Bentley Geospatial Administrator, a toothache

TRANSLATION NOTES: Please read some comments at the end of this post.

clip_image001The Bentley Geospatial Administrator, is one of the things that Bentley has not been able to make digestible and neither have been many exercises to explain its implementation in a real project. The purpose of this tool, which is a complement to Bentley Map, is the entire project construction, a task that was done with Geographics before, such as:

  • Create categories
  • Create features
  • Set the database connection
  • Set topological rules
  • Establish deployment scales
  • Update tables

However, all we knew of Geographics is unhelpful, because Geospatial Administrator functionality is rather confusing (*). It has many capabilities, although quite hidden behind of a right-click of the mouse; what is costly at the beginning.

Advantages of Geospatial Administrator.

Comparing with the way of doing the same tasks in Geographics, here are some advantages:

  • Little figures, I mean, time ago most configurations lacked of graphics add-on.
  • Less programming, time ago doing this required to mess with the code of the .ucf files and more.
  • Real Features, now the simbology is not a CAD attribute, as before but is associated to attribute
  • Scale, attributes can have properties of scale, so it deploys or hide to configurable scales
  • Commands related to attributes, these are defined structural features for creating objects, such as: when I create an street axis, it activates immediately linestring command, this is called method
  • Map has the data, you can define how many attributes or data shall be in the xml map, so the dgn contains data without needing to have additional files or a database connection
  • Direct link, when you undo or redo, there is no inconsistency, as it happened before because a link could create an object without reference to the database.

It is a very robust tool, what happens is that it is complex to use it. In the case, Bentley Cadastre is an application built with Geospatial Administrator that additionally has a mentor to guide the initial formation.

A friend approached me again and asked if I could explain it … in several posts, I hope doing it, because now that that I’m seeing Bentley Map V8i I note that they don’t go back down on the need to add a wizard to this puzzle. For now, the post is left on a general level.

History and Logic

The Geospatial Administrator arises from the implementation of XML technology in Microstation V8.5 known as XFM. From Microstation v8.9, known as XM Geographics, it’s renamed as Bentley Map and is the way it is still called in V8i.


clip_image003These are private to the workspace known as user, or what we earlier called ucf. Unlike the General parameters, it may contain:

-Operations and specific methods for each feature. You can also set what features the user can have.

-Work Scales

-Files, as seed or shared libraries

-Macros and interface tools customized for the user

All of this was possible in Geographics by means of .ucf file which allowed opening directly Geographics in the defined project with the necessary tools… but it was done using pure code.

  • Coordinate’s System Dictionary

Here are the different settings for Coordinate Systems

  • The source of Spatial Data

Here are defined the settings for Spatial databases access via Oracle, and the Index which is the file that contains a spatial index of all maps recorded in the database.

clip_image004 And then ?

clip_image006The project structure remains the same whether the project is imported from Geographics but the structure changes if built from scratch:

From here it is worth remembering some interesting folders:

  • idx, where is stored the index file and the vicinity
  • seed, where it’s stored the seed file
  • sql, here are stored the queries
  • tlr, here are the topological layers
  • wrk, work files

Unfortunately I don’t know what to conclude at the end of this post, if someone buys Bentley Map and don’t know how to use Geospatial Administrator it’s of serves… a little.

The Geospatial Administrator is too smoked for users who are newbie in GIS.

But it isn’t Bentley’s sin, the toy is very robust, with .NET it can be done marvels but the same as Geographics, it’s difficult to take a walk without mega-help, there are examples that come with the software, that are completely built.  The sin is the poor practice training in this; like a very good video in which it’s built an entire Project and then is feed, operate and export to Geoweb Publisher. It’s done so that the one who want to implement it, know what route to follow.

I know, is too much to ask for, but that’s what we are, customers who ask for something we need.  Ah, I was forgetting something.   In Spanish, please.

Here is a list of other related posts:

  • Testing Bentley Map: Interoperability with ESRI
  • How to import a project from Geographics to XFM
  • Bentley Map XM vrs. Geographics V8
  • Bentley Map XM, first impressions


(*) The Spanish Idiom “medio tomado del pelo” means that something is not been taking seriously or in professional way.

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