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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Artec 3D Debuts its Artec Ray Laser Scanner for BIM

 
June 14th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Artec 3D presented at SPAR 3D their latest product the Artec Ray, professional metrology-grade laser scanner.

Artec Ray with Smart Car

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Have a Finger on the Pulse: New System Integration Platform from IMAGINiT

 
June 8th, 2018 by Susan Smith

IMAGINiT Technologies’ new Pulse Platform, available now, is designed to allow engineers and architects to share data between independent software on-premise or cloud products beginning with Autodesk Vault and Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle. Other integrations with other products are forthcoming, according to Matt Mason, software development team manager for IMAGINiT.

“It’s an initial release and a big new area for us,” said Mason. “We’ve always done system integration work, and the work tends to be custom and one-off. This is our attempt to build a platform to make the process of system integration easier, more packaged and less custom.”

Mason adds that previously system integration was primarily 90% custom and required high level software developer or consultant. “We want to see 85% -95% of system integration work as a part of the package. The rest would be what a midlevel consultant could do, set up relationships between systems, map one to the other, etc.”

IMAGINiT Pulse benefits include (according to company materials):

  • Connectors for Autodesk Vault, Autodesk Fusion Lifecycle, Autodesk BIM 360 Operations and BuildingLink and other systems, allow users to automatically flow information from one software program to another. For example, individuals involved in enterprise resource planning and PLM may need to seamlessly transfer certain data in a specific format from Fusion Lifecycle to Vault.
  • Real-time visibility of datathrough an easy to read dashboard, allows users to understand exactly what information is being transferred, monitor each step in the transfer process and ensure the security and consistency of the data between the two systems.
  • Configurability gives users control over information being transferred, the systems it is being transferred between and the format in which it is being transferred – all without needing a dedicated development resource on staff. IMAGINiT technical professionals can assist Pulse users to define what data must move, in what direction, the format, and the reaction it triggers upon arrival at the destination software system.

Mason said that the connectors were built to do the heavy lifting of system integration, for working with specific products and getting data in or out of those products and doing updates.

“What’s left in the middle are workflow, rules and data mapping, and that’s modest, but doesn’t require the same level of development expertise that the actual deep integration to each system takes,” said Mason. “We’re trying to build something where we can have these pre-built connectors that do the hardest part of the work and separate the business logic and business rules into a separate part of the product.”

The first three connectors are built for Autodesk products currently since IMAGINiT’s consulting work largely revolves around those products. The fourth one was a non-Autodesk product called BuildingLink.

“We actually had a chance to build a product that made use of BIM 360 operations product with the BuildingLink product,” said Mason. “We expect to do more connectors over time, building our catalog of connectors. We’re expecting to do Bentley ProjectWise and other common integrations that we’ve done in the past such as Microsoft SharePoint.

People using the connectors need to be familiar with the workflows for the products involved. What is in the middle between the two is defining those workflows and some scripting is necessary, such as Microsoft.net scripting, as one product may refer to a part and another may refer to it as an item, etc.

An example, Mason said, are two Autodesk products that don’t communicate very well together such as Autodesk Vault to Fusion Lifecycle. They each have a separate language for how they describe parts and items and both are heavily customized for each customer to define the pieces of information they have. Someone has to build out the script of how to map data from this side to that side. To date, people have set up custom properties on their systems.

“We’re trying to build the connector out so it is visible to the user but not necessarily end user,” said Mason. “The person responsible for the integration wants to see what’s going on and see how integration flows from one side to the other. When you’re doing each one of these as a custom job, there wasn’t much time for polish. We wanted to invest more in the polish and see information flowing back and forth and have a way to visualize and trace. Since we were building it as a platform we could invest more than we could in a typical one off minimalist consulting project.”

In most cases IMAGINiT’s customers have already had their systems custom built for them. “We’re using the expertise of all the integrations we’ve done over the years and tried to build something so the next year’s integration will be much easier.”

Customers just want integration and want it to work, not cost too much. The Pulse Platform offers them “a nicer system that is less risk and less cost than something more custom, because so much of it is packaged,” said Mason.

Pulse will be separate from ongoing development, support and consulting, with annual use fee, including automatic updates for connectors for each company.

There will be one cost for the platform itself, and if you want two systems to connect, get a connector for each system, as each connector has a different amount of and specific complexity.

UK BIM Alliance Roadshow and Updates 2018

 
June 1st, 2018 by Susan Smith

Coming up is the UK BIM Alliance Roadshow 2018, a tour entitled “Facilitating the Digital Transformation Of the Built Environment.” This event will offer information about how the UK BIM Alliance is making this possible for and with the industry. The news from the Alliance will include buildingSMART news and actual examples and case studies and begins June 21s in Birmingham, with the focus on the use of BIM in Facilities Management.

According to John Eynon, Founding Board Member, UKBIMA now has projects on the go, praise and patrons, some profit, and recognition on the global stage, particularly through their recent merger with buildingSMART UK+I.

They are also close working with the Centre for Digital Built Britain in Cambridge on the Level 2 and 3 agendas.

A little history: In October of 2016, buildingSMART UK launched the UK BIM Alliance, which was the UK government’s strategy for driving improvements across construction strategy, and by 2017, all public funded projects would be requiring BIM Level 2. This has been the evolution of the UK BIM Alliance.

Dr. Anne Kemp, Atkins, chair of BuildingSMART UK, Chair of ICE’s BIM Action Group, who spoke on the utility topic, “Out of Sight and Out of Mind” at the Bentley Year in Infrastructure Conference in London, asking at that time: “Did all projects transfer to BIM Level 2? Actually, we are a bit further from that in reality. Three million people must be reached. The guys who are being affected by utility strikes are those who we need to reach.”

Her focus was on knowing what’s underground in the way of utilities and using BIM and GIS tools to track outcomes.

“We need to be transforming our utilities through intelligent use of BIM, digital, long overdue collaboration, and common sense,” Kemp said.

Kemp said that the launch of the UK BIM Alliance was going to help their progress at the BuildingSMART UK for feeding data about their buried utilities.

In 2017, the GCS transition of Task Group to L3 (BIM Level) was predicted. There is a need for industry focus and stewardship of Level 2 and to achieve 2020 “Business as usual”. “We need the foundations of BIM Level 2 to be able to realize the ambitions of Level 3,” Kemp explained. “We are providing that industry focus of moving through analog into that digital transformation, through 3D modeling and integrated real time modeling. We are working at the structured controlled data in BIM Level 2. We’ve also got to control that uncontrolled dirty data, and how do we do that?”

There is a need to think about outcomes rather than just output, said Kemp, and not just discussing 2D drawings or data (or 3D). How does data need to be delivered in order for us to do our jobs?

“We have a convergence of what is needed with BIM, and that’s where the UK BIM Alliance comes in,” said Kemp. “BIM for rail, water, survey, hospitals, has a lot of interest around this area. The UK BIM Alliance grew out of government initiatives, and we are moving to BIM level 3. We need industry to step up and demonstrate BIM Level 2.”

The initiative really had to embrace the entire industry. By setting the mandate that they must achieve BIM Level 2 by 2020, they are challenging themselves. They are being innovative and inclusive and transparent.

“We target people who need to know about this stuff,” said Kemp. “BIM Level 2 has been defined. Bimlevel2.org is available and we’re here to help industry implement.”

There is BIM for infrastructure and there needs to be BIM for utilities.

What can we do from a buried utilities point of view?

What is complementary for ISOs and smart cities is working on an evolving landscape. The UK BIM Alliance is developing a taskforce on convergence with smart cities.

“Disruptive technology changes the face of industries, but we are also in an age of disruptive data,” Kemp concluded. “You have to have your people work through, understand and tailor themselves to the new processes.”

  • COBie to IFC processes
  • The BuildingSMART chair UK chapter is supporting the BIM Level 2
  • BIM enabled through to operations and maintenance
  • Not just about design and construction
  • TOTEX and total expenditure instead of operational expenditure.

The government is looking at procurement methods. The background to BIM is asset management.

Key decisions have to be made through the life of a project. You also have projects running simultaneously at different stages, so you need to be sure you have the right information, and data fed into a system users can trust.

She is looking forward to better information and management through BIM.

Autodesk BIM 360 Docs is designed to help government clients comply with the BIM Level 2 mandate in the UK. Process described here:

Autodesk and UK BIM Level 2 Mandate

Other UK BIM Alliance Events

The Product Data Working Group Alliance Product Data Working Group which is consulting on the state of the nation on product data has published two interim reports.
Meeting 1 Interim Report
M
eeting 2 Interim Report
Join the conversation on the dedicated #product_data slack channel or email us.

BIMovation – Faro are hosting an event on June 5th where Anne Kemp, UKBIMAlliance Chair will be speaking – register here

Facilitating the digital transformation of the Built Environment – The first of our roadshow events takes place in Birmingham on June 21st where John Eynon will be presenting the latest news alongside other guest speakers. Register here

CSIC Distinguished Lecture – Anne Kemp is delivering the distinguished lecture on June 29 where she takes A glimpse into the future….By considering the past.  The challenges, the opportunities – and our consciences. Register here

GDPR

The UK BIM Alliance has updated their privacy policy inline with the new GDPR regulations.  Please visit this page for more information.

GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD 22 Focuses on Modeling, Performance and Information Management

 
May 23rd, 2018 by Susan Smith

ARCHICAD 22 is focused on modeling, information management and performance. Some of those include:

  • Smooth and responsive navigation ensured for all model views.
  • Major performance enhancements noticeable when panning and zooming
  • Generation of complex element fills done by GPU acceleration
  • ARCHICAD balances calculation tasks so all cores finish their tasks at the same time.
  • An improved navigation caching algorithm
  • High resolutions support on Windows allows for sharper display of details.

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Different Interfaces for Different Folks in TurboCAD 2018

 
May 18th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Robert Berry IMSI Design, spoke with AECCafe Voice about the newly released TurboCAD 2018 line of products, including Pro Platinum, Expert, Deluxe and Designer versions for Windows® desktop PCs.

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Going Digital Sums Up Bentley Systems’ Corporate Update  

 
May 11th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley kicked off the Bentley Corporate Update webinar this week with a discussion of how the annual corporate update is different than in previous years. Journalists in 28 countries attended the 2017 Year In Infrastructure Thought Leadership Conference and Awards held in Singapore.

Leighton Asia Hong Kong Boundary Crossing – BIM Advancements in Construction – Be Inspired Award Winner (photo courtesy of Bentley Systems)

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New Features of Autodesk’s Civil 3D and InfraWorks

 
May 3rd, 2018 by Susan Smith

Autodesk holds some informative webcasts for the civil community entitled “Civil Community Webcasts.” One recent one was entitled “What’s New in Civil 3D and InfraWorks.”

Bay Bridge East Span Seismic Safety Project
To prove the project was viable, the California Department of Transportation shared detailed 3D designs with potential contracting firms.

Eric Chappell, Civil Community Evangelist for Autodesk, hosted this webinar with Dan Philbrick, director of Civil Infrastructure Products, Dave Simeone, Civil 3D project manager, and Sarah Cunningham, InfraWorks product manager.

Chappell recommends the InfraWorks tool for doing preliminary design and decisions. “This year we’re focusing on continuing to drive detailed design in both InfraWorks and the platform for BIM.”

The use of Civil 3D with or without InfraWorks is valuable and both are in the same civil collection.

What’s new in InfraWorks 2018.0

Sarah Cunningham noted that they changed the name of the product and took “360” out of the name.

An InfraWorks Customer Council meets with Autodesk once a month. “They tell us about challenges,” said Cunningham. “They bounce ideas off one another. Many people aren’t sure how to implement InfraWorks yet. This group has been able to talk about how they’re using it. We’re starting to hear some interesting things: 1. Continues to be used for road and highway design 2. CAD managers are hearing from designers that they want more engineering data from the InfraWorks model, increasing in frequency. They want it to be more than a pretty picture in visualization, more toward engineering design. The Corridor project in Norway, winner of the Infrastructure in Excellence Awards 2016, was about planning a corridor and using InfraWorks for large scale planning projects. They want to use InfraWorks for more preliminary design now that planning phase is done.”

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Acquisition of Viewpoint by Trimble Aims to Extend Construction Management Offering

 
April 26th, 2018 by Susan Smith

At Portland headquarters, Manolis Kotzabasakis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer delivers news of the planned acquisition.

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AECCafe Special Coverage: Reality Capture Fast-Tracks Infrastructure Design

 
April 18th, 2018 by Susan Smith

In recent years we have seen an explosion of the use of reality capture by traditional CAD and building information modeling companies. Its ability to capture existing conditions and create 3D models out of photographs or laser scans, without seams makes it a great fit for the AEC industry. Technologies used include 3D laser scanning, mobile and aerial LiDAR, and photogrammetry. This resulting point data is reconstructed into a 3D model. While accurate, LiDAR only captures 3D data leaving color out. Photogrammetry uses photographs to reconstruct a 3D image.

ReCap Enhancements

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AutoCAD 2019 Comes with Seven New Toolsets

 
April 13th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2019 just added seven new specialized toolsets to its subscriber program. These toolsets include specialized features and libraries for mechanical design, architecture, 3D mapping, and more; plus, greater mobility with the new web and mobile apps; and take advantage of new features and performance enhancements, included with new subscriptions to AutoCAD 2019 available March 22, 2018.

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Bentley: -Rail and Transit Video
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