February 07, 2005
Other Alternatives to AutoCAD 2000i Retirement?
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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  • How You View CAD
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami Update

  • About this Issue….

    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! Probably it is time to
    retire this subject, but before doing so I wanted to add SmartSketch and the DWGgateway to the list of products that are providing an alternative to the Autodesk retirement of older versions of AutoCAD. Take a look at these alternatives this week in Industry News.

    Also, numerous efforts are being made these days to provide users with the ability to markup, view and manipulate CAD drawings and other data without the benefit of a CAD software program. Take a look at one such solution in this week's Industry News.

    To send contributions to those who were affected by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, take a look at this site:

    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, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

    AECWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.
    Send your comments to me at

    Best wishes,

    Susan Smith, Managing Editor

    Industry News

    Other Alternatives to AutoCAD 2000i Retirement?

    By Susan Smith

    Probably it is time to
    retire this subject, but before doing so I wanted to add SmartSketch and the DWGgateway to the list of products that are providing an alternative to the Autodesk retirement of older versions of AutoCAD.

    SmartSketch is a parametric full fledged 2D CAD tool priced at $1,500. New features in version 5.0 include the Line Style Editor, expanded interoperability, Image Integrator enhancements and a number of other improvements. According to John Eichstaedt, Director, Global Business Development - Design Systems, Intergraph Process, Power and Marine, clients don't pay for upgrades. They have a right to service and upgrades on their maintenance contract. For that one price they receive perpetual upgrades. Lease contracts are also available.

    As part of the SmartPlant Enterprise based on the SmartPlant Foundation and The Engineering Framework, SmartSketch joins the latest solutions such as P&ID, Instrumentation and Electrical, SmartPlant Foundation Solution and Streaming Viewer built on Foundation and PDS Legacy products

    SmartSketch is used in architectural design as well as plant design, and has the translation capability to read and write all formats. Intergraph maintains that users can adopt SmartSketch and read in all their DWG files, then use SmartSketch to manipulate the files from then on.

    SmartSketch automatically creates and maintains relationships between geometric elements. It is also parametric, which means users can generate “what if” scenarios before committing to a particular design. CAD translation from other CAD formats allows users to redline, edit and view any CAD data. To expand interoperability alternatives, SmartSketch provides attribute retention in exported DWG files and also supports foreign reference files in documents saved as DWG, DGN and DXF. Intelligent symbols snap automatically onto geometry and will align and rotate during placement. Also the product has web publishing features that allow drawings to be marked up, viewed and shared across
    an enterprise.

    The new DWGgateway from SolidWorks is a free software component that can be
    installed into AutoCAD in only a minute or two. What is different about this component is that users of older versions of AutoCAD, going all the way back to R14, to read, edit, and save AutoCAD (.dwg and .dxf) 2D files created by more recent versions of the software, including AutoCAD 2005.

    Designers and engineers who may only have AutoCAD 2000i can use DWGgateway to give their software the ability to read DWG and DXF files produced by AutoCAD 2004 or 2005. The DWGgateway also makes it possible for users of AutoCAD 2005 through AutoCAD 14 versions to produce DWG and DXF data in older formats, going all the way back to AutoCAD Release 2.5.

    From the press release: "The DWGgateway is the latest in a series of tools we've given to the design engineering community to enable the efficient exchange of engineering information," said Chris Garcia, SolidWorks Corporation's vice president of research and development. "In SolidWorks® 2005 software, we introduced the DWGEditor(TM) tool, which allowed customers to read, edit, and save any DWG file produced by any version of AutoCAD. Our customers asked if their colleagues using AutoCAD could have the same capability, so we're delivering it, free, in the same spirit we created eDrawings(TM) for easy exchange of designs and XchangeWorks for importing 3D models into AutoCAD."

    For more on Bentley's “You Deserve Better” program alternative, see

    How You View CAD

    Numerous efforts are being made these days to provide users with the ability to markup, view and manipulate CAD drawings and other data without the benefit of a CAD software program. This obviously saves a company money, as most companies don't need a copy of CAD software for every employee. Yet more and more people in an organization need to see CAD data than ever before. So tools are being designed to offer just that - a look see, or a limited access to design data via a viewer mechanism to help with decision making in other departments outside the design shop.

    Autodesk DWF(TM) Composer is one of those products. DWF or Design Web Format is a format that Autodesk has been touting as a “new industry standard.” So far their popular, free DWF Viewer has made great strides, used by millions of users worldwide, for “creating, managing and sharing complex computer-aided design, engineering, and mapping information electronically.” With DWF Viewer users can view and print and send files 1/20th the size of a CAD drawing.

    Composer is a more robust solution, incorporating DWF Viewer and much more. It provides review, markup, comments and the ability to revise drawings, maps and models without using the original CAD design software. It is a great tool for those who need design review quickly. With Composer, users can aggregate multiple files into a DWF container, and get complete sheet set organization, and status-tracking capabilities.

    DWF Writers is built into every Autodesk product and allows users to publish from any Windows application. Both DWF Viewer and DWF Writer are free.

    When you purchase Autodesk® DWF™ Composer you receive three software components:
  • Autodesk DWF Composer, to review, mark up, and revise DWF files
  • Autodesk® DWG Viewer, to view, plot, and publish DWG files
  • Autodesk® DWF™Writer, to publish DWF files from any application
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami Update

    Software developer GAEA Technologies is offering a software grant program to provide free licenses of its environmental and civil engineering POLLUTEv7 and MIGRATEv9, WinLoG and WinFence programs to engineers and researchers in countries affected by the tsunami and earthquake in south Asia. The company has a long history of providing solutions internationally for more than 15 years in landfill design, contaminant transport modeling, and remediation.

    This grant program will provide a total of $100,000 in free software licenses with a limit of $5,000 per application.

    To apply for a grant under the program, please write to


    IMSI®, developer and publisher of precision design, consumer and business software solutions, announced it will hold its quarterly conference call to discuss its second quarter results ending December 31, 2004. The call will take place on Monday, February 14, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1:00 p.m. Pacific Time).

    The public may participate in this event by calling 800-822-4794. Individuals are also invited to listen to the conference call, which will be broadcast live over the Internet beginning Monday, February 14, 2005, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To participate, call toll free 800-822-4794 or direct 913-981-4912. To listen to the call live over the Internet, simply visit
    IMSI and select the earnings call icon.

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    -- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.


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