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Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Bringing Buildings and Infrastructure Together

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

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Bentley Year in Infrastructure Kicks Off in London

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

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AutoCAD 2014 for Mac released

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Creating a buzz in the Autodesk world is Autodesk AutoCAD 2014 for Mac released yesterday. The Mac version does not join the AutoCAD Windows release cycle but is now aligned with the Apple schedule to take advantage and be able to support major Apple OS updates. Also the release includes Apple’s release of the next version of OSX  Mavericks as well as some new iPads, Apps, laptop and Mac Pro announcements.

Shown during Apple’s new product announcement live event were AutoCAD for Mac 2014 on the Mac desktop and AutoCAD 360 on the new iPad Air tablet.

Among the new features for AutoCAD 2014 for Mac and AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac are support the new Apple Mac OSX  Mavericks OS which is the release after Mountain Lion, Retina Display Support for better viewing comfort with increased pixel density, and eTransmit Support for better transmittal of DWG and reference files, called Package Drawing.

Autodesk AutoCAD LT 2014 for Mac video:

Dell Precision M3800 ultra thin and light workstation announced

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Pat Kannar, Director of Product Marketing, Dell Precision, talked about the release of the Dell Precision M3800 ultra thin and light 15-inch workstation that represents the last product in their portfolio line of ultra workstations. Kannar said this is the first thin and light workstation in the market.

“This M3800 most exciting platforms we’ve delivered,” Kannar said. “It fits in end-to-end solutions, and is one of the most smartly designed platforms for engineering, design, and for those creating products and energy systems.”

Customers have wanted a thinner and lighter workstation without compromising performance, and this workstation delivers all that. “It has all the traditional components you have in a workstation, quadcore, CPUs, professional graphics, NVIDIA, great memory and storage options put it in a form factor 18 millimeters thin,” said Kannar.

The M3800 is less than ¾ inch thin (18 mm) and weighs 4.15 pounds, with dual cooling to keep it running cool and quiet, and up to 10 hours six minutes of battery life. It has NVIDIA Optimus graphics technology that also maximizes the battery life. NVIDIA provides QHD 3200×1800 pixel display with multi-touch capability. The chassis is made from anodized aluminum and carbon fiber chassis which is very lightweight and durable. (more…)

Lightworks announcement: Artisan for ZWCAD+

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Lightworks, a  leading supplier of rendering solutions announced the release of Artisan for ZWCAD+ in a technology partnership with ZWCAD Design. Artisan is an intuitive and affordable rendering application for high quality, fast visualization.

Lightworks has created an API that allows plug ins and connectors for such products as BricsCAD, TurboCAD and Archicad. They have also written an AutoCAD one but never released it. Clive Davies, business development director, said, “The reason for this is that Autodesk already has rendering functionality built into AutoCAD and other products. The clone products, those using DWG format, are less likely to already have rendering built in and so many of them would like that capability in their products. The clone products plus the rendering application are also less expensive than a seat of AutoCAD.”

According to the press release, Artisan is used worldwide by designers and architects. The release of Artisan for ZWCAD+ means that users can now visualise designs within their design workflow. The unique Artisan ‘bridge’ into ZWCAD+ allows current
drawings to be directly linked, with no need to export, therefore creating an  efficient design and visualization workflow. Artisan includes high quality drag and drop material libraries and SnapShot feature that enables the creation of unlimited iterations of the same design. This simplified workflow results in a shorter design cycle and faster time to market.

David Forrester, Chief Executive Officer at Lightworks commented; “We’re pleased to be partnering with ZWCAD+ to bring our easy-to-use rendering application Artisan to ZWCAD+ users worldwide. At Lightworks we create solutions to work with existing user-workflows and we’re proud to say we now provide the ZWCAD+ users with affordable rendering technology that works intuitively with their CAD system.”

Daniel Huang, Product Manager at ZWCAD+ commented; “3D visualization enhances realism by leveraging the power of today’s rendering technology whilst also enhancing the effects that are difficult to achieve using 2D alone. The combination of Artisan and ZWCAD+ means users can flexibly handle more diverse architectural and interior tasks using high-quality rendering.” (more…)

Spike from IkeGPS laser based device features measurement capabilities with photos

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Spike (Smart Phone ike!) from IkeGPS is a laser based device that attaches to your phone to ensure that you can rapidly & accurately measure & model an object up to 200 yards (600 feet) away just by taking a snapshot of it.  For ten years, Ike has been designing measurement and modeling systems for industrial customers.Using the IkeGPS technology, Spike makes use of the smartphone’s technology and adds its own features. It incorporates a digital camera, 3D compass, a laser range finder and GPS that snaps onto the back of your phone and fits into your pocket.

Spike integrates your smartphone’s current technology with some specialized features of its own. It amalgamates a digital camera, a 3d compass, a laser range finder and GPS. It fits neatly into your pocket yet is robust enough to use every day.

According to Darrell Etherington of Techcrunch, “The benefits of the Spike and its powers are evident…telecom and utility companies, architects, city planners, builders and more would be better served with a simple portable accessory and the phone they already have in their pocket than by specialized equipment that’s heavy, bulky, requires instruction on proper use and lacks any kind of easy instant data portability like you’ll get from a smartphone app’s “Share” functions.”

“The short version of IkeGPS was developed in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a number of years ago,” said Leon Toorenburg. “It was a handheld GPS device with a laser rangefinder and a camera, and you can locate the target and take a photo of it at the same time. It is used to geotag measurements of buildings, and you don’t have to worry about where you took the photos because it’s attached to the GPS. We took it a stage further with the electrical ultility industry, they have no idea of what’s on their power poles, and with one photo they can take a measure of everything on the pole. They don’t have to spend hours at each pole with a measuring tape.”

Insurance adjusters can also use it to take a photo of a wall that may be falling down, for example, and get the size of it.

Laser range finders typically cost $1500 or so. This app that runs with the smartphone allows you to make measurements just from your smartphone, with height, width, distances without having to connect the rangefinder app to the smartphone at all.  “We’re also going to publish an API that allows people to take the functionality inside their custom workflows. Say you have an app on the iPhone, an insurance app and you want to measurement-enable that app, you can use our API and incorporate this into the insurance app,” said Toorenburg.

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BIM for the construction industry

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
In recent years we have seen a huge growth in the use of Building Information Modeling in the construction industry. At Autodesk University 2012, Amar Hanspal, senior vice president of information modeling and platform products group (IPG) at Autodesk, outlined his predictions for the construction industry in 2013. Specifically, Amar believes the following trends will drive critical change in how construction firms compete for business and deliver completed projects:

1.       National Infrastructure Discussions Evolve Into Global Discussions

Discussions on national infrastructure will evolve into global conversations on interconnected transportation and financial systems. For example, completion of the Panama Canal will force the U.S. East Coast to upgrade their ports to accommodate a massive increase in traffic and ship size.

2.       Infrastructure Priorities: Developing vs. Developed Regions

Today, there is a marked divide between the infrastructure priorities of developed and developing countries. Developing countries are creating, funding and building brand new infrastructure systems while developed countries are trying to fix their crumbling systems in order to address the needs of tomorrow.

3.       Innovative Funding Models

No matter the end goal, funding is a critical concern across the world. We’re beginning to see alternative funding models such as PPPs emerge, and with that project teams, processes and priorities are beginning to change. A significant portion of funding will likely come from foreign investors looking for low risk projects across geographies, forcing project owners to compete on a global scale and learn to work with the increased transparency demanded by private investors.

4.       Construction Green Lights Mobile Productivity

While some may consider this industry to be slow to adopt new technology, in actuality it has simply maintained a strong commitment to business objectives. They do not buy into technology for the hype or mystical promise of “cutting-edge.” In order for technology to be successful in the construction market, it must be tied to the overall business goals and processes. Most recently, the industry has been rapidly adopting mobile technology because of the time and cost benefits of using mobile devices.

5.       New “Big Picture” Skill Set Required

Today, the shop floor and the construction job site are closer than they’ve ever been. For example, pre-fab construction is becoming an increasingly important conversation not only in the home building market but also in the commercial market. The use of pre-fab components requires a deeper technological understanding across all disciplines. From the get go, designers, manufacturers and builders need to ensure that the design is flawless, as one mistake could cost thousands of dollars.

Now several months into 2013, BIM is used by many construction contractors to provide information to crews before they begin their work on the project. Mobile computing has advanced as well in the past year with several useful apps to provide not only real-time field data but also geolocated field data. Even though BIM has notable 3D capabilities, for the construction industry the BIM model is generally converted to a 2D drawing with less of the available data shown to the user.
Keeping the model in 3D for a longer part of the construction process allows all professionals on the job to access a greater level of accuracy at the jobsite. With the help of laser scanners, total stations and multi-stations to gather real-world data in the field, users can merge this data with the model data already in the office for a bigger picture. This would help with scheduling dilemmas later on in the process and ensure valid information at every stage in the lifecycle of the project.

 

 

Free TurboSite Plug-In for AutoCAD

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

IMSI Design is a pioneer in many areas of CAD, most recently in the area of mobile solutions for AEC. Adding to their list of credits is the launch this week of the free TurboSite Plug-In for Autodesk AutoCAD, a free plug-in that allows AutoCAD users to view geolocated video, photos, markup and text notes gleaned from the field all inside the AutoCAD application. The addition of the  “geolocation” technology developed in-house, into an IMSI app elevates this product beyond a regular mobile app. According to CEO Bob Mayer, geolocation was added into the first version of TurboSite. With the new app, at any point in a building or plan, you can create an accurate geolocated GeoMark and using the built-in camera, take as many photos, videos, dictation, and text notes needed for the job. Then you can view the geolocated video, photo, markup, and text documentation directly within AutoCAD.

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U.S. and Canadian Professionals seek more Autodesk Certification and Training

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Although AutoCAD has been used over the years by many who are self-taught in the CAD software, in the last year the number of US and Canadian professionals seeking certification in the use of Autodesk software has risen by 10% as employers and employees recognize the benefits of validating skills. There are now 14,181 architects, designers, engineers and CAD professionals certified across North America; 60% increase since 2010.

“Globalization and the increasing competitiveness of the job market are driving the need for a universal standard to demonstrate skills levels,” says Julie Gaudet, Senior Director, Customer Operations of Gilmore Global Logistics Services, Inc, worldwide distributor for Autodesk training and course materials. “Also, businesses need to maximize their investment in new software. Training and certification help ensure best practice which in turn helps accelerate productivity and encourage higher quality design.”

To meet this growing demand, there are now 231 Autodesk Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) across North America and 615 authorized training instructors; 18% more than 3 years ago.

Vectorworks 2014 Launches

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Sean Flaherty, CEO and Dr. Biplab Sarkar, CTO of Nemetschek Vectorworks spoke last week in a webinar about their software launch of Vectorworks 2014.

Flaherty gave a business overview of the company and its progress:

Although Nemetschek Vectorworks is headquartered in the U.S. their customer base is very global, Flaherty explained, with 53% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, 28% from Pacific region and 19% from Americas. Their top five user countries are Japan, Germany, UK and Switzerland. AEC remains their biggest market, accounting for 60% of their sales. Landscape and entertainment design are still critical to the company.

Select Subscription customers will be the first to receive this release. Three years ago they launched Select Subscription service. Last year more than half the licenses delivered were to Select members. Vectorworks is seeing positive rebound in the AEC sector.

According to the National Association of HomeBuilders, they predict higher levels of construction activity in the years ahead.  Also they are seeing positive signs in multi-family residential and commercial design.

In response to that and other industry insights, Vectorworks has expanded their staff by 50% in the last few years.

BIM continues to be a funnel for information in the architecture industry. Design begins in the mind of the architect. Vectorworks can take the design from the sketchpad to the workflow. Each year more firms are implementing BIM workflow into their projects.

¾ of firms are using BIM software for billable work. This report also found 91% of firms used BIM software for design visualization.

In the UK the government is pushing to become a world leader in BIM, and the National BIM Survey 2013 found that more than 1/3 or 33% of the survey are using BIM, up from only 13% in 2010. “One of the primary ways we feel we can help architects to greater BIM adoption is to provide BIM education to practitioners whether they are Vectorworks users or not,” said Flaherty. “More than half of owners admit to being beginners in BIM expertise.”

“BIM is a new way of realizing projects, one part in the overall BIM processes. In addition to an introduction to BIM processes, Vectorworks also offer industry professionals talks on the process from their standpoints,” said Flaherty.

This perspective of seeing BIM as “new” is refreshing coming from a CAD vendor, as most seem to espouse the belief that BIM is not new.

Vectorworks is very supportive of Open BIM because of its support of transparent open workflow, that allows for collaboration regardless of software tools, its creation of a common language for processes, and ability to provide quality project data that can be used throughout building lifecycle.

Dr. Sarkar gave a rundown of all the features. Here are the features of Vectorworks 2014 as listed in the press release:

The Vectorworks 2014 software includes more than 130 improvements that were developed for better modeling, BIM management, interoperability, usability, performance, and quality. The 2014 product line also features new BIM tools for architects, increased site design capabilities for landscape architects and designers, as well as enhancements to lighting devices, documentation, and graphic controls for entertainment designers.  The following list provides a sampling of what design professionals will find inside Vectorworks 2014 software:  Enhanced 3D Modeling: This release includes several key improvements to  Vectorworks’ already robust 3D modeling capabilities. Built on the industry’s leading modeling kernel, Parasolid®, Vectorworks 2014 offers persistent rendered 3D navigation to provide designers with the ability to easily switch between 3D and rotated Top/Plan views; enhanced walkthrough capabilities, making walkthroughs in OpenGL faster than ever; and the new twist and taper tools that enable users to twist entire solids, solid faces, or NURBS surfaces, as well as taper the faces of 3D objects in a single snap. In addition, the new 3D X-ray Select (patent pending) allows users to temporarily see through solid objects in the area around the cursor.

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