AEC Tech News (#315)

7 Jun, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

CAD at Your Fingertips

Handheld devices and a rapidly expanding selection of apps are usurping laptops for access to data from virtually any location.

By Heather Livingston

In the 1960s, Intel cofounder Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors incorporated in a chip would approximately double every 24 months. Over time, what's become known as Moore's Law has been revised to double computer chip capacity every 18 months and expanded to apply to technologies such as CAD. This rapid growth of chip capacity is the force behind the increasingly powerful hardware and software we have at our fingertips today.

During the past decade, these technological improvements have spurred tremendous changes in the way design professionals work. No longer is the traditional design–bid–build progression relevant for most AEC projects. Integrated project delivery (IPD) and building information modeling (BIM) have introduced new processes for design teams along with new software. Technologies that were considered optional when they were introduced — such as 3D design, BIM, geospatial information systems and mapping, and wireless printing — are now a critical part of today's integrated design processes. Many clients have come to expect the benefits of these technologies as well, from the cost and time efficiencies gained through BIM and IPD to photorealistic design renderings and even animated presentations.

The latest step in this evolution has been to take these tools on the road, enabling design files to be accessed, modified, and shared from virtually any location using a tablet or smartphone. True to Moore's Law, new mobile apps are arriving on the scene with increasing frequency, each one more powerful than the last. Welcome to the world of mobile CAD.

A contractor views CAD drawings of a project on AutoCAD WS, and is able to make real-time edits and markups to share with team members in other locations. Image courtesy of Autodesk.

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Cadalyst contributing editor Heather Livingston is a Wichita, Kansas–based freelance writer specializing in design, sustainability, and architectural technology.


From the Trenches: Connect Project Teams with AutoCAD and ProjectWise

Does your dispersed team rely on AutoCAD and Bentley ProjectWise? This tutorial explains how to integrate the two.

By Hector Hernandez

Today's work environment demands an effective communication solution for sharing CAD data among multiple offices and users. Traditionally, project data is centralized in a project office with its own server. A central data storage location benefits all personnel working in the same project, but this setup poses a problem: Although users within the central office can access the latest information without delays, workers in distant offices will experience a project team disconnection.

Sharing CAD data via a collaboration tool such ProjectSolve, TriForma, or even e-mail may help, but it requires a constant download-and-upload process. In the case of geographically dispersed teams seeking the latest CAD data, some disciplines must wait for others to finish their base designs and post them to the shared location after all updates. In addition, e-mail is an inefficient way to share the latest CAD design information with all teams, and it's all too easy to leave someone off the distribution list.

CAD data can be more efficiently shared with software such as Autodesk Vault or Bentley ProjectWise, which allow users to access the data in real time. This method eliminates the need to e-mail or download CAD data to a secondary server or personal computer, while providing a central data sharing point. Integrating AutoCAD with ProjectWise will improve coordination and efficiency across offices. Read more »

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Hector Hernandez is a senior technical CAD associate at Parsons Brinckerhoff.


Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Open BIM – Real Interoperability, Practical Collaboration
June 14, 2012
2 p.m. ET
This webinar from Nemetschek Vectorworks will address Open BIM — the use of internationally recognized open standards to exchange building information. Read more »

Getting Up to Speed on the AutoCAD 2013 Design Suite
June 20, 2012
11 a.m. PT
In this webinar, presented by Novedge, Autodesk's Lynn Allen will demonstrate the latest features of AutoCAD 2013 Design Suite and will show attendees how to improve their productivity. Read more »

RTC 2012 North America
June 28–30, 2012
Stone Mountain, Georgia
The second annual Revit Technology Conference (RTC) North America will feature hands-on lab sessions, networking events, and an exhibition displaying products, content, and services from a range of vendors. 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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