December 04, 2006
Autodesk University 2006 Report – Part I
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor: 
Autodesk University 2006 Report - Part I

Welcome to AECWeekly! Autodesk CEO and president Carl Bass had talked last year about making technology ‘seamless,' hinting at a blending of technologies, so that in the future, you might not necessarily open Civil 3D to build a road, or open AutoCAD to do 2D drawing, but would instead use one tool with profound technology underneath, to meet all your needs in the design process. Although this still sounds awfully farfetched, the vision gained some clarity this year through some very powerful customer demonstrations during Autodesk University's Opening General Session and keynote address.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Autodesk University 2006 Report - Part I


Autodesk CEO and president Carl Bass had talked last year about making technology ‘seamless,' hinting at a blending of technologies, so that  in the future, you might not necessarily open Civil 3D to build a road, or open AutoCAD to do 2D drawing, but would instead use one tool with profound technology underneath, to meet all your needs in the design process. Although this still sounds awfully farfetched, the vision gained some clarity this year through some very powerful customer demonstrations during Autodesk University's Opening General Session and keynote address.

Autodesk technical evangelist Lynn Allen kicked off the Opening General Session and keynote address on Tuesday by announcing that the conference had attracted over 7500 attendees this year. "Vegas is the only city that grows brighter as the sun goes down," she declared. 

CEO and president Carl Bass stated that Autodesk University is his "favorite event of the year." He noted that in past years Autodesk did all the talking, with a lot of live demos during the keynote presentations. This year was definitely different: customers were invited to demonstrate on stage what they have been working on.  When people ask Bass what Autodesk does, his response is: "Autodesk makes software tools to help people experience something before it's built." The demonstrations were all about allowing users to create designs, manipulate images and data before committing those designs to construction.

What makes this possible today is the prevalence of 64 bit computing and platforms, removing the limit to what can be visualized, modeled and presented. "We're learning how to capture and manipulate challenging data to get better workflows and more compelling imagery," Bass said.

With that said, the first demonstration was given by Didier Madoc Jones and Robert Graves of DMJ, Great Britain, whose project is modeling cities.

Jones said they formed DMJ about 15 years ago, with the vision in mind to create realistic and beautiful architecture. They always believed in pushing limits in 3D architecture. They got involved in a great number of projects, worked closely with architects and with public relations to market to end users.

"We've worked with many different technologies, including fully immersive suites, with multiple projectors where the audience can reach out and touch the building, and been involved in the production of images for planning applications." Jones said this is a highly sensitive issue in England, that their images in London are used to show the impact a building will make on surrounding areas. They use survey data, photography and 3D
models to achieve a product. 

Steps to creating the planning models include:

1) high resolution photograph - survey position of camera very accurately. photo is checked for points of high contrast, then collated, then put in 3ds Max script that creates a 3D object with points. The model can then be superimposed on to the image, showing the right position and location. The 3D model of the scene allows DMJ to do studies on moving and seeing  the impact of building on a skyline, for example.

2) The set specification model should be accurate and very detailed. DMJ is producing very wide area, dynamic view studies with a model that now includes most of central London, 36 kilometers in size.  "We wanted to capture the unique essence of the
London skyline, modeled every chimney stack, and parapets," said Jones. "The  model had to be real world accurate, and we combined aerial photography plus a land survey, and topography. We have every tree in London and have recently updated the model.  It is useful for planning and insurance, security, etc. and we are now working on modeling other cities around the world."

The model is a 1 Gigabyte 3D Studio Max model.

 

Doug Eberhardt, virtual technology officer at Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering, project management and infrastructure firm, talked about that company's design of supermodels using several Autodesk products, including Civil 3D, Revit and 3ds Max.

3D glasses were provided for each attendee to see deeper into the design offerings. It was strange to view the following designs through 3D glasses, much like we were viewing a movie from the 50s:

- LAX Airport master plan project, using 3D geospatial data to create a smart infrastructure model.

- World Trade Center - Hub construction center, digital and visual solution, creating a 3D parametric construction model, 3D geospatial database

- Alaskan Way/Viaduct replacement project, parametric design intelligence, and 4D construction model and 3D geospatial

- Seattle - Real estate and Transit oriented development - 3D urban supermodel, 3D visualization database, internet communications.

For Seattle they used private and public data, multiple GIS databases, Revit and Civil 3D, and Oracle, Combustion and Autodesk  media and entertainment tools in the digital workflow.

Lt. Col. Mike Legg of the U.S. Army, formerly with U.S. Special Operations Command, worked with Brian Casey, a new addition to Autodesk as a geospatial expert, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The demonstration depicted a military operation that could take place anywhere in the world. Before you place a soldier or anyone in harm's way, said Legg, you need to research the situation.

Using preconfigured routes and position, you would want to see overall city from various viewpoints. You could see inside the building since it is modeled in Revit. Since it is a BIM model you can also see the HVAC, walls, piping and utilities.

An outside view of the area is valuable for route planning, said Legg. Drivers can prepare ahead of time, security teams can evaluate routes to the target area, ambush locations, choke points and bottlenecks.

You can deselect the terrain and show subsurface infrastructure, show what networks provide basic necessities. Security teams can know where to locate utilities, etc.

Line of sight is valuable for assessing how many security people you need and where to place your sensors. Devices are now becoming location aware and will become an increasingly important part of our infrastructure. said Legg. "Knowing about location provides context for finding information and finding people."

Advanced technologies and how they're being used to solve problem of managing people out in the field. The Field Force management solution is used by Patriot Mechanical.

Dave Trahan and Jeff Trahan, co owners of Patriot Mechanical, a heat, air and mechanical company, demonstrated how the use of Nextel Mobile Locator service combined with Autodesk products allowed them to become more efficient with their mobile workforce and manage their daily assignments in the field. They can log onto the Nextel website, see where employees are located, confirm that employees are at their first appointment, dispatch employees to emergency calls that have come in overnight, and route techs to calls. When you pull up the website, it shows a map of all the employees and the Mobile Locator will send a text message to any of the employees and turn by turn directions can be sent to them at any time to help them reach their destination faster.

BIM is also a valuable tool for sustainable design and being able to gauge the
potential impact of a project on the environment.

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