GardenCAD is our low cost CAD software application for landscape designers while gCADPlus is our advanced application.
GardenCAD is a great starting tool if you want to create CAD designs on your own. Designing with it is simple and straightforward. Its major limitation occurs when there is a need to work with others and exchange GardenCAD drawings with other professionals who use AutoCAD. GardenCAD has limited ability to export drawing data to AutoCAD and other drafting applications. It is also limited in its use of automated tools for landscapers - extract costing, check sustainability of a design, import GPS data, store extended data with symbols and so on.
On the other hand, gCADPlus is a much more sophisticated application than GardenCAD, with more power and a significantly more complex drawing environment. There are many additional commands in gCADPlus vs. GardenCAD and many additional and automated drafting commands have been added. For example:
- The auto plant schedule feature counts the number of instance of a species used in a design and builds a plant schedule marrying the symbol to a plant name. It has options allowing the creation of different types of plant schedules. A system for tagging individual symbols has been added so the same symbol can be used for different species. this has application in broad scale landscape work.
- Symbols can be edited 'on the fly', saving much time when time updating drawings,
- Maps from Google maps and satellite images can be imported into gCADPlus as a base for design work.
- Drawings can be exported in dwg and dxf format providing compatibility with AutoCAD users. GardenCAD has limited dxf exchange ability,
- The plant list feature allows users to load species lists from different localities and apply those to a design,
- Data from GPS equipment can be imported.
- The extract feature allows all symbols including those for paving areas, mulch areas and other 'hardscape' elements to be passed out to Excel or databases such as Access for costing,
- The plant database feature allows searching through a database to find species with particular characteristics and makes a list of plants suitable for a particular category,
- A tool for assessing the sustainability of a design has been added.
We see people starting their use of CAD for landscape design with GardenCAD and then moving to gCADPlus when more experience has been gained. Over time, we have been asked to increase flexibility and automation tools in gCADPlus and we have been able to issue a steady stream of updates. We will continue to do that. Thus far, we have not charged for updates.
The recommended approach in gCADPlus is to create your own default template drawing(s), complete with a plant data list and all the symbols you commonly use. Then all you need do when starting a new job is drag those into position.
While an 'open .vec' file option has been provided in gCADPlus and this may allow users to open drawings constructed using GardenCAD, we cannot guarantee that every .Vec file from GardenCAD will open flawlessly in gCADPlus.