"It was perfect..." and other comments from engine users

... Just wanted to pass on my regards for The Engine. The Engine has saved our region tens of thousands of dollars in data conversion, manipulation and editing time. Being able to quickly train student, summer help with theEngine and ArcView has only saved even more money. The alternative was trying to train them all season on ArcInfo in hopes they could be productive by seasons end.

The first thing I do every morning, after coffee, is initiate ArcView with The Engine and then count my blessings for finding the engine when I did. I can truly say it has been a career booster.

.....My boss has been ecstatic. Using ArcView, theEngine, and some other scripts I have accomplished more in 6 months than the last GIS person did in two years; contracting out 0% as opposed to about 30% of the work. Progress and money savings!

Scott Miller
N.E.Oregon (GIS/MIS) Manager
Boise Cascade Corp.
La Grande, Oregon

I am a GIS/GPS Consultant and have been using theEngine since 1995. I use theEngine ALL the time. In fact I just returned from a clients, who I have not been able to convince to buy it yet, and was very frustrated that I could not do on their machine what I can on mine with theEngine loaded. I started out as an Arc/Info user and used to be pretty frustrated with the limited editing capability of ArcView. Once I started using theEngine this frustration went away and I very rarely have a need to use Arc/Info.

There are so many helpful utilities in it it would take me too long to describe all the ways I use it. Some of the functionality is no different than what you can do with standard ArcView, but it allows you to do these steps with a minimum number of mouse clicks (e.g. adding new fields to a table, without having to leave your View.) or having to remember some Avenue function (e.g. recalculating area, perimeter or x,y coordinates). You will find similar utilities on different extensions available on ArcScripts but you will need to load 2 or 3 of these to get just some of the utilities bundled together with theEngine.

It may take you a while to get the hang of moving things between shapefiles and graphics and back to shapefiles as you edit and create data. But once you get the hang of it and the right thinking process with it you will wonder how you survived without it.

Mel Fisher who writes theEngine continues to add new capabilities all the time. I have used some of the 'Z' and 'M' value utlities he has added but still have a long way to go to knowing how to use all of the functionality he has created.

The time saving and ease of use utilities alone will pay for the software let alone the additional data editing and creating capabilies you will gain without having to become an Avenue programmer.

Mike Bobbitt
Mike Bobbitt & Associates
Sonoma, CA

We have used theEngine extensively and found it to be a very powerful and easy-to-use tool, which has greatly expanded our ArcView analysis capabilities. I can recommend theEngine without hesitation.

Joe Castiglione, GIS/Transportation Analyst
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
San Francisco, CA

I work for Weyerhaeuser in a timberlands operations as a Planning Forester. I have used the engine to manipulate and extract data from the sets we use within our planing department. We have to levels of data, 1:20,000 and 1:5,000. The 1:20,000 data is managed by our GIS department using ARC/INFO and I access this information by converting each layer into Shapefiles so that the information can be used for edits and creation of new data. The 1:5,000 data, or site level mapping, was created using Micro-Station and is not polygonal. I require the engine to access this data and can, using the engine, convert into workable, polygonal if required, data sets. It enables me to be as efficient in arcview as someone in arcinfo without knowing all the line codes. There is a learning curve, which I am still on, on how all the functions in theEngine work. I learn new ways of dealing with the data as the problems come up.

Although I believe how you solve problems in the world of GIS is limited to the techniques you have acquired and know, every time I get stumped, the engine's solution, with Mel's help, proves to be the most efficient. Also I believe the scripts in the engine to be superior to other program available, freeware or payware, for example I have compared the buffering capabilities in Xtools to theEngine and the results speak for themselves. The engine always provides a better result.

Shawn H McLennan
Salvage Forester
West Island Timberlands

We are a small forestry consulting company utilizing MicroStation and ArcView for digital mapping and GIS projects. An opportunity became available to work on a project originally designed for ArcInfo, however the cost and training involved prohibited us from incorporating ArcInfo GIS.

We then sought alternative solutions and came across ArcView 3.1, but specifically needed to build polygon topology and automatically link attribute information from existing MicroStation CAD files. The solution to our needs, and cost limitations existied in theEngine. It was perfect for both the added functionality it supplies to ArcView, and as a effective tool for dealing with CAD file incorportation into ArcView.

It allowed us to accomplish the projects in a cost effective manner and fully utilize the advantages of our CAD and desktop GIS software packages.

Terry Magnusson
CAD, GIS, Computer Systems Manager
Montane Forest Consultants Ltd.
100 Mile House, B.C.

My original message was concerning the conversion of polylines to polygons. Many thanks to all those who sent back suggestions. The polyline2polygon script that comes with arcview could not handle the complex polylines that I had. The CAD files are of parcel maps and my customer wanted to be able to query his maps according to the parcel area. The solution that I finally got to work was a extension called "theEngine".

This thing is a God send. It took all my CAD files in and spit out nice pretty polygons.

Another tidbit of information is that I tried to use the geoprocessing wizard to combine the parcel numbers with the parcel polygons in AV....IT DID NOT WORK! For some strange reason AV would only let me combine the polygon information into the parcel number location information. After playing around with "theEngine I found out it would let me combine table information and even allowed to select diferent fields while omitting others. The whole thing was highly configurable. The thing that surprised is that only two people knew about "theEngine" and one of them created "theEngine"! Again .. thanks to everybody who sent back suggestions.

Glenn Paul
Applied Geographic Solutions

We do a lot with a pretty small budget GIS. Our firm (planners/landscape architects) works with the local municipal gis databases including county assessor parcel layers (250,000+ lots), land use, zoning, base lots, topo, aerial layers - using AV3.2 and theEngine. Our equipment initially was Dell 450 workstations with 528M ram and 16M video ram, but now I use a dual-2000mH Dell with 1 gig ram and 32 meg video ram. Fast equipment really helps - I think that GIS equipment benefits from lots of ram and fast hard disks (we have 10k scsi hdd's) more than any other improvement. I, too, would like to have AI but no way is that happening, and I am not sure I need it since I seem to be able to do what I need with what I have.

I recommend to people that for the price of AV3.2 and theEngine, you can achieve a lot of GIS processing and analysis for a real reasonable cost. The limits are primarily the limits of your creativity and your equipment. Bigger and more expensive software is not necessarily better - you can spend a ton of money for software and add-ons when usually you only use a few features. We have a variety of expensive, reasonable, cheap and free GIS software, and I primarily use AV3.2 and theEngine. theEngine has a web page at www.geokinetic.com - you should check it out to see all its spatial features.

And, to possibly help prove my point that you do not have to spend a fortune to do a decent job, our firm's GIS analysis of the Albuquerque downtown area on old Route 66 is the lead article in the 1999 ESRI book "GIS for Landscape Architects", for what that is worth...

Candice Kjobech
Sites Southwest
Albuquerque, NM

............. I am an "Engine" user. This extension has been beneficial to our company and clients with the respect to streamlining our GIS projects. We primarily use the "Engine" for processing spaghetti line work into Topologically correct data and database generation. There are other tools that we periodically use to assist us in thematic mapping projects for our clients.
I would recommend "theEngine" to anyone who uses ArcView.
It is an essential tool in any day to day operation of a GIS department.
Should you require further information, you can e-mail me at

Darrin Heisler, AScT., GIS Analyst
Shortreid Terrain Data Ltd.
Langley, B.C.

...... one of the GIS analysts here, uses theEngine regularly and is quite happy. We found that it is quite a powerful took and provides us with 90+% of the functionality of ArcINFO at a small fraction of the price. We, like most, do not make full use of A/I, and as more schools are using AV, we find this a very useful approach.

Thanks for your interest and please keep in touch.
Dr. Al Karlin
Biological Research Associates

My experiences with the ArcView extension 'theEngine' are positive only. As a mid-sized civil engineering, planning and architectural company we are dealing with GIS projects of different sizes. 'theEngine' delivers us very effective tools for the fast data assembly of our ArcView GIS projects. In addition I found the occasional hotline support exceptional competent. Geokinetics Systems Inc. does a great job!

Peter Oetliker, LSIT

I have found theEngine to be an indispensable tool when using ArcView, in fact these tools should have been included in ArcView when ESRI wrote it! Patterson & Dewar Engineers, Inc. sells an electric utility application/extension for ArcView in which theEngine is an integral piece for the editing of facility and landbase themes.

Doug Malinowski
GIS Director
Patterson & Dewar Engineers, Inc
Decatur, GA

I took a polygon with known errors of duplicate nodes, bowties, and overlapping polys and realized that an ordinary building of polygons takes care of this automatically. I am always amazed with your great product!
Russell Moore
Computer Programmer - Mapping Software
Provincial Airlines Limited
St. John's, NF, Canada