Low Cost, Easy Entry with Bentley PowerCivil

About this Issue….

Welcome to AECWeekly! Today Bentley Civil software division boasts numerous products for civil at various levels of involvement, and also specific to Europe and other parts of the world. In the U.S., 44 state DOTs are standardized on Bentley's civil software. This week AECWeekly takes a look at Bentley PowerCivil, a tool designed to address the specific needs of land development and site design professionals.

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Industry News

Low Cost, Easy Entry with Bentley PowerCivil

By Susan Smith

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In June, Bentley Systems celebrated the grand opening of its new Bentley Civil headquarters in Sunrise, Fla. The headquarters will be a hub for global civil research as well as the central location for Bentley Civil worldwide. Today the civil software division boasts numerous products for civil at various levels of involvement, and also specific to Europe and other parts of the world. In the U.S., 44 state DOTs are standardized on Bentley's civil software and 46 DOTs use Bentley software. What these solutions provide in total are analysis of road and interchange projects, airports, bridges and overpasses, rail corridors, dams, tunnels, urban complexes, rail, and water and wastewater systems.

An exciting new addition to that suite of products is PowerCivil, a tool designed to address the specific needs of land development and site design professionals.


PowerCivil, a standalone software designed for site design/land development, is a particularly exciting tool for those who have not had a solution for the specific needs of land design. Jay Vose, P.E., an engineer with over 10 years of experience in site design, joined Bentley to produce PowerCivil, which in itself took 8 years of development. Introduced in November, 2004, it runs on PowerDraft, which is delivered seamlessly. In terms of cost and start-up, the product is easy to learn and low-cost, yet is built on the same technology as the other civil engineering offerings from Bentley. PowerCivil is integrated with PowerSurvey (GEOPAK edition). Users can move seamlessly to a full highway design package such as GEOPAK from PowerCivil.

PowerCivil is a robust 2D/3D solution that offers intelligent modeling that allows users to maintain a natural workflow and relationship modeling. The software's intelligent, relationship modeling capability accurately updates the model automatically as changes are made, and enables dynamic exploration of design scenarios. This is particularly valuable as the process of making changes to the site design has historically been very time consuming. Now land designers are able to manipulate model components on the fly.

Target audience:
  • Engineering/geotechnical firms doing any type of site development and government civil/transportation contracts
  • Civil engineers at municipal and local governments
  • Those Autodesk users who might want to take advantage of Bentley's "You Deserve Better" Program
Business benefits:
  • High return-on-investment through increased productivity while allowing exploration and analysis of design alternatives
  • Improves constructability of designs and reduces risk

Bentley PowerCivil features:

Complete Survey Package
  • Direct link to data from any source including popular data collectors
  • Support for direct import of raw data and ASCII
  • Full survey reduction and feature association
  • DTM and COGO derived from and extracted to DGN or DWG files
Complete DTM Creation, Editing, and Analysis
  • DTM creation from 2d/3D graphics and contours, XML/DEMs, borehole data and more
  • Dynamic DTM editing tools for rapid modification and analysis
  • Thematic mapping, volumetrics and drainage
  • Trace slope, visibility analysis and surface navigation
  • Analysis tools for watershed delineation, profiles, slope and more
  • Construction stakeout and GPS machine control
  • Graphical alignment and profile creation
  • Native CAD element conversion to COGO features for stakeout and reporting
  • Automated subdivision wizard for lot layout
  • Vehicle turning path analysis
  • Advanced right-of-way parcel and legal description editing functions
The software is useful for a wide range of land development and planning projects:
  • Commercial building, plant and manufacturing sites
  • Airports and rail terminals
  • Subdivisions, urban complexes, campuses, parks and golf courses
  • Dams, mines and landfills
  • Drainage, utility and floodplain projects
  • Municipal street projects
  • Highway corridor studies

If the project requires complex, alignment-driven road/rail design, then Bentley would suggest one of their transportation design solutions over PowerCivil.

PowerCivil functions as a civil engineer might work naturally. It is an out-of-the-box solution that enables users to work simultaneously in multiple views or modes - for example, in plan, profile, cross section and 3D. The designer controls the associativity between objects in the model, so that as design objects are modified, associated features automatically adjust, obeying custom-defined design constraints and intent. The user can resolve conditions on-the-fly, make design changes interactively, and substantially speed the design process.

The intelligent modeling in PowerCivil extends design data for downstream activities - stakeout, GPS machine-controlled grading, construction, inspection and as-built archival. The solution has all the functionality to bring a project from field-to-finish and improve project communication between team members as well as with clients and other project stakeholders.

The software provides easy-to-use tools for creating plan/profile sheets directly from site designs, plus intelligent labeling tools, image clipping, and quantity takeoffs. With the PDF-based electronic delivery process, you can publish a full range of project deliverables, including intelligent drawings that preserve file levels/layers as optional content, reference file structures, and hyperlinks.

Collaboration between multiple users working in multiple disciplines is supported, with each user referencing and viewing the work of others. The includes applications for survey, graphical COGO, digital terrain modeling, storm water and water & sewer design and analysis, geotechnical engineering and more.

Because many engineering firms use multiple solutions for their different tasks, the software provides multi-format support for industry-leading survey data collectors for direct input and output of survey data, native file support for both DGN and DWG data, and import or export of XML data for surfaces and coordinate geometry. PowerCivil is also compatible with Bentley GEOPAK, Bentley InRoads, and Bentley MX solution families, and of course supports legacy versions of AutoCAD, as well as DWG versions from AutoCAD 2000 through AutoCAD 2005.

Bentley's site design technology has been used on HJ Banks & Company, Ltd.'s Northumberlandia mine restoration project in the UK, which earned HJ Banks a BE Award of Excellence this year.

The list price of PowerCivil is US$4,995, but is available at a special introductory offer of US$3,995 and US$2,995 to AutoCAD or LDD users this year.


ROBOT Millennium, the advanced structural analysis tool from ISS/RoboBAT, has been integrated with the new Autodesk(R) Revit(R) Structure software. The combination of ROBOT Millennium and Revit Structure offers an integrated system for structural analysis and design, creating a seamless process from initial drawing through to analysis and final documentation.


AVEVA announced that the Houston Community College (HCC) has licensed its VANTAGE(R) Plant Design Management System (PDMS) for use in its design/drafting education program. The total grant value is US $400,000.

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