By Bill Burchard
era of hand-held devices is well underway. Companies such as HP and
Compaq now offer very powerful and reasonably priced Pocket PCs. HP's
Jornada and Compaq's iPAQ, run the Windows CE operating system, offering
users a variety of useful tools and features that you can take with
you virtually anywhere.
Until recently, these devices were used to help manage email, calendars,
and task lists, maybe to check out a few web sites, and even to play
a hand or two of Solitaire. However, with the introduction of PocketCAD
Pro, hand-held computer capabilities now include CAD.
1. PocketCAD Pro allows you view and edit AutoCAD drawings using
your Pocket PC.
Similar to AutoCAD
LT in terms of its targeted audience, PocketCAD Pro, by Arc Second,
is intended to help you perform the most common drawing editing features
you need. More importantly, it's designed so you can take your AutoCAD
drawings with you and edit
them on the go. Whether you're traveling to a meeting, inspecting
a site design in the field, or just want to redline a set of drawings
from your easy chair, with PocketCAD Pro, your drawings are always
in the palm of you hand.
Pro, shown in Figure 1, works with AutoCAD DWG and DXF files, and
can read drawing formats from Release 12 through 2000i. To import
a file to PocketCAD Pro, with your Pocket PC synched to your computer,
you simply drag a drawing file from your desktop to your Pocket PC.
As the drawing is transferred, PocketCAD Pro automatically converts
it to PocketCAD Pro's own *.CAD file format. When you finish editing,
you copy the file back to you computer's desktop, where PocketCAD
Pro converts the *.CAD file to a DXF file.
Pocket CAD includes
many standard AutoCAD features. With PocketCAD Pro, you can draw lines,
arcs, circles, and polylines. You can create, edit, redefine, and
insert blocks, as well as create and attach block attributes. You
can trim and extend lines, and move, copy, and rotate objects. PocketCAD
Pro can even draw horizontal, vertical, and aligned dimensions, and
also insert and edit text. It also has Zoom and Pan features, including
Zoom Window, Zoom Extents, and Zoom Previous.
2. PocketCAD Pro allows you to enter both relative and absolute
coordinates and distances.
Pro lets you work with AutoCAD's layers, allowing you to create new
layers, make another layer current, and to change a layer's name,
color, or its On/Off status. PocketCAD Pro also includes AutoCAD's
object snaps, allowing you to preset the osnaps that you desire. With
osnaps turned on, pick points snap to objects just as they do in AutoCAD.
Pro uses two methods for identifying points. The first method involves
simply picking a point on screen. If osnaps are turned on, as you
drag your crosshairs around, they snap to the appropriate points on
an object, such as a line's endpoints. The second method involves
specifying exact coordinates and distances, and PocketCAD Pro allows
you to identify both relative and absolute values, as shown in Figure
Pro allows you to display and edit an object's properties. Similar
to Release 2000's Properties dialog box, when activated, the selected
object's properties are displayed, as shown in Figure 3. Once displayed,
you can edit the object's properties as desired. When you save your
changes, PocketCAD Pro updates the object's properties to reflect
to understand that PocketCAD Pro is not full-blown AutoCAD, nor is
that what its designers intended. PocketCAD Pro is specifically designed
to allow you to edit drawings on a Pocket PC. Given the memory limitations
of Pocket PCs, PocketCAD Pro handles certain AutoCAD
3. PocketCAD Pro allows you to view and edit object properties.
in unique ways, and has limitations. For
example, while PocketCAD Pro can work with xrefs, it does so by converting
xrefs attached to a drawing into blocks and inserting them into the
drawing. So, if you drag a drawing with an xref from your desktop
to your Pocket PC, the xref is inserted into the parent drawing as
More importantly, when the drawing is moved from your Pocket PC back
to your desktop, the xref still resides in the drawing as a block,
and the reference to the original xref is lost. Additionally, when
you move a drawing from your Pocket PC back to your desktop, the drawing
is converted to a Release 12 DXF format.
While this approach ensures compatibility with all AutoCAD drawings
from Release 12 through Release 2000i, it also means that objects
unique to the newer releases of AutoCAD, such as lwpolylines, are
not recognized. Also, PocketCAD Pro does not recognize Paper Space,
and only imports Model Space objects.
These features notwithstanding, when used as intended, objects in
the original drawings can be wblocked to PocketCAD Pro, where edits
can be made. Then, the edits can be inserted back into the original
drawing using the Release 12 DXF file. This means that minor edits
such as design adjustments or As-Built notations can be accurately
made in the field, and then inserted into the original drawing file
back in the office.
stated, PocketCAD Pro is AutoCAD on a Pocket PC. When used as designed,
to augment and compliment AutoCAD, PocketCAD Pro is an excellent tool,
making this application a worthwhile investment. I
like PocketCAD Pro, and I think it's a very promising application.