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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 »

Autodesk acquires technology assets from Alice Labs

October 20th, 2011 by Susan Smith

Autodesk has acquired technology assets and hired individuals associated with the Alice Labs technology, according to Michael Oldenburg, manager, Corporate Communications, Autodesk.

What those assets are we don’t know yet, and this statement is all that is being said at this time by Autodesk. Alice Labs is known for its Studio Clouds 3D Point Cloud editing software. They currently have a plugin for Maya and Max and are developing new features all the time.

Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure: Sustainable Cities

October 18th, 2011 by Susan Smith

Sustainable infrastructure is needed to replace the $41 trillion worth of infrastructure that needs to be replaced or retrofitted around the world.

According to Paul McRoberts , vice president of the Infrastructure Product Line Group AEC Solutions at Autodesk, there is only about $22 trillion available to remedy this situation. How is this to be accomplished?

Autodesk’s Infrastructure Design Suite 2012, Autodesk’s BIM for Infrastructure solution, combines the tools needed to plan, design, build and manage infrastructure. Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler, a new product, represents the expansion of Autodesk’s BIM portfolio and is geared around the idea of being able to leverage existing information such as GIS data and any kind of disparate data: lidar data, raster and photogrammetry; and being able to layer this information in and to create a representation of existing conditions. Infrastructure Modeler can compare conceptual models that can be used for new proposals to help customers and stakeholders understand what the future infrastructure is going to look like.

Detailed models can be imported from AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk Revit, and other software to create an infrastructure model.

Surface data in raster form, road center lines, land use, parcels and building footprints can be used to create an infrastructure model. Raster data or AutoCAD 3D surfaces can be used to create terrain and make the terrains more realistic and informative by tracing aerial photography, site plans or topographic maps on top of them. CAD and GIS data can be used to display 3D representations grown from 3D data both above and below the ground. These different data formats can then be configured to become different feature types such as buildings, trees or roads, and some land coverages.

AutoCAD Map 3D can be implemented during the initial acquisition of existing conditions for planning, and for managing the infrastructure once the project is complete. AutoCAD Civil 3D is used for transportation and land development design and Autodesk Navisworks during the construction phase.  Those not familiar with the design and construction world can access the model and understand the proposed project very early in the design process.

Architecture 2030 keynote focuses on building’s contribution to global warming

October 6th, 2011 by Susan Smith

As part of the recent AIA New Mexico convention, Edward Mazria, founder of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, delivered  a keynote on “Architecture on the Brink.”

Mazria said in working backward from the 2030 date, which was a data set by the scientific community, coal energy production will peak and phase out, then the world will get to where it needs to be to stabilize climate.

On an even more hopeful note, nearly 3/4 of the top 30 architecture and engineering firms in the world have adopted the 2030 targets, as have 41 percent of U.S. architecture firms.

In citing what would make design move forward with carbon neutral, Mazria offered changes in glazing, use of air conditioners, good construction, more efficient lighting, appliances, passive solar systems and photovoltaics.

It was not clear in his talk how this would take place, as currently building in the U.S. is not very active. Perhaps he was directing this toward retrofits and building in other nations.

The convention featured more than a dozen seminars on topics including Google SketchUp, innovative building systems and sustainable water systems. Tom Kundig, principal and co-owner of Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle, spoke about “kinetic architecture,” which he says refers to “architecture that can respond to whatever the existing conditions are, cultural or environmental.”

AutoCAD products for Mac 2012

August 22nd, 2011 by Susan Smith

Rob Maguire, senior product manager, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT and
Tal Weiss, senior product developer, AutoCAD WS filled me in on the big news of the three new Mac products from Autodesk: AutoCAD for Mac 2012, first introduction of both AutoCAD LT for Mac and AutoCAD WS for Mac.

AutoCAD for Mac added features such as usability, documentation, communication and licensing. Features that are also new to AutoCAD 2012 for Windows in March such as associative array, multifunction, command line, which were all new features have been ported over to AutoCAD 2012 for Mac. Features that AutoCAD has had for sometime such as network licensing, some patch enhancements, layer groups, reference editing, larger drawing  features are now a part of AutoCAD for Mac, as well as Mac Lion support and multi-touch gestures.
AutoCAD for Mac was the first Mac product everyone was asking for, according to McGuire, with large demographics among industrial designers and architects.

For those traditional 2D users, LT is still a good choice at a lower price point.
Tal Weiss said that Autodesk has had WS on mobile Apple devices for almost a year now, and they have had probably over 1 ½ million downloads between iPhone and iPad users. “For  AutoCAD we wanted to create a free app that will let our Mac users be able to view and be able to do some lightweight editing and reviewing,” said Weiss.  Autodesk wanted to release the product in the Mac App store along with AutoCAD LT, which is what they ultimately did.
Availability in the Mac Apple Store has garnered a lot of attention and brings these products to a more mainstream audience.

The “first” 5D Building Information Modeling System

August 2nd, 2011 by Susan Smith

Buried in the Genesis Worldwide, Inc.’s company financials is the significant direction the company is taking: hiring a professional software developer to help them develop what may be the first 5D BIM. The BIM model of their project would include dimensions of length, width, height, time and cost.

Genesis says the new 5D BIM will enable them to shift more of the construction to an offsite facility, saving in time, labor and materials and may allow for more efficient disposal and recycling of materials. They are suggesting this as a more green alternative to traditional construction methods.

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