At the Bentley Be Inspired Symposium last week, one of the announcements was the soon-to-be-released ProjectWise Navigator V8i (SELECTseries 1), dynamic collaboration software for iterative project review. According to press materials, this new version of ProjectWise Navigator can be used by infrastructure teams to interactively view, analyze, and augment project information.
What will make this process dynamic so there can be bi-directional feedback for team participants, is the inclusion of a new product, i-models.
i-models are said to be “a new infrastructure currency for open information exchange.” As I understand it, the i-Model is a container that can hold an entire 3D model, a revision history and tracking of where the information comes from (what Bentley terms “provenance,” and can be exported to those who need to see this information or series of files. The author can embed access rights into the model, support digital signatures and take measurements or extract information from this information. It cannot be changed, but notes can be attached to it. It is a .dgn file, but it has the capability of bringing in other material such as Revit files using the previously released Revit plug-in. It honors all file formats (or will, once Bentley develops individual plug ins for it) and standards such as ISO 15926, IFCs, XML.
Press members asked, why do we need another format? The i-Model is not really another format, it’s another way to share information with team members or other stakeholders. Similar to a zip file, when you open it you can see its contents. It will be particularly useful for plant and process and other large-scope projects with multiple and diverse processes.
The other big question is, how big is it? In comparison with a regular model file, perhaps a BIM file, the i-Model would be at a ratio of 10 to 1. It will contain all accurate geometry, but will do away with anything extraneous or redundant. I’m not sure how it makes this decision.
The i-Model capability will be part and parcel of the next release of ProjectWise Navigator and Composer which will ship in October 2009.