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A graduate of CAD college may go on to become an architectural CAD technician, a career which combines the work of an architect and a building technologist to provide building design services. With new technologies such as computer-assisted drafting (CAD) now available to architects, the way we build and develop the land has evolved. While planning and design are the core components of the job, architectural technicians must also consider how their projects will impact the environment. Here are a few of the tools and strategies they use to preserve and protect natural resources during the conception and execution of new designs:

Land-use Planning

Land use planning is a branch of urban planning which involves the regulation of land use in an efficient and ethical manner. Land-use planning assesses land and water potential, as well as economic and social conditions which may affect the construction of buildings. Successful land-use planning today involves practical planning and design, the analysis of environmental conditions and financially feasible strategies for design implementation. The software used in today’s CAD drafting courses has become standard for the conceptual planning and design of buildings. A major planning tool incorporated into CAD software allows technicians to superimpose building plans onto pre-existing environments, forecasting what the land would look like if the proposed design were to be constructed.

Landscape Planning

Landscape planning was developed after unanticipated mineral damage began to cause environmental problems in rural areas. A landscape design is called a site plan and involves an architectural plan and an engineering drawing for proposed changes to a piece of land. Using design technology taught in architectural CAD courses, these site plans usually dictate the arrangement of buildings, parking, building footprints, lighting, and landscaping. Urban planning will use many of the same techniques as landscape planning, including the use of CAD programming, however usually involves a larger environment on a less detailed scale.

The Integration of GIS and CAD

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer-based systems which capture, store and analyze geographical information of a region. Although CAD design is engineering-based and GIS is more cartographic, the two digital programs have become complementary. Integration of the two has in many ways grown out of the need for people to have more intricate details about where things are located and what information is available for these areas. GIS is a great tool for analyzing and visualizing geographic data and allows cartographers to easily identify characteristics like poor pavement conditions through the use of digital color-coding. CAD, however, can be used to map out the information required for construction, which ensures drawings meet design parameters. In terms of land development, using both CAD and GIS will give an architectural technician the information needed to plan building construction around important environmental considerations.