Buying Guide

CAD Platform Options

IntelliCAD version

Carlson Software desktop modules can be installed as a standalone program or on top of your separately purchased, AutoCAD-based program.

In addition, the various Carlson office modules can be combined into one license, where all modules are easily accessible on your desktop.

Carlson includes the latest version of IntelliCAD with every purchase.

The IntelliCAD version can import and export CAD files to multiple file formats including; AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop, and Civil 3D.

Embedded AutoCAD OEM version

Carlson Survey and Takeoff can be purchased and installed standalone with embedded AutoCAD, ie Carlson OEM version.

The embedded AutoCAD OEM modules include a limited, stripped-down version of AutoCAD with functionality similar to AutoCAD LT.

The embedded AutoCAD OEM modules do not include IntelliCAD and do not require a separate purchase of AutoCAD.

The embedded AutoCAD OEM module(s) are a separate install as compared to the Carlson IntelliCAD modules, or separately purchased license of AutoCAD. Although both programs can be installed on the same computer, IntelliCAD and OEM modules cannot be combined. For example, if you own a Survey OEM license and Carlson GIS lntelliCAD license, you will need to access commands in both programs to work on a single drawing (.dwg) file. You would have to close the drawing out of Survey OEM, and then open in the GIS module to finish the job.

Whether you’re using Carlson Survey or Takeoff on the IntelliCAD or embedded AutoCAD OEM platform, the Survey and Takeoff functionality will be the same. Differences will be limited to the underlying engine, ie IntelliCAD or embedded AutoCAD.

• From a feature and functionality standpoint, the IntelliCAD version will resemble a full AutoCAD version. You should not expect the IntelliCAD modules to be the equivalent of today’s AutoCAD. IntelliCAD is a generic version of AutoCAD and will have the feel of an older version of AutoCAD.

However, IntelliCAD modules are more customizable, support LISP routines, and 3D drafting.

• Embedded AutoCAD OEM will resemble recent releases of AutoCAD LT. It will be missing some key functionality such as the ability to create aliases (command shortcuts) and load LISP routines.

• There is a price difference between both versions.

Every new license includes 90 days of maintenance upgrades for free. This ensures if a new version is released within 90 days of your purchase, you will automatically receive the newest version of the software. We recommend renewing your software maintenance annually as this provides new product enhancements, bug fixes, and ongoing tech support.

If your Carlson software product is renewed prior to the annual expiration date, maintenance costs 10% of the retail price of the respective software module(s).  

Upgrading Carlson IntelliCAD Products

Upgrading Carlson’s IntelliCAD desktop products is completed through the Maintenance Plan, which can be purchased directly through us.

If it is renewed prior to expiration, maintenance costs 10% of the retail price of the software. Add 10% for each year, a respective software module is not current/renewed from the original purchase date - not to exceed 50% of the current retail price of a respective Carlson module.

If your license is not currently on maintenance, you can pay the maintenance fee plus an expiration fee, which will upgrade you to the current version of the respective module(s) and include any relevant upgrades released within the applicable maintenance year.

Upgrading Survey and Takeoff Embedded AutoCAD OEM Products

The cost to upgrade Carlson’s OEM products varies depending on the module(s) and age of the module(s). Contact us for more info.

Carlson Survey IntelliCAD would be the preferred module.

You can import and export .dwg, .dgn, .dxf, Land Desktop (LDD), and Civil 3D files from Carlson Survey.

Based on conversations with current surveyors, some individuals may need Carlson GIS for bringing in aerial photos, images of quad, importing SHP/ESRI files, and/or soil maps.

If you are considering multiple Carlson software modules and interested in saving money, you might want to consider purchasing either Carlson Select Suite or Carlson Civil Suite.

You would want to consider Carlson Civil and Hydrology, but GIS has many unique tools for importing imagery and ESRI compatibility, so consider the program as a necessity vs a want.

Since all three of these modules are included in the Carlson Civil Suite, it’s typically more cost effective to purchase the bundle.

We offer on-site and remote web training options for Survey & Civil software modules. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.

Please visit the Hardware Compatibility page for more info.

SurvCE operates on Windows Mobile CE data controllers. SurvCE updates are not available beyond version 6.16.

SurvPC operates on Windows OS 10 & 11 data collection devices.

We recommend Carlson Construction. The Construction module enables you to complete takeoffs, import/export machine control files, 3D modeling, and cut/fill estimating.

We recommend networking individual licenses such as Survey, Civil, etc. if you have 2 or more people who can share a license. For instance, if you have a CAD tech who works in one office on one computer in the morning and another tech who works in a different office or computer in the afternoon/evening, then a network license would be your best option.

Using this example, only one license will ever be in use at any one time, so you would only need to buy one network license that can be shared on multiple computers.

Networking one or more licenses of individual seats can be beneficial if you have several people using the software part-time. You may want to consider buying 3 licenses for 4 individuals to share because only 3 people will ever be using the software at the same time.

Networking one of Carlson’s Suites (Civil or Takeoff) can potentially save a lot of money. Civil Suite includes four programs: Survey, Civil, Hydrology and GIS. Takeoff Suite includes four programs: Construction, CADNet, GeoTech, and Trench. If you network either of the software suites, each program acts as an individual license.

If you buy one standalone license of Civil Suite, the license is registered to one user who can access any of the four programs at will. However, if you network Civil Suite, you can have one person working in Survey at the same time someone else is working in Civil, while a 3rd person is working in Hydrology, and a 4th in GIS.

Yes, you would need to utilize a virtual machine program such as Parallels and the Apple processor chipset cannot be one of the new M chipsets i.e. 2020 or newer M chipsets are not compatible with Carlson Office modules.

Of course. We are happy to help and can provide a proposal to address your requirements. Please contact us.

Carlson PhotoCapture photogrammetry & Point Cloud support most major drone OEMs; DJI, Autel, Wingtra, etc.

You should consider Carlson Listen Listen NTRIP, which is an annual RTK NTRIP correction subscription service to complement your drone survey projects.

In addition, the Carlson BRx7 GNSS can be utilized as your base to facilitate RTK corrections during drone missions. Carlson provides ground control targets with each drone package.

BRx7 RTK GNSS Receiver Quick Reference Setup

Carlson Brx series GNSS will work with FDOT FPRN. You will need to create an acct and follow instructions at the FDOT link(s) below.

Registration Steps


SurvPC RTK NTRIP inputs

IP address:

Port: 10000

Recommended Mountpoint:

<12 mi from reference station = MSM4_NEAR

Carlson Listen Listen RTK correction subscription service requires AT&T 4G data-only plan with SIM card activation. Verizon & T-Mobile data plans will not work with Carlson Listen Listen subscription service.

Listen Listen service is compatible with BRx6+ & BRx7 models.

Listen Listen setup instructions can be downloaded below:

Listen Listen setup

Please follow the instructions listed at the knowledge base link below.

Listen Listen NTRIP

Contact us for pricing to establish Listen Listen NTRIP service.

Warranty/ Repairs

If your Carlson instrument and/or data collector requires service or repair, please email carlsonrma@carlsonsw.com and include the following in the body of the email:

  • Your full contact information (name, address, email, phone)
  • Instrument model & device serial number
  • Detailed description of issue

Repair time may vary dependent on the extent of the issue(s). Cracked screens and damage to the outside of the instrument are not covered under warranty.