CAD Central

31 Mar, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Google Buys SketchUp, Bentley Develops Google Earth Link

Like its real-world counterpart, Google Earth is proving attractive to builders. Google last month acquired @Last Software, developer of the SketchUp conceptual 3D modeling product. @Last CEO Brad Schell assured customers that Google will continue to develop and support SketchUp. Both companies are committed to providing "the best 3D experience as possible to folks," he said.

 Bentley s headquarters building made the trip from MicroStation to Google Earth.
Bentley s headquarters building made the trip from MicroStation to Google Earth.

The two companies began working together when @Last developed a Google Earth plug-in that allows users to add 3D models created in SketchUp to Google Earth's satellite imagery and maps. "It's incredible to have Google be so supportive of our mission and our culture," Schell says. He expects that Google's resources will help serve current SketchUp users better and also expose many more people to the product.

@Last Software will change its name to Google, but will remain in Boulder, Colorado. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The day after that announcement, Bentley Systems announced that it has developed a connection between MicroStation and Google Earth that enables users to publish DGN and DWG models directly to the Google Earth environment.

Bentley SELECT subscribers can download the connection software MicroStation V8 2004 edition now, and it will be incorporated in the V8 XM edition.

Google Earth becomes a medium that combines CAD and GIS data for viewing and navigation—infrastructure such as buildings and transportation systems can be placed in geographic context and also linked to additional data by hyperlinks. The Bentley tool publishes MicroStation DGN and DWG files to KML format. Levels in the DGN files carry over to the KML file and can be switched on and off in Google Earth.

Daratech Dissects MCAD Market

Every year, market research firm Daratech ( profiles the various segments of the MCAD industry at its daratechSUMMIT event.

The market for 3D CAD for the masses (high volume, low price) appears to be growing modestly, with revenues climbing nearly 23% from 2000 to 2005. Dassault leads the market, followed by UGS, Autodesk and PTC.

Daratech estimates that 2005 PLM sales were $10.49 billion, up 13% from 2004. Estimated 2006 figures put PLM software sales and service at $11.95 billion, a 14% increase over 2005.

CAE (computer-aided engineering) software revenue growth, although stronger than in recent years, is showing signs of leveling off. With total revenue for CAE software sales and service estimated at $2.25 billion for 2005, Dara-tech predicts revenue in the coming year to reach $2.45 billion, an increase of 10%, compared with an 11% increase in the previous year.

3Dlabs Leaves Workstation Graphics Market

Graphics card maker 3Dlabs will switch its focus from the shrinking professional workstation graphics market to graphics chips for portable handheld devices, according to an announcement by its parent company, Creative Technology. 3Dlabs is best known for its high-end Wildcat cards, the descendants of Intergraph's Intense3D technology.

ATI will endeavor to fill the gap with the latest additions to its FireGL line of graphics cards—two ultra high-end boards, the V7350 and the V7300. The V7350 uses a new 90nm chip manufacturing process for its GPU. The card packs in 8 parallel processors and 16 pixel processors. It comes with 1GB memory, enough to handle most complex datasets. Suggested retail price for the V7350 is $1,999. The V7300 is similar to the V7350 but comes with 512MB memory. Its suggested retail price is $1,599.

Dassault to Buy MatrixOne

Dassault Systemes will acquire MatrixOne, developer of collaborative PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions for the value chain, for around $408 million in cash. Subject to customary closing conditions, the proposed deal is expected to finalize by the end of June. Dassault, which develops the ENOVIA and SMARTEAM PLM products, is bringing the MatrixOne offerings into the fold to extend its reach into new markets, the company reports. Typical Dassault PLM users include automotive and aerospace suppliers and ship builders. MatrixOne customers are largely in the high-tech, consumer products and medical device industries.

For its most recent fiscal year, MatrixOne reported total revenues of $124.1 million and a loss of $20.3 million. Dassault Systeme's CEO Bernard Charles foresees no changes in management for the companies as a result of the acquisition.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!