February 2006 » New & Noteworthy

View designs in context

Avatech Solutions, Inc., announced the availability in beta form of Avatech Earth Connector, an Autodesk AutoCAD plug-in that allows designers and engineers to place 2-D and 3-D structures developed in AutoCAD-based products directly into Google Earth—€™s 3-D world. The software is not intended to replace carefully rendered scenes created with products such as Autodesk VIZ, but, according to Avatech, the ability to quickly develop and send a design to a client which allows them to view a building, subdivision, or other project in place from all angles makes Earth Connector an attractive addition to the designer—€™s toolkit. Earth Connector works with AutoCAD 2005 and 2006. The beta software can be downloaded free from the Avatech website at

Avatech Solutions, Inc.


Learn rendering techniques

Bentley Systems, Inc., recently published Rendering With Microstation, written by Jerry Flynn. The book covers every aspect of rendering in detail, including camera, materials, lighting, environment maps, and rendering settings. Illustrations and hands-on exercises show readers how to use environment maps, sky cylinders, and procedural textures effectively and apply photorealistic atmospheric effects; create photorealistic materials such as water, glass, trees, brick, and stone; apply different lighting techniques for rendering any scene, day or night, including sunset and twilight setups; achieve photorealistic results by creating custom materials; and apply advanced rendering techniques. Also included in the book are tips on generating quality still images, network rendering, panoramas, and 3-D content in PDF files.

Bentley Systems, Inc.


Project collaboration solution

Autodesk released the latest version of its Buzzsaw collaborative project management solution that allows everyone involved in a project on-demand access to accurate and current information.

The latest version includes new functionality, such as expanded bid and construction management capabilities. A collaborative, paperless bid-management command center now streamlines every phase of the bidding process, from electronically distributing bid invitations and bid packages, to notifying subcontractors and awarding contracts. Buzzsaw customers can customize existing forms or create their own forms to suit business needs. Additionally, users can use pre-defined workflows and then assign them to their new forms or business processes.

Several new forms have been added to the standard set.



Geo-referencing documents

MetaCarta, Inc., extended its software—€™s geographic intelligence capabilities with the release of GTS 3.0, GeoTagger 3.0, and GTSgeOdrive 3.0. A plug-and-play Connector Framework also is included, which allows geo-referencing of documents from thirdparty document management systems. The company—€™s software provides users with map-driven geographic search, geographic referencing, and data visualization capabilities. It identifies geographic references in text and then locates these references on maps, which helps users visualize patterns and relationships.

According to the company, at the core of its latest software release is next-generation machine learning technology that helps MetaCarta develop new Geographic Data Modules (GDMs).

GDMs are used to identify geographic references in text and to assign latitude and longitude coordinates.

MetaCarta, Inc.


Sharing interactive 3-D designs

Adobe Acrobat 3D software allows engineering professionals to convert 3-D designs from a wide variety of proprietary CAD formats into Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. When enabled by Acrobat 3D, clients and other team members can use the free Adobe Reader 7.0 software to review and add comments directly onto interactive 3-D objects embedded with PDF files. Three-dimensional CAD content converted into Adobe PDF can then be combined with other PDF files into a single, comprehensive project document.

Adobe Systems, Inc.


Create interactive simulations

RDV Systems—€™ Rapid Design Visualization (RDV) is an application developed specifically for use with Autodesk—€™s Civil 3D design software. RDV enables users to create a fully interactive visualization environment directly from the Civil 3D project.

RDV can create drive-through simulations, flyovers, and interactive simulations for proposed roads, subdivisions, underground infrastructure, interchanges, and many other complex land development projects. According to the company, RDV—€™s interactive simulations are cost effective during every phase of the project, from preliminary design validation for internal use to presentations for public review, as well as on the construction site to visualize complex construction scenarios. The software is web-enabled so users can easily publish their simulations to the Internet.

RDV Systems

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