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3D City GIS modeling software in Bentley V8i

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Just released – V8i (SELECTseries 1) versions of Bentley Map, Bentley Descartes, Bentley Geospatial Server, and Bentley Geo Web Publisher further extend this portfolio to include new 3D City GIS capabilities.

This functionality is said to enable governments to perform urban planning, noise simulation, shadow analysis, natural disaster mitigation, public relationship management, and 3D analysis and design.

This is said to be pertinent to AEC professionals because, according to the press release: “Bentley Geospatial Server V8i (SELECTseries 1) provides a unique way to combine 3D GIS and 3D engineering/Building Information Modeling information by leveraging Bentley innovations such as i-models for semantically rich and secure file-based information sharing. (An i-model is a container for open infrastructure information exchange featuring provenance (that is, knowledge of its origin and evolution)).

Skape offers 3D city mapping service

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Skape is a geospatial 3D city mapping service product from Infoterra that offers advanced imagery of 3D heighted buildings of the UK’s major cities. 99% of the data collected for this product is Infoterra-owned, and the company uses its own dedicated fleet of aircraft to capture fully textured imagery. The new product is designed for environmentalists, architects, planners, local authorities and surveyors. Skape enables users to manipulate urban landscapes online by combining high resolution 3D textured city models with 2D mapping and terrain data.

The UK-architectural firm BDP has just signed up to Skape.

Cintiq 21UX multitouch tablet from Wacom

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

In the wake of the excitement over the Apple iPad tablet computer, Wacom offers the super high end Cintiq 21UX multitouch tablet with interactive pen display technology that is priced at $1999.

“The Cintiq 21UX pen display combines the advantages of a color-accurate LCD with the performance of Wacom’s patented pen technology. With a UXGA resolution of 1600 x 1200, a completely flat work surface, 8 ExpressKeys, 2 finger-sensitive Touch Strips, and a dynamically adjustable stand> …according to press materials.

I wrote about Wacom in July of 2009 after seeing their product line at ESRI 2009. They were targeting the Geospatial market for that conference, of course, but they have their roots in the AEC and graphics industries. I include that blog here as it describes the company’s direction:

July 17th, 2009 by Susan Smith

The company Wacom has been around for 25 years with its display technology . I was first familiarized with this company through my work in the AEC industry (architectural, engineering and construction) for which it always seemed like a good fit, with its digitizer tablets and sketching capabilities.

Wacom has now come to GIS with its palette-based DTZ-2100 Interactive Pen Display, making a timely entrance at a time when ESRI’s Bill Miller is working with sketch technology, and the whole notion of “GeoDesign” suggests a way of designing GIS with new tools.

Wacom’s Mike Dana said the company is focused on changing the human to computer relationship. The product consists of a monitor or display, a pen and a driver. The brain power is in the monitor, and the pen is not intelligent but understands pen pressure so that the user will have a “canvas-based response.”

Wacom hasn’t worked out just what features you might be able to have with the pen pressure, however, Dana said that this capability, coupled with the pen’s strength of signal and  tilt direction could be part of 3D of the future.

Dana said that the display, which has buttons on either side of the screen, can be configured as you wish, and you can execute 8-12 repetitive tasks at a time.

There is also a display toggle so that you can work on two screens simultaneously and the image will map directly to the second monitor.

“This product combines the convenience of touch with the precision of penpoints,” explained Dana.

An ESRI Authorized Business Partner, Wacom’s DTZ-2100 will be hanced with flat templates for ArcGIS 9.4. ArcGIS is added to the list of formats in the driver.

“The display is more accurate and precise than the Tablet PC,” claimed Dana. The specialized behavior of the pen, along with the ability to customize buttons to the workflow in office solutions make this a technology to look at.

I did note that the LCD panel is a big draw on power, however, it is powered separately from a PC. Currently, it is not really something you can take out in the field.

Wacom has two models: a  21.3 inch standard size display and a smaller one. The standard size including display monitor, pen and driver retails at US$2,000 and a smaller one is US$1,000.

BIM comes to Sheet Metal Workers Local 36

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

St. Louis, Mo. (Feb. 8, 2010)- Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36, a labor organization specializing in architectural, industrial, residential and commercial HVAC craftsmanship,  will host the International Training Institute’s (ITI) Building Information Modeling (BIM) Academies the weeks of Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, 2010.

Investment in BIM requires leaders

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Larry Barton, president of Strang, a 75-year-old architecture, engineering, interior design and construction administration firm in Madison, WI, said their firm takes advantage of outside consulting offered by Eppstein Uhen Architects to help more firms understand BIM strategies — but it that is not all that is needed.

Integrating BIM into a company’s day-to-day work also requires a few key employees who will take the lead in learning the sophisticated comp platform, keep up with changes over time and teach others how to use it, he said.

“You tend to develop champions within your office,” Barton said. “There will be two or three people who really enjoy working on it and make the investment of time and energy into learning the tools. And they, in essence, lead the rest of your firm towards its implementation.”

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