Maps Plugin – Insert Satellite Images or Street Maps in Your DWG Drawings

Get free maps service for ARES Commander subscribers. Search for any address and get street maps and satellite images to insert in the background of your drawings. This professional map service is developed in collaboration with Esri, the world leader for GIS solutions. Maps are geo-referenced and offer different levels of details depending on the zoom factor. You can draw on top of these base maps or use the inquiry tools to collect the coordinates of a specific point, the area of a specific selection, or the distance between two points. This plugin requires Internet service and is free with a valid ARES subscription.

MAPS Plugin for ARES Commander

MAPS for ARES Commander is a plugin that comes pre-installed from ARES Commander 2020. Although to access it, you need an up-to-date subscription of the program. Here the different functions of the Plugin appear. Select the “Locate” command. In the palette, we look for a Tokyo address. we find 3 places but we still don’t see any map, because we haven’t selected any services yet. We activate it, for example, AERIAL. We double click on the first of the options. Here we have an image of the address we are looking for. Note that when zooming, the map is updated, loading more areas on demand.

Note also that the level of detail is changing depending on the zoom factor. The image we are seeing is an image streaming from the Internet-based map service. It is not inserted as an image in our ARES Commander drawing but the advantage is that it is updating as we zoom in or out. If we want part of that map to remain in our drawing, we have to make a capture of the area of interest.

For this, we use the “INSERT” tool. Note that by pressing the down arrow on our keyboard, we can choose the quality of the image that we are going to capture this tool allows us to define the window that we want to transform into an image for our drawing. After clicking, the possibility of choosing the quality of the image we are going to obtain appears. We choose “Optimal.” Then asks us if we want to locate the resulting image above or below the map. In this case, we choose “TOP”.We define the window with which we are going to work, with two opposite clicks.

Changing Map Type through properties

Now we can select the image, through its border, and in the properties, we may change the “Map Type”, To another option. We can also change the resolution, although this option is available depending on the place. Other times it depends on the zoom we have on the image, that is, how close we are to a certain area.

Also, note that in this image we can change the brightness and contrast.which could facilitate the drawing of lines above it. We can even assign transparency. The “Transparency” parameter by default says “ByLayer” but we can activate a transparency percentage manually. So we can mix the aerial view with the “Road” type map. Now, in the Ribbon, we are going to select “Toggle”. Which will toggle the visibility of the compass with the cardinal points. Notice how we can drag the compass to rotate the orientation. Even by double-clicking on the center, we can vary the angle manually. By the way, the color of the compass can be changed if you use the “Colors” button from the ribbon. Now we are going to extract another image, but with a different orientation.

Let’s go to “Rotate View.” We indicate a first point and a second point following the direction of the road. That will make the image rotate in such a way that the road is shown as”horizontal”. Select “Insert” to extract another image. PRESS ENTER ONCE, to accept “Optimal”. And PRESS ENTER again to accept “Top.”Now we define the area of the image to be extracted. Select the image and change the “Map Type” to “Road”. We will modify the angle of the view to “zero”. Note that a “Graphic Scale” appears that gives us a reference of the distance of the map. Which is updated as we zoom.

Using the ‘Marker’ tool to select a point on the map

At the same time, it indicates the real-world coordinates of the current position of the pointer on the map. From “Marker”, we can specify a point on the map. And at that point, we can name it. We can move that point from its central grip. From “Inquiry”, we can use the “Get Distance” tool to measure a distance in the image. Here is the distance we have taken.

We can also measure an area, with the “Get Area” tool. For that, we just have to select the points of the closed area that we want to measure. As with any image that we insert in ARES Commander, we can draw on it. Now we can use “Rotate View”, indicate 2 points in the drawing and so we will make a part of the building horizontal. At the same time, we select the map and assign a Transparency percentage. If we wish we can disconnect the MapService. Thus we are left with only the image that we had captured. Now on top of it, we could continue drawing. Being a city, we could add other elements such as indicating where the GAS service passes, or the water supply network. We may also insert blocks for instance.

In turn, at any time we can turn off the map service, and only retain the image we have extracted. Or even activate the map service again. As you can see, the drawing remains perfectly aligned with the map service and therefore the real-world coordinates.

In short, the main objective of this plugin is to be able to obtain satellite images and street maps to use as the background of the drawing. This free plugin is a very interesting bonus for ARES Commander subscribers. And it is the result of the collaboration between Graebert and ESRI, the world leader in GIS systems. It also allows you to have the geolocation of a plot or building quickly because you can search for any address in the world. From there you can load the maps in a geostationary way. Learn more about the new features in ARES Commander.