Wednesday is going to be a fun day for Autodesk's subscription customers - theres a new Subscription Bonus Pack coming out! Autodesk held a few online show-n-tell parties Monday, and I was invited to the Civil 3D horn-tootin.
This time around there's something for everyone, and the more vertical your AutoCAD, the more new toys coming your way.
You've all heard about AutoCAD WS, right? It's been spoken of as if it is AutoCAD on your ithingie (pod, pad, phone) but what it really is is a connection to a web-swerved drawing editor. A website that edits and views CAD files. The missing link, though, is... how do you get CAD files out there in the first place? Well, that's where the AutoCAD WS Plug-in enters the picture. Use the plug-in to work with online DWG files directly (maybe a trick for collaboration, too?) and then you can work with those same DWG files from your mobile device.
The developer teams have been working on AutoCAD/Microstation interoperability for several years, and the latest SBP takes us to a new level of dealing with the "other" CAD. Especially, DGN conversion now includes mapping of linetypes between products. You might think that would be a no-brainer, but sometimes the two programs have REALLY different ways of looking at things.
A step up the vertical ladder from the Map 3D team that I am really looking forward to: ESRI geodatabase access. I must confess I couldn't really understand just how far this function goes (can we get into perfonal geodatabase files? File Geodatabases?) If nothing else, I know we will be able to access data from ARCGIS servers. We just started running one at my office a couple months back, and it is an awesome method for getting into your shared data store.
More to come on that subject - I will do my best to find just how far we can go before I have to quit AutoCAD and launch ArcGIS.
Climb a little higher and we find quite a few new goodies for Civil 3D monkeys. A theme of the presentation was "So simple an engineer can do it!" I don't know, I work for some pretty "special" engineers, but we'll see. So, what is there that is too much for the average engineer to handle?
Styles. Sometimes I wish there was a simpler way to manage styles from drawing to drawing. The new SBP Styles Tool imports styles from one dwg to another. This is a start, I guess, though right off it seems to be viewed as more a tool for a rigid CAD Manager to strip out any custom styles that somebody has done - the tool was described as useful for returning all styles in a drawing to those in a base template.
I'll reserve judgement on this one. I remember Dana Probert complaining about a CAD manager that griped when she added styles that gave her custom design info - and what's wrong with that? It's all about enabling the designer, not hamstringing, right?
Another tool for the confused engineer: new features for importing points. Recently I saw a thread on the AUGI forums where the term PENZD came up. I was a bit surprised how many peeps had no better answer than "Huh?" So I figure this is a goodie - the points import module has been made more intelligent, attempting to understand the source file's format, and with luck we'll not see our engineers mixing up the Z and X coordinates so often.
As long as it LETS us do it f we want. I've done some pretty neat stuff by twisting an axis or two.
Lets, see, what else.. Civil 3D's survey functions are pretty powerful, but I don't think any of us call them simple. So Autodesk brought out some additions to the COGO toolbox, more on the "So simple..." theme. How about traverse adjustments on a simple polyline data model? No figures, multi-setups, just treat your traverse as a polyline, and when it doesn't close back to your starting point, the new tools fix it for you.
Even that's not all - superelevation on your corridors has been simplified. This is another tool I'll withhold judgement on until I get a chance to try it out, but most of my road work is pretty rural anyway. Check some of my sidelinks for bloggers that know the subject better than I...
Wow, that's quite a bit of new stuff this time around. I figure all the blogs are going to be filled with opinions and results on trying this stuff out in the next couple weeks. And for a change, my project load will let me roam the sphere a bit more - let's all see what we can do with our new toys!
A bit of a downer I encountered in this process - screen-capping from a shared desktop in a go-to-meeting package that shows a shared desktop results in some pretty awful pics - so you don't see any here in this post. Sorry, I'll try to do justice to the SBP features I like the most...
See ya soon, and hey! AU 2010 is getting closer - will I see you there?