Design and Manufacturing solutions through Digital Prototyping and Interoperability

Tag Archives: BIM

Civil BIM | Is it Coming to my Cloud?

Scott and I have been working to bring out the best in Autodesk Vault and Autodesk PLM 360 as most of you know. Additionally, we’ve been looking at numerous Autodesk Labs offerings that are cloud based, as well as unmentionable non-Labs software that leverage the cloud in various ways.

Autodesk BIM 360

So I was interested when Autodesk announced BIM 360, the cloud centered civil collaboration platform. I asked about what other applications are planned for the civil side, and threw in Civil 3D. I ask this because of the continuing saga of transportation and BIM, or the lack thereof. Segments of the user community have been requesting more BIM functionality within Civil 3D, seeing the great benefits where applied in other circles, such as Revit. The specifics of these requests and which concentration of users are not important in this article, but might be worth mentioning later.

Infrastructure Modeler takes to the Skies

Infrastructure Modeler has been initiated on the cloud, with increased capabilities and the ability to pass information back and forth with Civil 3D, something that seems to be getting better as the product matures. I was given a link to a great article on the subject at Informed Infrastructure.

At present the tool is only capable of conceptual planning and collaborative design, but it is still a wonderful time saver, as it is much easier to perform numerous what-if scenarios, where the complexity in civil 3D is a hindrance… and my best client like to change his mind A LOT.

Autodesk Imfrastructure Modeler

Will this product be expanded beyond conceptual design?

The Recent Carl Bass Statement

Autodesk was a usual reluctant to make a statement regarding the specifics of and future plans. I specifically mentioned company CEO Carl Bass’ comment that everything Autodesk offered would be available on the cloud within the next three years, which indicated to me that there was likely a company mandate to do so. I imagine the company reaction going something like this: “Oh crap, did you hear what the boss just said? Well we’d better figure this one out fast”.  Hahahaha… who knows, but still, it’s funny because it could have happened that way.

Autodesk’s Response:

“Autodesk is very excited about the possibilities for cloud computing to enable our customers to do things that they simply can not do today.  We’ve already seen how Autodesk 360 is helping some customers with rendering, simulation and analysis using an almost infinite amount of computing power, and how other customers are achieving new levels of collaboration between stakeholders and in the field using mobile technologies.  You will see new cloud services and technologies from Autodesk that will help our customers move from a tool-centric approach to an information-centric approach, and enable companies and organizations of all sizes do more with their Autodesk software so they can imagine, design and create a better world.”

Some Painful Reality

Sentiments range from indifference to bitterness over Autodesk’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for a Civil 3D / BIM / Object oriented model structure, where structure is the key element. Two hurdles lie in the wake of Civil BIM.

  • The need for rigid composition in specific structures
  • The need to code a new product

From my perspective, there is nothing, and I mean nothing that will be done to accomplish this task within the AutoCAD environment where Civil 3D currently sits. For Civil 3D users, AutoCAD is not the limitation, but is freedom. Freedom to do things in a non-perfect world is not an occasional requirement, but is the norm. There is nothing regular about the field, and the name of the game is quantifying and working within irregularity.

Can Autodesk make a new Civil product that is BIM-centric? Sure, but think of the limitations that a non AutoCAD platform would require. Are you willing to give up the flexibility that you have. The painful moaning would never end…. Well, it would ebb, but only after many software cycles, and the ‘I used to be able to do this in Civil 3D’ griping would go on forever.

What I think

When you develop something as widely used as Civil 3D, you are always going to hear griping. You cannot make everyone happy, all the time.

  • I do not believe that Autodesk is the evil empire, where they are bent on screwing their customers.
  • I do however think that they are faced with innumerable desires and views of how their software should be developed, and only so much time in order to make the best products on earth.
  • I do believe that increased revenues help develop increased capabilities, and naturally they will continue to try to pick up  a greater consumer base.

I feel that it is extremely unfair, and unreasonable to say that any product is useless or offers no value to a group, when you  or I are only a tiny portion of any group on this planet.  I also feel the same about accusation that a software company has ‘ignored us’ or similar statements.  Have I felt let down before? Sure, but that’s part of the process, and knowing that my ideas are not necessarily what drive a development team. (In fact, it seems quite the opposite is true  😉

I feel reasonably confident that the development of the products surround the simple process of deciding what is possible, that will provide the best benefit, over the greatest width of the plans for the future, with the resources and time that is available… just like everything else that is accomplished in our personal day-to-day lives, from your grocery list to your child’s future and education.

While I am of the opinion that a BIM oriented Civil solution would be great (and I’d be glad to go that route), it’s not up to me. It’s not my product to develop, and I’m not the only one using it. I am however, keeping my eyes on that cloud growing overhead.

BIM 360 | Civil Collaboration Arrives in the Cloud

On June 18th, 2012, Autodesk announced the addition of BIM to the Autodesk 360 cloud services. “Autodesk BIM 360 provides anywhere, anytime access to building and civil infrastructure projects” stated the company press release.

imageThe new set of services is geared towards the building construction and infrastructure industries, providing collaboration to team members no matter where they are in the world, or which Autodesk BIM software they are using.  Most of us know about Autodesk PLM 360 by now, and Scott and I have been all over it this year. I wondered when Autodesk would move the infrastructure collaboration to Autodesk 360. It looks like that is beginning to happen.

Continue Reading

Autodesk Goes Live with Infrastructure BIM Solutions for 2012

imageAutodesk has just announced two initiatives to help engineers and planners leverage Business Information Modeling (BIM) in their infrastructure designs.

AutoCAD Utility Design 2012

Autodesk moves BIM into the electrical distribution design space with this awesome new application. The software is designed to help planning and engineering of electrical utilities, both overhead and underground. The features include templates and municipal standards, engineering analysis, and integrated documentation and work management.

Get more information on the Autodesk Website


Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler 2012

imageThis conceptual design software helps civil planners and engineers evaluate proposed improvements for transportation, land, water, and energy improvements. The package incorporates 2D CAD, GIS, BIM, and raster data, including Civil 3D and Map 3D designs. 3D design environment over GIS datasets help develop and manage design alternatives. Image creation and video capture are included as part of the communication platform.

Get more information form the Autodesk Website

Autodesk BIM 360 and a Huge Freebee

Autodesk announced their new concept of Business Information Modeling (BIM) data management recently, that could manage most anything, and be accessed most anywhere. They call it BIM 360.  The announcement peaked my interest because I think being able to find information, and find it almost anywhere you go is a great idea. But how?

I was introduced to Pat Keaney, Director of AEC Collaboration Products, and Jeremy Lambert , Product line manager for Vault Collaboration AEC, who explained the components involved and what was going to make BIM so manageable and accessible. They even let me in on free offer that you should know about. Continue Reading

AEC Receives 26 Million for BIM Software

April 5th at Waltham we received word that Autodesk had signed a contract with the USAF to supply BIM solutions for a 5 year period. The total amount of that contract was 26 million usd.

DLT Solutions, Autodesk’s government reseller, will provide support and BIM software such as AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Civil 3D, Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Navisworks, Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and AutoCAD LT, among others.

“…This agreement ensures Air Force Civil Engineering has access to the latest innovative design, geospatial, modeling, and visualization software tools and professional services to support its national defense mission.” said Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, AEC solutions, at Autodesk.

You may remember 6 moths ago I announced a similar contract with the USACOE. Other state agencies such as Wisconsin and Florida Department of transportation have signed agreements for BIM related civil products. If the trend continues, BIM requirements should begin to permeate government project submittals in the private sector. One more situation where BIM is the minimum requirement to be short listed.

AEC Media Day 2011 | BIM 360

IMAG0559 Rick Rundell presented Autodesk’s new collaboration and data management concept “Autodesk BIM 360”. Data management has become a problem as technology and information expand, and the needs of businesses to control and distribute that information increase.

BIM Clients need a 360 degree view of all their data.

Autodesk Vault now uses a new project based management to easily track and distribute information that is worked on in the project workflow environment. Design tool integration, Scalability and Navisworks integration for cloud and mobile work support will all be included in Vault Collaboration 2012.

Another hot capability of Vault 2012 is that when offices that lose connectivity to the Vault can continue to work for two weeks with no problems. After connectivity is established with the rest of the team, Vault will repair the Project integration.  Absolutely amazing.  More on this to come for sure.

Join the Community