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 »
January 12th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Beijing company GstarCAD recently published Drawing Compare, a newly-enhanced function of GstarCAD 2011—a tool commonly used for comparing the differences between two DWG files after design modifications.
January 11th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Intergraph just released the newest version of its enterprise viewing and markup software solution, SmartPlant Markup Plus. In an agreement with Informative Graphics Corp. Intergraph has been able to add new multi-format viewing and markup support capabilities.
The product will bundled with SmartPlant Foundation. I would have thought it would be bundled with the CADWorx products from the COADE acquisition.
From the press release: “A major part of this new release includes embedded components developed by Informative Graphics Corp. (IGC), a leading provider of high-quality viewing, annotation, redaction and publishing software since 1990. Further, the embedded IGC components provide an open, XML-based markup format which will enable powerful new interrogation, searching and linking capabilities.”
This release marks a direction we have seen Intergraph heading in since their acquisition of COADE a year ago, with more focus on CAD type solutions.
CEO Hexagon AB (acquirer of Intergraph in 2010) Ole Rollén, said at the time that CAD systems may be in their future again, “What we need to do is to deliver good application software and good solutions to the professionals….we have certain markets where I can see the need for CAD systems, going forward, but that’s more construction-related. You should be able to download a 3D model of a building, for example, and download that into your measurement device that will guide you where to put the air conditioning, spotlights, cabling in walls, etc. and these are technologies we are developing.”
He added that “Plant is probably our single largest application within the Hexagon group.”
January 10th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Carl Steinitz, research professor at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard delivered a keynote on Day Two at the GeoDesign Summit in Redlands. In his bio, it says that Steinitz has “devoted much of his career to improving methods of landscape planning and design.” He has organized and taught numerous workshops on large and complex landscape design change problems. He has been honored as an outstanding teacher by Harvard University.
With all that said, I believe Steinitz’ message was a little difficult to grasp, yet like all excellent teachers, he had a profound message.
He began by asking, “Why is it when all we measure is quantities we end with bad designs?”
He said he thinks that “what is GeoDesign?” is a social question and that GeoDesign is here to answer questions that are not easily defined.
“Most of the work we’re doing and demonstrating involves problems that are marginally understood and that we presume to understand.in a framewrok with many actors and views,” said Steinitz. “People need to understand the complexity, because we don’t know everything.”
There are four groups- people of the place, design professionals, information technologists, and geographers/scientists involved in this effort. He says we are probably underestimating the difficulty of bringing these all together.
Steinitz says the geographic sciences are premised on the idea of bringing the model built on the past and present into the future. The differences in the cultures of design and science create difficulties in communication between the two sectors.
-Designers think a lot about the future but don’t know anything about the present and past.
-People who are confident in what they do come together with others and create geodesign.
-There is a social system for design – the assumption is the people don’t agree with each other and /or have problem they perceive or don’t perceive.
-The designer’s theory is the scientist’s hypothesis.
– Scale and size matter
-Designers are educated to start small and go big.
-Geographers or scientists start big and go small
Steinitz quoted the Norbert Wiener communciation model (Wiener was a contemporary of Marshall McLuhan) by saying,
Designers generally believe ‘I have a message with a medium and you are expected to understand the meaning.’
Scientists say ‘I’m looking for something in the environment and are you giving it to me?’ The medium is information technology.
Steinitz broke down the types of models we use in assessing landscape with questions:
-How should landscape be described? Representation models
-How does landscape operate? Process models
-Is the current landscape working well? Evaluation models
-How might landscape be altered? Change model
-What predictable differences might the chances cause? Impact models
-How should landscape be changed? Decision model
The decision drives the evaluation, he noted.
“It would be easier to create a model for someone tomorrow than 20-100 years into the future,” Steinitz pointed out. As a big part of the GeoDesign discussion centers around creating an ontology, Steinitz said everyone has to be in the room to create an ontology.
Methods used to do this include: vision or anticipatory, participatory, sequential, combinatorial, constraining, rule-based, optimizing, agent-based.
Steinitz summarized by saying that design and geo are complicated – “geodesign is an art, not a science but depends on science.”
AECOM gave a talk about their SSIM Framework methodology for spatial urban design analysis, which begs the question: What makes a plan inherently more sustainable than another?
Vishal Bhargava, senior associate, Urban Designer, said that Urban Form is the single largest determinant of GHG emissions.
Rather than rely purely on intuitive judgment, the SSIM Framework methodology asks the following questions –
-Which scenario has the least adverse impact on the environment?
-Which scenario has the greatest potential for sustainability?
In the conceptual phase, Bhargava said these are areas of importance to the SSIM Framework –
-Quantification and comparison of performance and plan alternatives
-Conveying the informatin effectively
Key performance indicators –
Their approach is economics driven, and once these benchmarks and strategies are established, then they do a cost analysis.
Stu Rich, CTO of PenBay Solutions spoke on “Taking GIS Inside Buildings –
Facilities Management and Analysis”
Rich asked the question, why GIS for facilities?
“We’re seeing tremendous growth in urban environments, tremendous building boom, and witnessing the greatest migrations of humanity the world has ever seen,” said Rich. In 2000, we became a predominantly urban species, more people for the first time living in urban environments than in rural. It looks like we are going to be doing this for a longer time. This takes pressure off our agricultural lands, but the implications for urban infrastructure is profound.”
Rich pointed out that 48% of emissions are due to the consumption of raw materials for construction materials. “The greenest building is the one we never build.”
“We need to think about how to address that existing building stock which is unlikely to have the BIM data sets we’ve been talking about,” said Rich.
“How do we apply geodesign to that problem?”
In a nutshell, Rich said we need to extend our thinking to the interior environment – it’s not just about buildings, it’s about processes.
-We need to think of ways to not have to build a new building
-We need to extend geographic scale to interiors of buildings
There were a number of Lightning Talks offered on Friday as well that spilled over into the afternoon session. Presenters included universities, Azavea, and even Autodesk.
I had to catch a flight before the Idea Lab of the afternoon so did not witness the wrap up at the end of the day.
January 10th, 2011 by Susan Smith
Pointools, known for its point cloud data transformation software, now extends its reach to GIS with a licensing agreement of Pointools Vortex to Safe Software Inc., a company that specializes in spatial data transformation technology.
From the press release: “Pointools ltd. has licensed Pointools Vortex – its market-leading point cloud software platform – to Safe Software Inc. – the maker of FME and the global leader in spatial data transformation technology – to help GIS professionals and organizations streamline point cloud data transformation and delivery, and overcome point cloud interoperability challenges.”
For more on Pointools, see article in AECWeekly Point Clouds for Every Desktop
January 9th, 2011 by Susan Smith
On January 6 and 7, Esri brought together a meeting of the minds at their GeoDesign Summit held in Redlands, Calif. at Esri headquarters. The event brought together both GIS professionals and architects and engineering professionals in a think-tank setting to discuss how the two technology sectors and cultures might converge in order to make the best of both of them in shared settings.
Some definitions for the term “GeoDesign” which was coined by Esri to describe the convergence of geography and design:
From Wikipedia comes the definition:
Geodesign is a set of techniques and enabling technologies for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including project conceptualization, analysis, design specification, stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation (among other stages). “Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by geographic contexts.”
From other notable professionals:
“Geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of design proposals with impact simulations informed by goegraphic contexts.” – Mike Flaxman
“Geodesign is changing geography by design,” Carl Steinitz
“GIS is about is, geodesign is about what could be.” Tom Fisher