Meeting in Las Vegas - Autodesk University Attracts 3,300

In the tornado, over 3,000 homes were destroyed. There were multi-jurisdictional issues and problems with data sharing. GIS was used to generate maps quickly. There was "up to a mile of total devastation, and there were no landmarks," explained Hansen. It took approximately 1,000 hours to get to recovery mode.

New emergency response tools will make a difference and save lives, according to Hansen. Firefighters plan everything. Now you can have a floor plan of a building, and can send people into the building with a better knowledge of what they might find. Using renderings of the buildings you can look at the interior of a building and see where a person might be concealed, or what potential hazards might exist.

One important thing that Hansen imparted: "This CAD/GIS technology will save lives. We all become emergency responders when the unexpected happens."

Other AU Highlights:

In the press session held on Monday (most of which is under non-disclosure at this time), Chris Bradshaw, Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) VP, spoke specifically about CAD-GIS integration. The two goals of that effort are

To create operating efficiencies

Move to a 3D model based civil design — which will be easier, faster and better.

The Infrastructure Solutions Division used to be the GIS group but since they encompass more than GIS, such as civil and lifecycle management solutions, the name was changed and broadened.

According to Bradshaw, traditionally, Autodesk has served an engineering and construction market, which is still the case and is still the predominant market for ISD. Communications and utilities, transportation (high end ones such as DOTs, port authorities, airports) and government are other strong markets.

Pressing challenges for Infrastructure Solutions include:

  1. Bradshaw noted that it will take "$1.6 trillion to bring infrastructure up to snuff in the U.S. and it should be close to that amount in Europe as well."
  2. Significant electric grid failures have been experienced in the UK, Italy and the U.S.
  3. Infrastructure management now involves security, safety and total cost of ownership.

As a result of 9/11, local governments have a different interest in local assets and emergency response services. Cities are the most progressive customers in terms of implementing total cost of ownership. Globally, infrastructure holds great possibilities. In China alone, the government has detailed plans on how to build infrastructure for the next ten years. The government wants to move 70% of the country’s population to the cities, and rather than moving them to existing cities, they are building entire cities in the west. They are planning huge highway systems running from east to west.

Domestically, industry firm trends include:

Increased competition

  • Shrinking operations margins
  • E&C firms, telco worldwide are participating in projects in other countries
  • Leveraging core expertise into new areas


  • Large firms getting larger
  • Firms expand to Design/Build/Operate

Of the top ten E/C firms in the world, there is only one U.S. firm on the list–Bechtel. Five are Japanese. Their operations margins are much smaller than they were a year ago. One apanese E/C firm has included its range of services to include the management of such things as concessions and parking garages at stadiums that they have built.

Bradshaw discussed emergency response solutions which are built on integrating CAD and GIS. "CAD is in the files, and 3D is stored in a model. Eventually," he predicted, "we will share one original model." Another goal is to have the ability to interoperate with competing formats, which is demonstrated in the alliance Autodesk has entered into with Laser-Scan, Intergraph, MapInfo and Oracle.

"E/C firms are spatial data experts already," claimed Bradshaw, and what they need to do is offer new services for clients, new operating efficiencies for the various phases of the lifecycle. Between civil engineering and mapping, there is "infrastructure lifecycle management" (ILM) which saves time and money in an industry that loses 40% revenue every year. Why is this? "It’s due to lost information and lawyers and other things," said Bradshaw. ILM spans departments which have a heterogeneous environment of IT vendors involved. The challenge has been to have one spatial data server that can synchronize both file management with spatial data.

Other New Products:

On Monday, Speaker Jason Winstanley of Autodesk discussed the availability of the Autodesk® AutoCAD® Revit® Series, a single product that offers building information modeling and CAD by combining Autodesk® Revit® 5.1 and AutoCAD® 2004 software. Many firms have a strong investment in AutoCAD drafting and graphics-based 2D design but also want to take advantage of what Revit offers. In theory the Series allows for a smoother transition to the building information model concept employed by Revit.

Winstanley spoke of how Revit offered greater potential for customers to do away with reworking the data model. "Revit works the way I think," many users say. The new release will offer enhanced basic objects such as stairs. One of the prerequisites of architecture, said Winstanley, is the ability to be able to model split level plans. Also added to the new release are better coordination and understanding of how architects use tools, and increased profitability in export improvement.

Buzz Kross spoke of the fast growth of MSD Solutions such as Autodesk Inventor. Currently Autodesk has 32 percent of the entire manufacturing marketshare and is one of the four top players in the $7.6 billion market. He said that Autodesk is the "only vendor with integrated 2D and 3D design products and a set of specialized 2D and 3D applications."

Third Parties:

Among the products demonstrated at Autodesk were LaunchPad, a keypad that makes it possible for CAD users to draw with 70 percent fewer keystrokes than other solutions, eliminates the needs for pulldowns and toolbars. The product was designed by a team of architects, engineers and CAD users and consequently offers a broad array of pre-programmed and user-defined keyin aliases. According to Steven Keyser, IT Manager, it takes only a few days to teach people the new keyboard system. Users keep their left hand on the LaunchPad and their right hand on the mouse.

Matrox demonstrated their Parhelia HR256 graphics card which offers, for high resolution flat panel displays, maximum refresh rate support. This card has a quad single-link DVI interface, which enables a quad DVI or dual LFH-60 direct connection, without adapters.

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