…then you might like this.  For those of you who don’t have Google Earth Pro, I found an application that will automatically download and stitch together Google map tiles (as well as Microsoft maps).  This means you can create a high resolution image of your map area, limited only by the maximum zoom level of Google Maps.

Here’s what you need:

gMapMaker, available here.  (latest version is as of this writing)

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Command Line slowness

Summer’s over!  I’m back from my vacations and forays into the world of pavement inspection.  Time to do some blogging.

I noticed that AutoCAD was ignoring certain keypresses occasionally.  For instance, when I was in the middle of a pline command, I’d type “cen” but “cn” would appear in the command line.  So I did a little googlin’ and came across this thread.  I wasn’t quite satisfied with the answer (what’s the point of dual monitors if I can’t display the non-modal windows on my second monitor?), so I played around a little bit and I think I found a solution.

In AutoCAD 2009 and onward, there are two command line windows, one that you access with F2, and one that you can access by typing “commandline” or hitting CTRL+9.  I prefer the F2 one because it is quicker to toggle on and off.  So I put the F2 command line window on my secondary monitor, and I noticed that I had tried to put the CTRL+9 command line window there as well, then turned it off.  Well, apparently AutoCAD still thinks it is there, because when I turned it back on and then docked it, the keypress delay disappeared.  Problem solved!  Now, with the CTRL+9 command line docked, I can turn it off, and the delay is still gone.

I tested this in Civil 3D 2009; I’m not sure if it will work in other versions.  Please let me know if it does or doesn’t solve your problem.

Civil 3D Data Shortcuts

The latest issue of AUGI World has a great article by Donnie Gladfelter about Civil 3D Data Shortcuts.  There is also some really useful info at the end of the article about saving memory and regen time.  Highly recommended for Civil 3D users.

Layout Selector

QVLAYOUT is a handy command,for sure.  It lets us hide our layout and model space tabs, recovering valuable screen real estate, and it provides a nice thumbnail view of each layout.  But it takes a few extra milliseconds to generate the thumbnails, and if you know you want to go to the first layout (which is often the case) and you are a keyboard commando, you might find this LISP routine useful.  It’s called LayoutNav.  Props to Lee Ambrosius for writing this back in 2003.

Load it up with APPLOAD, then you can use the command “FirstLayout” to jump right to the first layout tab.  I used ALIASEDIT to alias “L1” to “FirstLayout”, so it’s EVEN QUICKER.  I’m into efficiency, if you haven’t noticed.

Next week: How to convince your clone to write your blog for you.


PDFCreator is a free, open source printer driver that allows you create PDF files without the need for any Adobe software.  I use it all the time, using Acrobat only to crop and rotate my PDFs.  It features auto-naming and auto-saving, so it is great for batch plotting.  Check it out.

Blog Roundup

There’s some useful info out there:

Dave Dixon has some really useful info on Speeding Up Civil 3D.  I suspect these tips will work for vanilla AutoCAD as well.

Ellen Finkelstein on Clipping Blocks

Justin Zeimba on the downsides of ClearType

Donnie Gladfelter shows us how to Create Blocks with Multiple Insertion Points

Shaan Hurley links hatches to tables

Aleksandr Smirnov has a nice collection of LISP routines

[update 9-Sep-2015: the AutoCAD coordinizer was down for a while, now it is back! More info here.]

Happy New Year!  I’m back, and I have present for you.

I’m proud to reveal my latest bit of coding handiwork, the AutoCAD Coordinizer.  I originally created this in PHP, but didn’t have a free web host for it, so I just ported it to Python and put it on Google’s Apps site.

What it does, basically, is take the output of a LIST or ID command (or series of commands) and extract the X and Y values, placing them in a handy list.  I wrote it to simplify the creation of coordinate tables.

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