AEC Tech News (#272)

17 Jun, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

In the Eye of a BIMStorm

Onuma's online platform facilitates collaboration on recovery and reconstruction projects in Haiti.

By Kenneth Wong

A storm is brewing in Haiti. It's been brewing since early February. Unlike the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the impoverished country on January 12, this storm is expected to last months, perhaps years.

But this is not a natural disaster; this is a manmade storm, driven by building information modeling (BIM) and collaboration technologies, aimed at delivering relief to the quake-ravaged region. Modeled on several successful BIMStorm exercises of the past, Plan Haiti BIMStorm would let emergency responders, planners, architects, government agencies, and citizens view the damage to their cities, coordinate with one another, participate in brainstorming sessions, and help rebuild the country's broken infrastructure.

In This Storm Together

A BIMStorm is a collaborative planning and design session facilitated by Onuma System, a web-based platform conceived and developed by Onuma Inc. founder Kimon Onuma. To borrow a description used by the U.S. Coast Guard, an early adopter of the system, it is a "framework for integrated decision making."

Previous BIMStorms have been lightning-fast, with the bulk of the brainstorming, analyses, discussions, and decisions completed in just a few days. Read more »

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Freelance writer Kenneth Wong explores the innovative use of technology and its implications.

ARES Commander Edition

Low-cost 2D/3D CAD software holds promise as an AutoCAD replacement for some, including Mac, Linux, and mobile device users down the road.

By R.K. McSwain

When I first heard about a new, low-cost 2D and 3D CAD application that is DWG-compatible and supports LISP, I was pretty excited. ARES Commander Edition from Graebert is all that and more. Could this be a replacement or supplement for AutoCAD in your office — or mine? Let's find out.

Berlin, Germany-based Graebert (formerly known as GiveMePower) announced ARES at Macworld in February. Macworld, you ask? That's right. The buzz about this brand-new software is partly due to the fact that soon it will be offered for the Mac as well as Linux, and eventually for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices too.

The software is available in two versions: ARES ($495) and ARES Commander Edition ($995), both of which support 13 languages. For this review, I looked at ARES Commander Edition, which offers the complete 2D CAD functionality of ARES (similar in form and function to AutoCAD LT), plus support for ACIS-based 3D solid modeling and for LISP and other custom programming add-ons. Read more »

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R.K. McSwain is a designer and CAD systems administrator for Pate Engineers in Houston.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


July 25–29, 2010
Los Angeles, California
SIGGRAPH 2010 — the 37th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques — will bring computer graphics and interactive technology professionals together for technical and creative programs. Read more »

Intergraph 2010
August 30–September 2, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
Intergraph 2010, the international conference for users of the company's engineering and geospatial software, will feature nearly 200 sessions led by industry authorities and customers from around the world. Read more »

COFES Russia Seminar
September 14, 2010
Moscow, Russian Federation
The first COFES Russia Seminar will bring together the community of engineering software vendors, developers, resellers, analysts, and users to discuss innovation in the face of the current economic situation. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to



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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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