March 21, 2005
Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 Targets Global Transportation Market
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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A weekly news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published AEC product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by AECCafe.

Welcome to AECWeekly! Historically, Autodesk has not really targeted the global transportation market, however, Civil 3D meets that criteria. Civil 3D customers benefit by getting not only 100% of AutoCAD but also 100% of
Map 3D, as these products are supersets of one another. Civil 3D is designed for transportation, subdivision, site and storm/sanitary projects. Read about in this week's Industry News.

AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 Targets Global Transportation Market

By Susan Smith

Autodesk Civil 3D out of the box is clearly positioned as a civil engineering product, sold to a specific type of customer to fill a specific need. The product was launched last year and grew 38% in China alone during the year 2004. 448 new seats of Civil 3D have been sold since the launch.

This week Autodesk released their whole
suite of products for
AutoCAD 2006. Within the
Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) of Autodesk are the products Autodesk Map 3D 2006, Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 and Autodesk Raster Design 2006 which should ship at the end of the month.

Historically, Autodesk has not really targeted the global transportation market, however, Civil 3D meets that criteria. Civil 3D customers benefit by getting not only 100% of AutoCAD but also 100% of Map 3D, as these products are supersets of one another. It is designed for transportation, subdivision, site and storm/sanitary projects.

Key issues for customers of the year-old Civil 3D product included piping and project management. The API has been extended to accommodate those customers in Europe and Asia who need extensible 3D. Lack of pipe functionality in the storm/sanitary aspect of the product has been addressed in the 2006 version with the concept of the single model. From that model, customers are able to integrate all the different aspects of the design. Civil 3D has an integrated approach to designing road, site, subdivision , or storm/sanitary system, and also users are able to directly retrieve or extract drafting from it, while reporting analysis and visualization. “Thus you can make one change to one
part of the model, and other parts downstream will be affected. By making this one change, you move the pipe, all the annotation updates, all the inspection plots, and all the profiles and drafting updates,” said Dave Simeone, Product Development Manager.

Another major customer concern is the ability to confirm that the drafting and design are completely in sync. Civil 3D addresses that by providing the single model that integrates design elements, drafting and reports, analysis and visualization. Also, the intelligent relationships between objects that exist within the design that are mentioned above allow users to move one element and others respond accordingly. Civil engineers can do things like grip edit a road, shift it over ten feet and immediately get a response as to how that is going to affect migrating, volume, or if they will need any land, or building walls or other impacts that affect additional cost.

As a complete superset of Autodesk Map3D, Civil 3D 2006 has all the map analysis, map creation, plus the pure AutoCAD drafting and plotting built into the system. The APIs for AutoCAD 2006 are compatible with 2005/2004. Additionally, Autodesk Raster Design 2006 is a new product that allows users to avoid expensive redrafting procedures by being able to clean up, edit and vectorize scanned drawings.

New Features:

The first four features have been a major theme of the 2006 release.

1. New layout and drafting of dynamic pipe networks (sanitary, storm drainage, etc.) “People need to be able to do their pipe drafting and layout,” said Simeone. “I can go in a plan profile or section, grip edit the model and change to any part of that pipe network, change the size of that pipe, change the location of a structure, change the slope in any part of that is going to be updated. I may have my section sheets already created, all my views in my section sheet of my pipes is going to be updated, and all of my annotations are going to be updated.” This feature is a major theme of the 2006 release.

2. Enhanced Corridor Modeling: For designing roads, rail, channel design, and as a core modeling approach on site design, corridor modeling is very flexible. “We've added more advanced tools for designing how a road is elevated around a corner and specifics on being able to edit a specific station or a range of stations,” explained Simeone.

3. Expanded multi-user access to key project data including surfaces, points, alignments, and profiles: The ability to have multiple people working simultaneously on a project, “so in other words if I'm designing a large subdivision or large road, there is going to be a team of people - project managers, designers, drafters--all focused on different aspects, like pipe, landscape, or environment. With this function you can develop one master set of data for certain parts of the model, and everyone on the team can reference certain parts,” said Simeone. “I can create the surface model, the base horizontal alignment and the base vertical, then reference those
elements and create totally new drawings with different annotation and different graphical display, and complete that corridor model. Another user in another location can take that same model and start adding all the pipes, and then if I can come back in on my master drawing and change my alignment location for elevation for the geometry, that change is going to ripple through all our drawings. So as my core master data changes, all the people who are referencing that data are going to receive those changes.”

4. Enhanced development environment: The development environment makes certain that customers have a full set of add on applications provided by Autodesk, developed by themselves or available from third party developers. These will fill niche needs and the main needs for specific customization. People in environmental or rail industries, for example, will want to incrementally add functionality above and beyond Civil 3D that is going to customize Civil 3D specific to their needs. The robust platform with API is designed for partners to built onto, and there is a move on the business side to provide partners to meet specific needs globally as well.

5. Comprehensive set of training, support and implementation services

6. Built on flexible and globally accepted AutoCAD platform


A recent study of Civil 3D 2005 done by Harry O. Ward, engineer and author, summarized anticipated productivity improvement by calculating ROI. Using a project composite drawn from interviews with a representative sample of executives and firms in the civil engineering sector, Ward found that productivity improvement was 100% (average consensus), profit increased 12% the first year of use compared to Land Desktop (including first year training impact), and the consensus was that they had achieved a 7-month ROI.

Although there are a number of users doing civil work on Autodesk Land Desktop, Civil Design and AutoCAD, Civil 3D presents an intriguing alternative to those products, with its model-based design and built-in Map 3D, and consequent ability to integrate structural 3D and geographic information into one single model.

New discussion groups for AutoCAD 2006 products are now available.

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To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

Review Article
  • Good topic April 30, 2009
    Reviewed by 'dean wilbert'
    I personally have bought this product and think it is good

      One person of 61 found this review helpful.

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