Get a Perpetual License with Carlson

By Karen Cummings • April 26th, 2016

You’re Gonna Like Your Carlson Perpetual License
Which is best for you, a subscription or perpetual license?

According to Robert Green in his August 26, 2015, CAD Manager Column, Cadalyst, “…perpetual license ownership is more cost-advantageous over the long haul.”

But, from January 31, 2016, on, for those who didn’t purchase (with required maintenance subscription) or upgrade, AutoCAD® is available only through subscription. So, if you’re now on the outside looking in, what to do? What is the best and most affordable way to do your CAD work and to protect it now and into the future?

Good News & Bad News
Autodesk® touts subscription-only licensing as “the most flexible and cost-effective way to access and manage your design, engineering, and software tools.”

Yes, it can be very flexible. As they say, subscription customers can “try out new tools without making a big up-front investment.” They can also set up interns or temporary employees with software at a much lower cost.

But, it can be inflexible, too. “The first year (or month, depending on your subscription) you do not renew your rental subscription the software will no longer work,” noted Green in his column mentioned above. With the software no longer working, projects may also be inaccessible.

Protect Your Work
So, for everyone working in AutoCAD, here’s a way to take out an “insurance policy” on their work should they ever miss a payment on their subscription (those with lapsed perpetual licenses will be able to still run them as long as they wish) or decide to opt for another CAD program.

The recommendation is to download and save your project data to the new, improved, and free LandXML-2.0. “By transforming their drawing data using LandXML-2.0, users can then archive all their data in a non-proprietary format,” notes Nathan Crews, LandXML chief developer.

LandXML 2.0 comes with a free 3D viewer

Get a free 3D viewer from Carlson Software with LandXML 2.0

The key improvements in this upgraded version of LandXML, which was initially introduced in 2000 to allow users to transfer data to another project or another application, include:

  • improved signing and sealing LandXML files for defined versions
  • additional schema for road design templates; and
  • drainage elements such as pipe culverts with headwalls, open channels, and catch basins with pipe structures.

As an added bonus, Carlson Software, in conjunction with, is including a free 3D viewer to be used to enhance the XML files. Features available in the free viewer include the ability to open, view, and save LandXML files; draw/edit polylines, drag and drop files, add textures to closed polylines as well as an auto texture feature for quick texturing of areas, and the ability to designate watersheds, plus much, much more.

Once files are saved via LandXML-2.0, users then have the flexibility to open them in their choice of AutoCAD, Bentley Systems®, or Carlson Software as well as others like Topcon, Trimble, and more. Check out the list of compatible programs and/or download LandXML-2.0 with the enhanced 3D viewer at

“Downloading and utilizing LandXML-2.0 to save their work will ensure CAD users access to their project data now and into the future,” adds Crews.

Or, Consider an AutoCAD Alternative
The Carlson Civil Suite, which includes the Carlson Civil, Survey, Hydrology, and GIS modules, comes with IntelliCAD® built in (i.e. free) and is compatible with many AutoCAD® versions – with no requirement to upgrade every year. Carlson comes with a perpetual license and owners can choose to upgrade if they want or stick with the version they’re using.

Get dynamic design with Carlson Civil Suite.

Carlson Civil Suite in action.

The Civil Suite offers powerful networking features, including RoadNETwork, LotNET, SiteNET, UtilityNET, and SewerNET. These components ease and speed design work AND work with standard CAD objects without any custom objects. This facilitates sharing of files even when not on the same version.

The Carlson Civil Suite comes with all the important bells and whistles without the steep learning curve. In addition, Carlson provides free, repeat free, personalized technical support because that has been our mantra since our very beginnings. Learn more about the Carlson Civil Suite trade-in promotion, which is running until May 31, 2016.

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