Autodesk Unveils 2007 Line-up for AEC, Part 1

5 Mar, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

A look at what's new for Architectural Desktop and Building Systems

Last week in Cadalyst Daily, we discussed Autodesk's unveiling of AutoCAD 2007. Today, we continue our coverage of Autodesk's latest wave of new releases with a look at its AEC product line-up. These products range from AutoCAD (and AutoCAD LT) for 2D drafting and basic 3D work, to Architectural Desktop for AEC-specific tasks in an AutoCAD environment, to Revit programs for BIM (building information modeling).

With the acquisition of FMDesktop early this year, Autodesk also secured a foothold in the facilities management area, although the company's press briefing didn't delve too deeply into plans for that market.

Autodesk reiterated its commitment to supporting both AutoCAD-based and BIM workflows. However, to encourage migration from AutoCAD to BIM, Autodesk reports it will offer several new Revit Series bundles that include both AutoCAD and a Revit product. This strategy has proved successful for its mechanical design products.

Indications are that such a migration will be gradual. Autodesk won't release the number of installed seats of Revit, though it says the Revit installed base grew by 150% in 2005, with much of that coming in Europe and Asia Pacific. Autodesk puts the Architectural Desktop installed base at 444,000 seats, with 50,000 sold in 2005.

We'll look here at the new versions of Autodesk's AutoCAD-based AEC products. Coming soon, we'll take a closer look at what's new with Revit and Autodesk's visualization tools. Autodesk announced these products on March 1, but they won't be available until March 23 or later.

Architectural Desktop 2007
All the main new features presented in our AutoCAD 2007 preview will show up in Architectural Desktop 2007. And some visualization tools previously found in Architectural Desktop will now also be available to users of regular AutoCAD.

Architectural Desktop 2007 includes spaces, which allow users to automatically tag every room in a drawing with room areas. Users can easily update spaces when room boundaries change, thus updating tags and areas. Stairs are streamlined with the capability to convert 2D linework to a fully described stair. String, landing, tread and riser controls are improved. The Project Navigator now supports mapped drives to facilitate file-based collaboration among remote locations.

Autodesk Building Systems 2007
The AutoCAD-based product for MEP design, Building Systems 2007 features improved single- and double-line layout and modify tools. Users can now set up discipline-specific interfaces that show only the tools relevant to their work. The tool palettes for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and piping can be customized. Grip functionality includes Lengthen Grip and Sticky Move, Flip Takeoffs, Flip Fitting and Inline Equipment (Valves).

As users make changes to their mechanical, electrical or plumbing design, the Dynamic Dimensions feature in Autodesk Building Systems provides real-time feedback on the exact location of a move or copy change within the design.

Users can import existing AutoCAD blocks that represent symbols and devices using an Import Batch tool. A Hatch by Theme feature hatches all elements within a drawing. Duct, piping, conduit and cable trays can be hatched by load, size or pressure class. Themes can be saved in templates for use on other projects.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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