With more construction bid sets being issued in Portable Document Format (PDF), more companies find themselves in the position of needing to generate estimating and construction data from these files. Carlson Software now provides tools to import PDF files into a drawing as either an image or as CAD linework. These tools are available exclusively through Carlson Takeoff 2010 and the new Carlson Construction 2010.
To import a PDF file into your CAD drawing, go to the Tools pull-down menu, then choose Import/Export, then choose Import PDF. You will be prompted to select whether you want the file imported as a background image or as linework. If you choose the linework option, it will automatically convert the elements of the PDF image into separate polylines. Please note, since this is an automatic conversion, it may take a while, so be patient as it processes.
Once the polylines have been brought into the drawing, you can use the standard clean-up tools to assign elevation information to these polylines. These tools can elevate polylines representing contours (single elevations) as well as those representing breaklines (varying elevations). This can be done with most of the Carlson desktop software modules including Takeoff, Construction, Survey, and Civil.
Once the polylines have been updated with the elevation information, they can be used to create surface models for design, estimating, staking, or machine control. This procedure can literally save hours of time that used to be spent manually recreating the information released as paper drawings or PDF files. Digitizing may have become a thing of the past!