July 27, 2009
Sketch a Broad Canvas with Wacom Interactive Pen Display
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Sketch a Broad Canvas with Wacom Interactive Pen Display

By Susan Smith

The company Wacom has been around for 25 years with its display technology . I was first familiarized with this company through my work in the AEC industry (architectural, engineering and construction) for which it always seemed like a good fit, with its digitizer tablets and sketching capabilities. The palette-based DTZ-2100 Interactive Pen Display is the first choice of architects, according to the company. Wacom has a long background with Autodesk products, and their products are used in conjunction with Revit, Maya, Mudbox, Adobe and Corel's suites of products.

Wacom has now targeted GIS with its DTZ-2100 Interactive Pen Display, making a timely entrance at a time when ESRI’s Bill Miller is working with sketch technology, and the whole notion of “GeoDesign” suggests a way of designing GIS with new tools.

At the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, Wacom’s Mike Dana said the company is focused on changing the human to computer relationship. The product consists of a monitor or display, a pen and a driver. The brain power is in the monitor, and the pen is not intelligent but understands pen pressure so that the user will have a “canvas-based response.”

Wacom hasn’t worked out just what features for GIS you might be able to have with the pen pressure, however, Dana said that this capability, coupled with the pen’s strength of signal and tilt direction could be part of 3D of the future.

Dana said that the display, which has Touch Strips or buttons on either side of the screen, can be configured as you wish, and you can execute 8-12 repetitive tasks at a time.

There is also a display toggle so that you can work on two screens simultaneously and the image will map directly to the second monitor.

“This product combines the convenience of touch with the precision of penpoints,” explained Dana.

An ESRI Authorized Business Partner, Wacom’s DTZ-2100 will be enhanced with flat templates for ArcGIS 9.4. ArcGIS is added to the list of formats in the driver.

“The display is more accurate and precise than the Tablet PC,” claimed Dana. The specialized behavior of the pen, along with the ability to customize buttons to the workflow in office solutions make this a technology to look at.

I did note that the LCD panel is a big draw on power, however, it is powered separately from a PC. Currently, it is not really something you can take out in the field.

Wacom has two models: a 21.3 inch standard size display and a smaller one. The standard size including display monitor, pen and driver retails at US$2,000 and a smaller one is US$1,000.

Another model that is useful for larger displays is the Intuos4 pen tablet. Intuos4, a pen tablet introduced this year that is designed for photographers, designers and artists seeking optimal control and improved productivity. Intuos4 embodies new pen performance, that includes a pen that is sensitive to very slight pressure against the tablet surface, with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The display includes customizable shortcut and modifier keys with accompanying OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays, that make is possible to users to see what settings the keys are at.

Wacom said that the new Intuos4 Grip Pen Tip Sensor technology of the pen offers near-zero (one gram) starting pressure that has the same feel and working with art supplies such as pens, markers and brushes. It also comes with a pressure sensitive eraser.

Additionally, the Cintiq 21UX interactive pen display offers a unique pen experience for working directly on the screen. What it has are a 21.3" TFT diagonal display and a highly sensitive pen-on-screen, with a battery free, albeit non-intelligent pen. Working with this technology is akin to sketching with a pen and paper, making use of a user’s natural inclination to draw on a large canvas.

The Cintiq’s adjustable stand allows users to rotate the display up to 180° in each direction, incline the display from 10° to 65°, and even remove it for comfortable lap use. It also has rear roller feet make the incline adjustments easy.

Integrating Wacom pen technology with architectural and now GIS products offers 1) the integration of the ExpressKeys and Touchstrips with a workstation configuration and an existing workflow and 2) software customization to make software "pen aware." Wacom pen technology can also be used in conjunction with scanning technology and survey and GPS editing workflows.

Top News of the Week

ParaCloud announced the release of GEM Version 3.0. The GEM platform is growing fast, providing advanced functionality with a simple to use interface. ParaCloud GEM is the most accessible generative design solution available today, with no requirement for scripting or spaghetti wiring. Add Generative Modeling tools to any CAD supporting OBJ and DXF formats.

The Los Angeles office of
HOK, a global architecture design firm, and
Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global infrastructure strategic consulting, engineering and program/construction management organization, announced its combined team was selected by the Anaheim City Council and Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to design phase one of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). The 66,000-square-foot structure features an iconic 180-foot archway offering expansive skyline views and will stand out as a landmark throughout the region.


Open Design Alliance (ODA) announced a 13% increase in revenue during the first six months of 2009.

The ODA is a non-profit organization that obtains revenue from membership fees. The increase in revenue is due to a steady base of existing members as well as the addition of new members. A large part of the membership fees is used to develop the ODA Platform which is used for the development of CAD and other technical graphics applications.

Autodesk introduced the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program. The program awards "seed" grants consisting of free bundles of Autodesk software to early-stage, clean technology companies working to solve some of the world's most pressing environmental challenges.

The new headquarters of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was picked as one of the United States’ top 10 best examples of sustainable architecture and green design by the
AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE). The COTE Award is the AIA’s top green award, honoring projects that demonstrate a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology.

Riverbed Technology announced that Gartner has identified the company in its recent July 2009 report, "Market Share: Application Acceleration Equipment, Worldwide 1Q09" as the WOC (WAN optimization controller) Advanced Platform (AP) worldwide market share leader for 1Q 2009 based on revenue. According to Gartner's market share report, Riverbed sustained strong growth to maintain its lead with 31.4% share. In the same report, Riverbed is named the market share leader in the WOC category with 24.2% market share.

COADE announced that the company has launched an updated web site, now with a fresh look and easier navigation for existing and new users, dealers, employees, and industry and media representatives.

Vico Software has designed a series of virtual construction training classes for the AEC/O Community. Designed to work like college and graduate-level courses, the series grows progressively more difficult with complex theory, methodologies, and best practices. The goal of the BIM Master Class series is simple: instruct as many construction professionals as possible about the many facets of BIM. After completing the course curriculum, students (general contractors and owners) will be able to deploy the best practices for model-based coordination, model-based scheduling, and model-based estimating in their firm.

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