Geospatial - GISIntelliCADManifold GISMicrostation-Bentley

Testing a Netbook in CAD / GIS


A few days ago I had considered testing that such a Netbook works in the geomatic environment, in this case I have been testing the Acer One that some rural technicians commissioned me to buy on a visit to the city. The test helped me to decide if in my next acquisition I invest in another high-performance HP or if these new solutions may be viable.

The team

These machines are not designed for processes that consume enough resources, however does not mean that they do not have enough capacity:

  • 1GB RAM memory
  • 160 GB hard drive
  • 10 screen ''
  • It has three USB ports, port for Datashow, wireless connection, multiple cards and for audio / microphone.

The keyboard is slightly smaller, no problem for those who write with two fingers (like a chicken eating corn) but if when we were kids we took a typing course, you want to get used to it for a while. Somewhat annoying the scroll keys and the handling of the mouse with the finger that is half deranged; right dragging has zoom functionality but buttons are too hard to press; I think it would be better to work with an external mouse.

The main reason to decide that this is not a team for hard work, is because of the size of the screen that tires the eyes, it is good for traveling but to spend eight hours breaking the coconut with vectors and a black background ... not I think. Although it has a port to connect a monitor in case of using it in the office.

As for software, it comes with Windows XP, which is good for the little resource consumption, although it is the Home Edition pro version that does not bring IIS ... Evil for Manifold. It also comes with a 60-day version of Office 2007, and in case the flies comes with Microsoft Works, which is always from Microsoft but at a very low price.

Working with CAD

I have run on this Microstation Geographics V8, connected to an Access database via ODBC. Gentlemen, it works without much inconvenience, Bentley Map feels heavier but not to the extreme.

Loading six .ecw orthophotos of 11 MB each, not bad. 22 cadastral maps dgn 1: 1,000… no problem.

Convert an ecw to hmr ... ogh! here the good begins, the machine in this does not have high performance but it finally achieved it in 2:21 minutes, it converted an ecw from 8MB to 189 MB hmr, an absurd conversion, I know but this format runs very fast in Microstation. I don't think it's ideal to work with Tiff because of the weight, but it could be an itif option that has extra capabilities.

Definitely, with Microstation this small machine is fine, although there are others that have an NVidia card that surely makes them have better results.


For light programs, like Microstation I see it well. I don't think gvSIG with its recent changes will work unless the guys optimize resource consumption by working with many layers or connecting to OGC services.

Acer aspire one

I am satisfied for what my use would entail: I have charged you Microstation V8, BitCAD, Manifold GIS, Avira, Microsoft WorksLive Writter, Foxit y Chrome. After a week I am satisfied as a frequent traveler, blogger and CAD / GIS hobbyist… too bad it was on loan.

For the $ 400 this toy is worth, I don't see it as a bad investment, but consider the return that others can expect. It is a good alternative thinking that it can be carried in the internal bag of the jacket or jacket, since the size is that of an agenda, while it becomes safer to carry it in the middle of a folder, less risk than carrying a Targus briefcase in environments where all criminals assume they are inside.

It is also necessary to consider the cons, because although its weight is very manageable, by not bringing CDrom it is necessary to include this accessory as an extra; With the 8GB USB, the installation of programs does not look so complex but if it were necessary to format it or detoxify it from a criminal virus ... I have my doubts. If we add the AA battery wireless mouse and graphics tablet… it will probably become almost as heavy as a 14 ”

If you were to buy a high-performance PC, those $ 500 Compaq are over 2GB of RAM, with Intel Duo and individual graphics card. The truth is that for the short time that netbooks have been around from ASSUS, surely in a year and a half we will have very robust machines in these miniature formats.

Website: Acer Aspire One

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. It depends, if it is just to do exercises, you will not feel much slowness.

    But if it is to do a lot of work, that equipment is not suitable, it feels slow and the size of the screen tires the view.

  2. Hi, how are you? Very good, the report took me many doubts before my purchase. I ask you a question, I'm studying visual sudio 2010 and autocad, do you think that with that machine you could work well?

    Thank you

  3. Sure should be able to run because those versions were very light, I estimate that even 2002 versions can run well on this machine.

  4. Sorry, you know if AutoCad 2000i can run normally (nothing of 3d) in this type of notebook.
    Greetings and very good Blog

  5. Hehehe I have an aspire one, the model just below the one you tried, but with 512 RAM and an SSD disk of 8GB.

    I would not use it as a workstation, especially for the keyboard that although it is not at all uncomfortable if it tires when you take a long time.

    On the other hand in a team like mine, XP would go just and anyway I do not like. I've put a Debian with the minimum and it works light and agile for what I want it: surf the internet, mail, chat, write some document and if necessary set some smokes.

    As it was a gift I do not complain, now surely I would look for one with more battery, maybe something more RAM and given any case an inch more screen. A bug of these with 6 or 7 hours of autonomy are a real joy.

    In any case, at home I have already put on a 19” monitor, what I call “the glasses” of the little one 🙂


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