Geospatial - GISMicrostation-Bentley

Bentley Map Could It Be More Difficult?

The move from Microstation Geographics to Bentley Map supposes an improvement of functionalities that that tool was doing, and of course, trying to gain strength by winning users of other solutions such as MapInfo, ArcView, and now a whole list of low-priced and open source programs .

Right now that I am working with a regular-sized municipality that wants to implement a GIS solution, they asked me to propose a brand to them. I explained to them that this does not work like that, that they are the ones who must decide, so we sat down to measure expectations, between what they want to do, the money they have and the sustainability alternatives available to their inevitable routine of changing people every four years for political issues.

After looking at different solutions, we conclude that they do not want open source or little known software. Because they are users who come from ArcView 3x and Microstation J, they were interested in knowing how easy it is to implement a spatial database, I showed them how ESRI's ArcCatalog worked, they asked basic questions about why ArcSDE was necessary and what difference was there between ArcIMS and GIS Server. When I started the explanation of the Geospatial Administrator of Bentley Map they listened to me out of respect, but in the end, Traroscaron the eyes Average to Like Garfield and they told me in their hearts what others had told me before:

Could not it be more complicated?

To date, Geographics users have problems To migrate to Bentley Map, not only because of what it implies in the change Data or reconstruction of custom tools, but also because the Readme it is not enough and there are no guided tutorials explaining the order to follow. For example:

Understanding what to do in the Geospatial Administrator, in which user, how to configure domains, how to create forms to feed the dgn xml, is not so intuitive. Just understanding the Criteria-Operation-Method-UI relationship of terms is kind of difficult at 3am.

Not to mention the execution from the Map side, with the Command Manager and Map Manager.

Bentley map What happens is that the user of Geographics hopes to find the buttons as it was before -Which were not many by the way-.

The Map Manager took what was the Display Manager, Topological Analysis is now called Overlay, and for this same place the Buffer and thematic mapping went. If that is not looked for with a magnifying glass, anyone can think that Bentley Map does not have this type of functions.

Then the Feature Manager was in the right side panel known as Command Manager, from where features cannot be turned off or on but only created. There is no way to apply or remove attributes like that ... in conclusion, difficult for the most experienced.

I must admit, this sense of bewilderment has not changed in several years, when it was first shown to me before it was called that.

It was at the 2004 users' conference, when the potential of Xml FEature Markup (XFM), which already ran on Geographics 8.5. Later it was called the Bentley Map, starting with XM 8.9, and they called all of the above legacy. At this point, we were interested in its potential, but in the impression that it was still a crude tool, we decided to rebuild routines that were done in Geographics.

The videos shown below were made in 2005, from the development on Visual Basic from Microstation (VBA) that a very eager boy did, while Bentley integrated these functionalities in XM, of which I talked to you guys ago few days.


From Geographics to xfm. Having a schema created, it was programmed to make a transfer of layers, from the Geographics project mounted on Oracle, they defined which features were wanted and built them taking the data in xml on the same dgn. The intention was for the municipality to have the data in the dgn, without complicating life with a database where there was hardly any connectivity.
Export the cadastral layer. As in the previous case, the maps of a municipality could be exported, the basic data that were of interest for the xfm layer went as xml to the dgn, including the cadastral key based on sectorization. With this, it was expected that they could do maintenance, and then centrally reconcile data that differed and that became maintenance transactions.
Attach maps of a municipality. What this tool did was load from a fence, all the maps that geographically coincided with that geometry, all from the two layers created in the previous step. Similar to what the Map Manager used to do with what was registered in the Vicinity.
Turn off and on layers.  The Map Manager brings this functionality, but by then we had no other source than Geographics with the Display Manager, but in this case with XFM layers.
Topological analysis. With this, what had been done was to reconstruct the functionalities of creation of topologies and analysis Which had Geographics. I could create layers of points, lines, polygons, and then make crosses between them gener
I'm running an html report. Later it was integrated into the Map Manager, but I think never with that facility.
Thematic. This now comes in the Map Manager, if Feature classes are created, but before Geographics brought it loose and as such it was developed.
Custom thetics.  This was from Oracle database attributes, even if they were not embedded in the XFM data. As in Geographics you were allowed to create it as dgn.
Search by attributes. With this a search of some criteria was made, and it was colored when selected. It also allowed to send the report to html.
Socioeconomic survey. It happens that several municipalities had in addition to the cadastral file a socioeconomic survey, what we did was that from the Oracle base, a button made the data transfer to the xfm layer. Based on the theming criteria, he could place a different cell, taking advantage of what is called in the project "Criteria".
Transfer to the centroid. Also, as the municipality, based on certain criteria, was placing a different symbol on the centroid, it was programmed that the data from the socioeconomic survey could be transferred to this centrolid. Of course, since the sheet that represented the survey was too big, the adjustable dialog box had to be left at both ends, to make the video was crazy because of the screen size.
Avoiding the Geospatial Administrator. Understanding how it works is extremely complex, I told the programmer to take the horrible thing out of it, so from the map side it was possible to create a new attribute, assign the type, symbology and even a dialog box with properties. We also gave you the option of being able to edit a feature already created and even apply changes to objects already created previously.
Great Smoke, this Bentley should implement it as it is literally a toothache Do it from there.
Load data from Visual Fox. There was a system in the municipality called SIIM, which had the cadastral file data under a massive appraisal methodology and under a cadastral key nomenclature based on quadrants. Well, what we did was create a form that would read the data from the dbf, but from the xfm map in Microstation.
Web publishing. Publishing functionality was added using Geoweb Publisher, lifting data on the fly from the layers available in xfm.

All the above was done with Microstation VBA with an installer that left everything running, the XFM project and even Geo Web Publisher.

Because I'm not happy about this:

First, because there was no opportunity to systematize the process, just make the videos. He would gladly have taken us to the BE Awards in 2007, we sure got a nomination as it was the first development on XFM.

Then, as far as I know, only a couple of municipalities came to implement it, because government projects are sad after every 4 years.

Finally, because Bentley needs -in these 2008 versions- improve the ease of operation of Bentley Map, which to be a GIS tool -In my opinion-, it is not ready for a person to buy the package, take the manual, seek help in the forums and implement a system.

In conclusion, the friends went for another solution, despite its costs.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. The development was done on the Visual Basic platform that brings Microstation, with the 8.5 version, and ran on Geographics 8.5 and XFM that already brought that version.

    The database was Oracle, the Bentley Project Wise map management and the Bentley Geoweb Publisher publication.

    I do not know if there is any referent on the web where you can find material on that development, but as far as I can I could collaborate.

    Editor (at)

  2. I would like to know how they did the modules and what they programmed everything with and if you could tell me where I can in a guide about what you did I am in a project similar to yours but with microstation geographics v8 and you need to do something like that thanks for your support

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