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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 »

MicroSurvey inCAD 2014 and MicroSurvey embeddedCAD 2014 released

April 2nd, 2014 by Susan Smith

Land surveyors, contractors and civil engineers will be pleased by these releases designed specifically for them: MicroSurvey, the maker of MicroSurvey CAD and the MapScenes System, recently announced the release of MicroSurvey inCAD 2014 and MicroSurvey embeddedCAD 2014.

The MicroSurvey inCAD 2014 plugin makes AutoCAD into a survey and design powerhouse. The MicroSurvey feature set can be added to the latest Autodesk software – including AutoCAD 2014, AutoCAD Civil 3D 2014, and AutoCAD Map 3D 2014 – with complete survey drafting toolkit, including COGO, DTM, traversing, adjustments, volumes, contouring and more.

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AutodeskSubscription offers more flexibility with 2015 product release

April 1st, 2014 by Susan Smith

AutodeskSubscription offers a modern way for customers to purchase and access the software and services that they need to grow their business, and new purchasing options allow customers to choose the plan that best fits their current project needs and budget. The flexibility offered in this way of purchasing and accessing software allows for greater flexibility for a broader spectrum of customers.

“We like the subscription program with Autodesk because it provides predictability and stability; it simplifies our licensing, and it gives us a lot of flexibility,” said Gene Evans, Autodesk subscription administrator for Woolpert, a US-based design, geospatial and infrastructure management firm. “In addition, upgrades on subscription are pretty much a no-brainer. We budget a static sum every year, and it’s been easy to predict our costs, we can upgrade at any time, whenever it works for us. Subscription also allows us to explore cloud services and evaluate where they will benefit us as a company and make better informed decisions. Subscription is the only way to go for us.” Read the rest of AutodeskSubscription offers more flexibility with 2015 product release

Autodesk 2015 AEC Design Suites released

March 27th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Autodesk InfraWorks 2015 now offers a new, more intuitive user interface to help speed workflows. Image courtesy of Autodesk

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Tekla Structures version 20 offers greater level of detail

March 27th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Tekla Structures BIM software version 20 is now available, with changes in the configuration at the product packaging level. “We have basically changed the construction management configuration, now called Construction Modeling,” said Mark Allphin, business manager of the North American Steel Division. “The functionality is the same but the price has dropped significantly.”

“We also revamped our viewer configuration what we called the Project Viewer Configuration, and are now focused on model consumers. We’ve always created models for those people creating highly detailed models but we want to also bring solutions to folks who are consuming and using these models.”

The Project Viewer fits that bill, as a viewer that opens up functionality around adding information to the model. Users can’t create model objects but can add any information to model objects such as schedule information, finish information, part numbers, for scheduling or project management.

Tekla are big supporters of the Open BIM initiative and officially IFC is a big part of their business plan. Everything is designed to have high end IFC import and export, and facilitate that open exchange.

“Where sometimes standards haven’t been fully developed yet within the industry, we’ll extend that with proprietary connections to different things,” said Allphin. “We’ve enhanced integration between Revit and Tekla Structures by going beyond IFC into more proprietary information exchange, an example – we try to stick with neutral files that the industry can leverage, and pass back and forth. Where those fall short we extend that with a proprietary type of extension.”

Tekla Structures has largely focused on steel fabricators, detailers, concrete contractors, rebar detailers, and engineers wanting to do more detailed design.

“Within Trimble Buildings we have software for construction management and Prolog, estimating tools in Winest, the field solutions where we’re taking information from the model and putting into robots in the field for layout ,” said Allphin. “We are focusing on the complete workflow and taking information from the office and making it leverageable in the field.”

Just within Tekla Structures, engineers are using Tekla for conceptual design and turning that into more detailed design. They can put all connection information in there or they can pass it down to the steel detailer who works for the fabricator where they can add that information. From the detailed model they can produce fabrication information to be used in the shop. The same model can be used to put rebar or concrete in the model before getting to the field.

The model can be taken to the construction side where contractors can manage the schedule and tie it to model objects. The model information can be used to feed into total stations that will tell them where to hang the concrete or steel.

The level of detail is greater in version 20, with real welds in the models for steel customers. The product is intelligent and automatically cuts the material where the weld is to go. On the engineering side, interoperability is huge between architects and plant designers, so Smart 3D, PDMS and Revit integration has improved in version 20.

“On the concrete side, we’ve stepped up our level of importing complex geometry, whether coming from SketchUp or other design software,” said Allphin.  “You can bring in complex geometries and add associating objects that are connected to it. There are more tools to manipulate geometries and Tekla directly via the visual interface rather than a dialog, which we refer to as ‘direct manipulation of objects.’”

On the project management side, the tools available to organize models have been made available to anyone with a Tekla Structure license for all configurations.

New features of CityCAD 2.6

March 21st, 2014 by Susan Smith

Holistic City Limited has just announced their latest release of CityCAD, version 2.6.

Several sharp improvements characterize this release as well as stability and performance upgrades:

  • New samples have been added to the settings library (different kinds of residential and mixed-use blocks with a variety of detailed building perimeter objects) to make it easier to get up and running quickly.

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Bentley ProjectWise Construction Work Package Server available

March 18th, 2014 by Susan Smith

In a virtual press conference recently, Harry Vitelli, Bentley vice president, construction and field and Mark Hattersley, Bentley product manager spoke about the immediate availability of ProjectWise Construction Work Package Server.

“This product is the only commercially available off-the-shelf offering that allows constructors to implement the emerging best practice of work packaging,” said Vitelli. “This new paradigm in construction is being advocated by leading industry organizations, including the Construction Industry Institute, following research showing that such methodologies can increase safety and lower total install cost.”

Of the $420 million labor hours that should be done efficiently, only $155 million of that is work getting done.

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Trimble SketchUp 2014 released

March 11th, 2014 by Susan Smith

John Bacus, director of SketchUp product management, spoke about Trimble’s recent release of Trimble SketchUp 2014, the popular 3D modeling platform for architects, engineers, design and construction professionals. SketchUp 2014 features major enhancements to SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse—a world recognized large repository of free, high-quality, 3D content—as well as new tools that improve the classification of design objects, have more interoperability with other products used in BIM workflows, and make professional documentation more efficient.

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Sensors power next-generation Structural Health Monitoring in civil engineering applications

March 7th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Sherborne Sensors’ Mike Baker examines how field-proven sensor technology lies at the heart of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) innovation.

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is an emerging field that provides information on demand about any significant change or damage occurring in a structure. It has been employed for many years in civil infrastructure in various forms, ranging from visual observation and assessment of structural condition, to technology-led approaches involving deployment of an array of sensors that can include accelerometers, inclinometers and strain measurement devices on site.  These sensors can be deployed on a permanent basis or moved on and off site each time a fresh set of data is required.

Conventional forms of inspection and monitoring are only as good as their ability to uncover potential issues in a timely manner. One of the major difficulties with SHM instruments for example, is managing the huge volumes of data that sensor arrays generate. Meanwhile, visual inspections and evaluations are insufficient for determining the structural adequacy of bridges or buildings.

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Bentley MANAGEservices address project collaboration and work sharing

March 6th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Brian Robins, director of business development for managed services at Bentley Systems, talked recently with AECCafe Voice about Bentley MANAGEservices, their solution to provision, manage, monitor, and support Bentley software solutions for architecture, engineering, and construction. “Managed services were quite popular in the 80s and 90s and then got overlooked,” said Robins. “Now they are coming to the forefront again, for several reasons.”

Users are briefed on how to get the most out of their software investment.

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TurboSite v2.5 upgrade adds video markup to PDF and BIM support

February 26th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Recently released upgrades for TurboSite Pro and TurboSite Plus, the award-winning apps for field reporting from IMSI/Design, now add video markup to BIM and PDF support.  TurboSite Pro v2.5 shows BIM properties and displays 3D section cuts.

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