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October 03, 2011
Work in 3D Models with BIMx for the iPad
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on AECcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each AEC Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the AEC industry, AEC product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by AECCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!


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AECWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Alliances/Agreements/Acquisitions, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

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Industry News
Work in 3D Models with BIMx for the iPad
By Susan Smith


Imagine being able to work on 3D BIM models on mobile devices and share details of those models with non-CAD clients using the multi-touch functionality of iPads and iPhones. Not only would it save time, it is easy to use and employs game-like features that users are familiar with.

Now it is possible with a new product from Graphisoft called BIMx for the iPad. In a recent interview, ArchiCAD Product Manager of Graphisoft Hungary, Tibor Szolnoki explained that BIM Explorer is the most advanced version of the ArchiCAD Virtual Building Explorer. Their current announcement, BIMx for the iPad, allows users to work and “walk around” in 3D models on the iPad or iPhone.

According to press materials, BIMx (=Building Information Model Explorer) is an interactive "game-like" environment to explore 3D building models published by architects and designers. With BIMx building models can be viewed by anyone in full 3D without the professional authoring software in which the building model was originally created. As a result BIMx is the perfect communication tool between the client and the architect.

Szolnoki said they shortened the name to “BIMx” for the entire BIM Explorer product line. The BIMx add on for ArchiCAD allows you to save models. You can view these projects on desktop or on mobile Apple iPads or iPhones. With the cloud, there is a new solution for distribution of BIM models, and you can upload to the BIMx Community website and access them either from desktop or mobile.

BIMx Viewer is a free application. Users can download models from other sources or from the BIMx community site through iTunes to the iPad. BIM Explorer add-on for ArchiCAD can play these models with BIMx Viewer.

“We wanted to create a whole ecosystem around BIMx,” said Szolnoki. “Anybody can play with the models. On the desktop version they can measure building dimensions, display information of building elements, which are useful for builders, and can turn on and off the layers.” Graphisoft would like to implement those same features for mobile in the future. Szolnoki also said there is no touch technology for the desktop right now.

Most 3D model viewers for the iPad/iPhone are generic purpose viewers, with navigation functionalities limited to 3D orbit, pan and zoom. BIMx offers a “natural building explorer environment” which includes gravity and egress recognition, visual filters to provide presentation features such as stereoscopic views, and is integrated with the desktop application and the online model sharing community.

BIMx Community looks like a Facebook page but it is in reality a cloud service. Facebook offers community features which can be built around these models. Szolnoki said many people are afraid to use Facebook so it’s possible to download models without having a Facebook account. If you “comment” or “like” you need Facebook to do so.” If you would like to share models from BIMx you can do so on the BIMx community website,” said Szolnoki. “The cloud is not running on Graphisoft’s servers but on Microsoft Azure cloud platform. This is the first example of the Graphisoft cloud service.” The Facebook integration is a cloud service with free access, search, filter or browse functionality. The website is becoming very busy with sample models that users upload.

To publish to the website you need a full or education license of BIM Explorer for ArchiCAD and a registration on gsBIMx.com.

For BIMx for the iPad, users wanted similar features as on the desktop, optimized for multi-touch. The models are saved to the iPad. Sample models are self-explanatory and even those not familiar with CAD can view models. There is joystick finger capability to move the model around on the screen. The feature Gravity allows you to keep an elevation above the floor. When Gravity is turned on you can’t walk through the walls, but you can look up and down.

The Apple version has additional features such as moving through doors. You can click twice and get there quickly. You can climb the stairs and experience the effect of climbing stairs.

If you want to explore the building from the outside, there is an icon of the building, and it shows the entire model. You can use a finger to orbit the model or pinch zoom.

The two finger pan mode can be used to go up the stories of the building either horizontally or vertically. View modes allow you to watch the model in a highly realistic Global Illumination phase and there is also a hidden line view. Another way of viewing is with simple shading with no textures. Some architects prefer the metal transference view with no textures or realistic view. There is also a 3D stereo view to be seen with 3D glasses.

A map shows the actual horizontal view. Graphical feedback can be found in the help menu.

BIMx Explorer is also used successfully with big projects like the Park Hotel Shanghai. It is useful on the construction site and for explaining architectural concepts, and users can send comments back to the office.

GRAPHISOFT BIMx is a standard part of the ArchiCAD 15 installation. Until October 31 2011 all ArchiCAD 15 users (Commercial, Educational and Trial) are entitled to use the full functionality of BIMx including sharing models on this BIMx Community Site.

Other Facts:

ArchiCAD 15 hotfix change in the BIMx functionality -
The Hotfix #1 contains basically 3 different types of changes:
  1. It contains the standard ArchiCAD 15 bugfixes to address mission critical problems of ArchiCAD 15 found in the last 2 months
  2. It also contains all the changes necessary to enable the new “sharing” functionality of the desktop BIMx application including all the user interface and functional changes necessary in the share/upload workflow
  3. In addition to the functional changes it also “triggers” the free BIMx TRIAL period for all ArchiCAD 15 BIMx licenses. The TRIAL period will end with a timebomb on October 31 in 2011

What are the different options available to create BIMx models for clients?
The different ways of creating BIMx models are available at different levels for the different BIMx license types:
  1. ArchiCAD 15 Commercial BIMx license
    1. Save “self-running” BIMx models in ArchiCAD 15 compatible fileformat without limitation
    2. Publish “static” BIMx models to the BIMx community site that can be viewed with the different viewers (iOS/Mac/Win) according to the terms and conditions of the BIMx community site
  2. ArchiCAD 15 TRIAL BIMx license
    1. 100% same functionality as the full commercial license between September 20 and October 31 in 2011
    2. Save “trial” BIMx models that can only be opened/viewed on the same computer they were created between November 1 in 2011 and June 30 in 2012
  3. ArchiCAD 15 EDU BIMx license
    1. Save “self-running” BIMx models in ArchiCAD 15 compatible fileformat with EDU watermark till the expiration of the EDU license
    2. Publish “static” BIMx models to the BIMx community site that can be viewed with the different viewers (iOS/Mac/Win) with EDU watermark till the expiration of the EDU license but according to the terms and conditions of the BIMx community site

What are the different ways to deliver BIMx models to clients?
  1. “Self-running” BIMx models (Mac/Win)
    1. Sending as email attachment
    2. Uploading to an FTP site
    3. File sharing services (such as Dropbox)
    4. Physical data storage device (USB stick)
  2. Models published to the BIMx community site
    1. Direct site access from the BIMx App for the iPad/iPhone
    2. Download BIMx model and desktop viewer (Mac/Win)

What are the different ways for people to register to the community site?
Registration requires an ArchiCAD/BIMx installation and can be initiated in the following ways:
  1. Register from scratch
  2. Login (register) with Google or Facebook ID
  3. Login with existing MyArchiCAD.com username/password

Top News of the Week

Autodesk introduced Autodesk Cloud, a collection of more than a dozen web-based capabilities, products and services that enable customers to extend their desktops with greater mobility, new viewing and sharing capabilities, and more computing
power, helping them better design, visualize and simulate their ideas.

Though the concept of cloud computing has existed in some form or another for decades, the moment has now arrived for the cloud to move beyond collaboration and office-productivity applications toward unthinkable new business outcomes.

JDS Architects’ Holmenkollen Ski Jump has been announced as the winner of the 2011 ECCS Structural Steel Design Award at the ECCS Congress in Postdam, Germany. The award recognizes outstanding design in steel construction emphasizing the many advantages of steel in construction, production, economy and architecture.

The European Steel Design Awards are given by the European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS) every two years to encourage the creative and outstanding use of steel in architecture and construction. Read more about ECCS here.

connectCAD 11.5 for Vectorworks released featuring old code removed and tidying up. This behind-the-scenes work helps us stay ready for the new features of VW2012.

Better support for user device fields. You can add your own text fields to device and socket records and both Make Device and Edit tools will display your fields in the dialog box. Added bonus if you edit the device label symbol you can add linked text to display your own info on the schematic.

Announcements

Open Design Alliance (ODA) announced the completion of its rebranding program, which began a year ago with the renaming of the ODA’s software development platform as “Teigha.” The process ended with the unveiling of a new logo and a renewed Web site at www.opendesign.com.

As well as displaying the new Open Design logo and the site’s updated style, the Web site features a new ODA Member Showcase, in which prominent ODA members show off their successes in deploying Teigha in their software products.

New Products

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) will showcase its disruptive design technology at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Through various customer presentations at the booth, plus a pre-show training event and participation in the GreenTech@Greenbuild event and the USGBC’s LEED Automation presentation, IES will demonstrate how architects, engineers and many other building stakeholders can use modeling from the early stage of design to reduce building energy consumption and create sustainable, high performance buildings.

Cadac Organice BV, Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and developer of the Cadac Organice Product Suite, introduces a unique hybrid concept of on-premise and hosted Engineering Document Management and Control based on Microsoft SharePoint. It offers project-driven engineering industries the flexibility to implement the solution they need for document management and project collaboration.

Trimble announced updates to its Trimble Point Creator software platform by introducing plug-ins for CAD and Autodesk Revit users. Existing users of Autodesk Revit 2012 (Architecture, MEP, and Structures versions) and popular CAD platforms such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD MEP, Bricscad, and ZWcad can operate natively within the Trimble Point Creator application to create 2D and 3D points. The points are then easily transferred to the Trimble LM80, Trimble MEP, and Trimble Field Link solutions for construction layout in the field.

Trimble Point Creator for CAD and Autodesk Revit was designed for the engineer, contractor, and sub-contractor looking to bridge the gap between the design process and work executed in the field. Incorporating data from many applications across the building lifecycle, project participants can minimize data re-entry and maximize efficiency and accuracy required for the construction layout process.

CityCAD announces the release of CityCAD 2.2 with a new data import engine and significantly upgraded 2D drawings.

This means if you have an Excel spreadsheet with data for the blocks in your masterplan, you can easily import this and apply the information to the blocks in your CityCAD model. You can automatically create custom parameters for each route or block from the data or even modify the geometry of your model - for example if you import number of storeys then this will adjust the size of your blocks.

ZWSOFT, supplier of 2D and 3D CAD/CAM solutions to the AEC and MCAD industries, announced the beta version of ZWCAD 2012, their flagship software for computer-aided design.

ZWCAD 2012 helps CAD users be more efficient in their day-to-day drafting tasks, publishing drawings, and in visualization.

Among the many improvements users will enjoy, entities in blocks can be used for trim operations, and the new M2P snap will be handy for snapping to the midpoint of two points. In the area of text and mtext, fractions stack automatically, background masks can be applied to text areas, and ZWCAD 2012 will support the Vietnamese language. Dimensions can be added to region objects, and connections between objects and dimensional constraints can be broken. The drawing compare features will also compares blocks, attributes, and text. ECW files that are used by the aerial and satellite imagery field can be attached to ZWCAD
drawings.

Bamboo Solutions, provider of solutions for Microsoft SharePoint, has released a comprehensive Knowledge Management solution for SharePoint. With Knowledge Management Suite (KM Suite), Bamboo extends SharePoint’s baseline capabilities as a platform for enterprise knowledge management. Bamboo’s knowledge management solution, coupled with SharePoint’s core capabilities, can provide organizations with a legitimate alternative to expensive legacy software at a fraction of the cost. KM Suite combines Bamboo’s popular Knowledge Base application with workflow and process automation to deliver a full-featured solution leveraging the SharePoint platform. Key benefits of KM Suite include:

Around the Web

AECCafe Today Blog

Flexibility of BIM Towards Design Change 2011 2nd International Conference on Construction and Project Management, Singapore

National Specifiers Conference at Ecobuild®America in Washington, D.C. PRWeb

NECA-Member VEC Leverages BIM Expertise on Massive Pipe Mill Project National Electric Constructors Association

IBC and Canadian Construction Association Seeking Input on BIM Use in Canada September 22, 2011 PR.com



Events
S4D - System, Software, SoC and Silicon Debug Conference
Date: October 5 - 6, 2011
Place: Munich
Germany

The third edition of S4D Conference will be held in Munich, Germany from October 5-6, 2011. The conference has evolved from several industry workshops organized by ECSI into the areas of debug and provides a forum for work and standardization efforts related to debug of electronic systems, with a focus on multi-core and multi-accelerator SoCs. The conference addresses a vast set of requirements from system and SoC companies with regard to debug methods and tools.
e-SPECS for Revit
Date: October 6, 2011
Place: USA

Join InterSpec as we present e-SPECS for Revit - automated and coordinated specifications with Autodesk Revit.

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
South Florida GIS Expo
Date: October 6 - 7, 2011
Place: Palm Beach County Convention Center
650 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL USA
The South Florida GIS Expo is an annual conference sponsored by the Palm Beach Countywide GIS Forum. 

The South Florida GIS Expo serves as a way to foster collaboration, GIS coordination, networking, education and training for the rapidly expanding professional GIS Community in the South Florida Region.
The 2011 South Florida GIS Expo represents our 18th year of organizing and facilitating this regional GIS conference. http://www.gisforum.org and event site: http://www.sfgisexpo.com
Symposium On Building Envelope Technology
Date: October 10 - 11, 2011
Place: The Westin Charlotte
Charlotte, NC USA

The Symposium on Building Envelope Technology is a two-day educational program offering cutting-edge information regarding design, construction, maintenance and repair of modern and/or older building envelopes.

The event's open, inclusive environment encourages attendees to ask questions and stimulates dialogue. Speakers offer relevant solutions by referencing real-world examples and specific case histories.

The Meridian Systems 14th Annual User Conference
Date: October 11 - 13, 2011
Place: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
Huntington Beach, CA USA

The conference content is being specifically designed to provide the most intense and up-to-date information on best practices, optimization and problem solving so that you can get even more value out of your Meridian software products.
METALCON International
Date: October 11 - 13, 2011
Place: Atlanta
GA USA

METALCON is in constant evolution, reinventing itself every year to accommodate the metal construction industry’s fast paced growth. It encompasses sustainable, eco-friendly, energy efficient, solar and green technology products and education.

At METALCON you’ll find answers to questions, solutions to problems and the newest technology to hit the market. It’s the place to learn, network and establish relationships you wouldn’t otherwise, because as tradeshows go, METALCON is recognized worldwide for metal construction professionals as the place to meet!
e-SPECS Keynoting & Annotations
Date: October 13, 2011
Place: USA

Join InterSpec as we present e-SPECS v6.0 Keynoting and Annotations.

* Manage Master Keynotes within e-SPECS Designer
* Create Project Specific Keynotes within e-SPECS for Revit/AutoCAD/Linx
* Application of Project Keynotes and Annotations within Autodesk Revit using the e-SPECS Revit Plug-in.

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
AVEVA World Summit 2011 Europe
Date: October 17 - 19, 2011
Place: Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center
Copenhagen, Denmark

Joined up thinking is our theme for the AVEVA World Summits 2011. AVEVA recognises the increasingly complex challenges faced by the engineering community and it is our mission to provide strategies, technology and services that join up this diverse flow of information to deliver success across your entire business.
2011 OpenPlant Road Show – by Bentley Systems
Date: October 18, 2011
Place: Houston , TX USA
Join us for the 2011 Achieving Operational Excellence with OpenPlant Road Show, an exclusive multi-city event for 

owner-operators and other users of PlantSpace, PDS, PDMS, and AutoPLANT.



Dates and Location:

October 18, 2011 – Houston, Texas 
e-SPECS for Revit
Date: October 20, 2011
Place: USA

Join InterSpec as we present e-SPECS for Revit - automated and coordinated specifications with Autodesk Revit.

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
AVEVA World Summit 2011 Americas
Date: October 25 - 27, 2011
Place: Sheraton Rio Hotel & Resort
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Joined up thinking is our theme for the AVEVA World Summits 2011. AVEVA recognises the increasingly complex challenges faced by the engineering community and it is our mission to provide strategies, technology and services that join up this diverse flow of information to deliver success across your entire business.
Success Estimator Basic Training
Date: October 25 - 26, 2011
Place: Atlanta, GA USA

Seats are available in our upcoming Success Estimator class. Sign-up now because seating is limited!

The course is two days in length. The registration fee for class is $995.00 per person with special pricing for multiple participants.


2011 OpenPlant Road Show – by Bentley Systems
Date: October 25, 2011
Place: Edmonton, Alberta , Canada
2011 OpenPlant Road Show – by Bentley Systems



Join us for the 2011 Achieving Operational Excellence with OpenPlant Road Show, an exclusive multi-city event for 

owner-operators and other users of PlantSpace, PDS, PDMS, and AutoPLANT.



Dates and Location:



October 25, 2011 – Edmonton, Alberta 
Success Estimator Advanced Training
Date: October 27 - 28, 2011
Place: Atlanta, GA USA

Seats are available in our upcoming Success Estimator class. Sign-up now because seating is limited!

The course is two days in length. The registration fee for class is $995.00 per person with special pricing for multiple participants.


e-SPECS Designer
Date: October 27, 2011
Place: USA

e-SPECS Designer enables firms to customize AIA MASTERSPEC® to suit their design firm preferences as well as integrate custom Office Master sections.

Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Conference on Design and Architectures for Signal and Image Processing
Date: November 2 - 4, 2011
Place: Tapani Ahonen
Jari Nurmi, TUT, Finland

Tampere, a city known for its industrial history and technological leadership, will host the 2011 Conference on Design and Architectures for Signal and Image Processing (DASIP) from the 2nd to the 4th of November 2011. DASIP provides an inspiring international forum for latest innovations and developments in the field of leading edge embedded signal processing systems. The conference program will include keynote speeches, contributed paper sessions, demonstrations, and special sessions on timely topics.


You can find the full AECCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.


-- Susan Smith, AECCafe.com Managing Editor.