New vectors Software displays multiple views and grabs selected contours.

A new release of an earthwork estimating tool should make tracing contours on most site plans obsolete. Replacing tracing, the software allows a user to click on the end of a line to extract vector data from CAD files and—remarkably—many commonly distributed PDFs.

InSite Software released SiteWork 11 on Jan. 24. The product's new automated, vector-based contour-tracing function is quite different from the contrast-based automated tracers available in previous versions, which are easily fooled by intersecting lines. By importing a CAD file or first-generation, vector-based PDF and clicking a button called "Get Vectors," the user can click on the end of a contour line—even a dotted one—and select the whole line at once. This greatly speeds the process of making cut-and-fill calculations and estimating, thanks to the automation of a process that usually takes up to 80% of an end user's time.

"I haven't seen anything like it, and we've been doing earthwork and dirtwork for over 25 years," says Tara Pula, an estimator at Walsh Estimating, East Stroudsburg, Pa., and a beta tester. "We haven't ever had a product that does this. It's very cool. I get happy and surprised every time I use it. It's following background information in the file that we were never able to utilize before." n