ECADLite: Another alternative to Microstation

The dgn format has been very stable, many GIS / CAD programs recognize it but editing it natively has always been a privilege of Microstation even though there have only been three variations of the format: IGDS, V7 and V8.

In the case of the dwg format, Microstation has managed to open and edit it natively, like all programs born under the line IntelliCAD. But the dgn format, the fact that Microstation is a software with a relatively smaller clientele compared to AutoCAD, very few applications have been seen, since the follies of the project Pangea Which are more oriented to "doing things" with dgn files but not to build data in a conventional way.

Ecadlite_logo eCADLite is one of those alternatives, a solution built by a former Intergraph and Bentley employee, built under the code of Pangea. Although, a Microstation user would not like its environment, limitations and that it only works with two dimensions; but it is an alternative for the case of a company that will not exploit more than 20% of Microstation's potential, whose more “light” version does not fall below $ 1,000 (PowerDraft).

ECADLite was released 2000 year, although it operates V8 formats, many of its characteristics seem to have remained in the interface of V7, but has some things that have to be recognized as merits:

Print microstation It looks like Windows

As I said, a specialized Microstation user might not like this, but someone who needs to edit dgn files and is familiar with Windows might find it attractive. And it is that Microstation continues to maintain certain "own conventions" in the use of icons that often scare away the new user, although sustaining them consistently has helped it maintain fidelity by focusing its changes on the capabilities before the interface.

See the graphic on the right, how the conventional Office icons have been integrated for Microstation commands. hehe

Improves the most ugly of Microstation

It's not a big deal, but the creator of eCADLite started to think about things that Microstation does well but in an unconventional way. An example of this is printing, which although recently improved from XM, many still prefer to build layouts in AutoCAD; tooPrint microstation the handling of blocks (cells) that can be edited directly and with a better navigation environment, and what to say about sizing: eCADLite implements it in a quite practical way. Even the redline has more capabilities to customize the display and control features.

Edits dgns natively

Although the dgn is a very stable format over time, AutoCAD until its latest version incorporated the option to import it into a dwg. eCADLite can read both a V7 and V8 dgn, although only in two dimensions. You can also reference dwg, dxf, and raster files.

Dgn files, print sheets and redlines can be built under axp format projects for better control.

Low price

The price goes for $ 300, apart from eCADLite there are other GraphStore applications, which give it another type of potential, such as:

  • Asset2000.  This is an environment similar to the functionality of ProjectWise (but in miniature), in which you can do pirouettes such as linking vector data to databases, quantifying or associating external files.


  •  AssetX. This has the Asset functionalities, but additionally because it works through ActiveX it can be integrated into the web or its own developments on other platforms.

eCADLite can be downloaded from the GraphStore website as a trial version. Although the activation code is late.

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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