AEC Tech News (#335)

17 Oct, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Signage Planning Gets a Boost from BIMLink

Wayfinding studio uses software from Ideate to move Revit data into Excel, and vice versa, cutting project time by half and reducing costs.

By Craig H. Dodge

Finding your way in an unfamiliar building or city can be challenging and time-consuming. The same is true for the process of creating and editing the specifications for signage that will help people navigate new environments. Signage specs typically reside in the building information model (BIM), but are often buried layers deep, making them virtually invisible to BIM users and inaccessible to the non-BIM users who plan and update wayfinding systems.

BIMLink software from Ideate simplifies and accelerates the signage-planning process by enabling users to move signage specs from Autodesk Revit to Microsoft Excel, where they can be easily reviewed and updated by non-Revit users, then transferred back into the Revit model without time-consuming manual intervention from Revit users. At the HDR Wayfinding/Signage studio, BIMLink is enhancing workflows, making the best use of Revit and non-Revit users' time, and decreasing the time required to create message schedules by half to two-thirds.

HDR is a global employee-owned firm of more than 7,500 professionals in more than 185 locations. The firm provides architecture, engineering, consulting, construction, and related services, creating designs for urban environments, campuses, and buildings in diverse markets around the world. HDR champions advanced tools such as BIM, which help its professionals effectively collaborate to produce higher-value designs. HDR has been using core BIM principles on nearly all its projects since 2001, and has been an Ideate BIMLink customer since version 2011.

The Revit Data Challenge

Wayfinding presents significant challenges due to immense amounts of disparate data that must be incorporated into BIM models primarily designed for other purposes. Rick Sorensen, Wayfinding/Signage, HDR, illustrated these challenges by using an elevator directory analogy: On the wall of a multi-story office building, the directory usually includes line after line of information to clearly indicate which businesses and organizations are located on each floor. Sorensen explained, "In a Revit model, you can only see one data line at a time, but we still need to have multiple lines of data contained in the model, accurate, up-to-date, and retrievable.

"We also have people in our studio who do not use Revit and know nothing about it; their expertise lies in situational planning. They contribute different pieces of the data puzzle, such as the messages that direct people to get from point A to point B." Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Craig H. Dodge is the director of software sales at Ideate.

Cambashi's Observatories Focus on the Expanding Universe of Technical Applications

Tony Christian, director of independent market research firm Cambashi, expects to see steady growth in the global demand for CAD, PLM, GIS, and related software.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Cambashi is a UK-based research and analysis firm that focuses on the business value of information technology — including CAD and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions. The company's market data offerings include the Cambashi Market Observatories, a portfolio of research reports covering various aspects of the global markets for design, engineering, PLM, and systems engineering applications. For example, the Provider by Industry Observatory explores the competitive landscape for solutions providers in categories including AEC, automotive, and consumer goods; the Country Observatory examines market demand by region.

In August, the company released the Q2 2013 editions of these reports. They indicate that in 2012, technical application software spending in emerging countries grew 12% to $1.7 billion. This group includes the fast-growing BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India, and China — as well as a second set of nations that account for 11% of technical application spending in emerging countries: Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Turkey. The research also predicts continued growth on technical application investment in these emerging economies, driven by the modernization of manufacturing and construction and the expansion of industrial capabilities.

Following that release, Cambashi Director Tony Christian shared his perspective on the global market for technical applications.

Cadalyst: What kinds of software do you cover in your research?

Christian: We use the term technical applications to define the scope of the market that we study — we haven't been able to come up with a better one yet! The scope covers CAD, CAM, simulation, analysis, PLM, and associated data management applications and geographical information systems [GIS] across all manufacturing (discrete and process), AEC, and utility industries. In fact, the scope also includes visualization technologies used in film, TV, and computer games applications — there is increasing overlap of these and the applications used for virtual visualization of products or buildings. Hence the difficulty in defining an all-inclusive term! Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Best Practices in Laser Scanning
October 18, 2013
12 noon ET
The next Fridays with Trimble webinar will examine three applications of laser scanning on construction projects and offer practical advice about offering these services and deliverables to owners. Read more »

Leverage BIM to Win More Business
October 22, 2013
Portland, Oregon
This Ideate presentation will address the growing need for practical knowledge among architects, engineers, and contractors about how to leverage their BIM (building information modeling) skills into a marketing/competitive advantage. Read more »

Year in Infrastructure 2013 Conference
October 29–31, 2013
London, United Kingdom
This Bentley event features a series of presentations and interactive Q&A sessions exploring the intersection of technology and business drivers, and how they are shaping the future of infrastructure delivery and investment returns. 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


What’s New at

Free E-Book: Engineering Survival Guide
What does the future hold for engineers? One thing we know for sure: It will change! A free 40-page e-book from Lifecycle Insights, Engineering Manager's Survival Guide, outlines the trends and technologies that are shaping engineering and what you can do to support your future in the field. To get it, simply complete this 20-minute survey on Simulation Driven Design.

Study Explores How Local Governments Use GIS
Esri Australia and the Surveying and Spatial Science Institute back a research initiative to better understand users' attitudes and capabilities. Read more »

Stand Up for Job Satisfaction
If CAD management frustrations have pushed you to the breaking point, you can face the problem head-on — but understand the risks first. Read more »

Prepare Perfect Polar Arrays in AutoCAD
Polar arrays were dramatically improved in AutoCAD 2012 — do you know all the tricks to using them? Join Lynn Allen as she finishes off her trilogy of array video tips by showing you the ins and outs of polar arrays. Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition