one or more fixed and/or removable data storage devices 104 connected directly or indirectly to the computer 100, one or more remote devices coupled to the computer 100 via a data communications device, etc. Further, the graphics/ drawing program 108 may utilize a database 110 such as a spatial database.
Computer 100 may also be connected to other computers 100 (e.g., a client or server computer) via network 112 comprising the Internet, LANs (local area network), WANs (wide area network), or the like. Further, database 110 may be integrated within computer 100 or may be located across network 112 on another computer 100 or accessible device.
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the exemplary environment illustrated in FIG. 1 is not intended to limit the present invention. Indeed, those skilled in the art will recognize that other alternative environments may be used without departing from the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, FIG. 1 illustrates an integrated CAD and GIS system that combines the traditional capabilities of CAD and GIS tools with common spatial management features. In this regard, such an integrated solution enables the use of true geometry, precision, powerful creation and editing tools, and drawing and document production of a CAD system in addition to the GIS capabilities for polygons, topology, overlay analysis, seamless database use, and thematic mapping. Further, single or multiple users may integrate their workflow using such a system.
As described above, one or more embodiments of the invention is implemented in an integrated CAD/GIS system. The invention provides for updating a TIN surface when edits are made.