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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Charlie Crocker is the new product manager for Map3D. He has 15 years experience, he noted. He shared some underutilized features in Map3D:

Connections
Projections
Organization
Web Publication

It sounded like a sales pitch for tools about which I hope users already knew!

More interesting was the new technology demonstrated, which was not assigned to any particular product but sure looks like the next version of Map. It had a faster display, slicker interface, better labeling (no overposting). Basically, it looks like the old Envision, which some may recall, I loved. It’s apparently being retired.

Bob Bray introduced MapServer Enterprise. The response was underwhelming. Why? I think Autodesk has failed to make it relevant to its existing user base. Said another way, this session did not answer the questions “How will it affect me?” and “Why should I care?” for existing users.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 10:20 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

An infrastructure solutions user spoke of his use of SDE and AutoCAD Map. He was hoping to actually see the two working together with support for long transactions. I was surprised to learn at Tuesday lunch he’d not yet heard about the MapServer announcement.

A structural engineer shared a pet peeve: Why it is architects and others don’t put their designs in real world coordinates. “Everything has a location on the earth. Why do they ignore it?” I like to think the current rush of excitement for maps and the interest in seeing real things located in their correct location will get them onboard.

An infrastructure products user from Colorado, at her first AU, skipped the keynote. “I figured it would be a sales pitch, so I didn’t go.” She was pretty right, at least this year.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 10:15 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

During the opening session Autodesk COO Carl Bass expanded on Bartz three part dictum with adverbs: Create smartly, manage securely, share immediately. The first implies model based design, a design infused with intelligence. The second points towards tools that hold and organize data through the lifecycle. The third defines the need to move information to often non-technical users as quickly as possible to enable the devices to be built, the buildings to go up, the roads to be paved and the maps to be made.

Bass introduced a scenario based on fictitious Global Bubble Corporation, a company that hopes to create a new bubble wrap, one that uses helium to fill the bubbles. He got more laughs from me when the inhaled helium did not have the desired affect, than when it did!

What followed was an Inventor/Product Steam demo that frankly, I did not understand. (My running joke for GIS people here: if you do not understand it, it’s mechanical!) Part of the challenge? I could see the pretty model, but could not see the tools or text on the demo screen.

Next up, MapServer Enterprise, which was used to find a location for the new factory. The demo showed a “property locator” app (AJAX based, which ultimately created a DWF) which did the requisite query. Bass noted regarding MapServer Enterprise, “The open source community will be a powerful force for democratizing geospatial data.”

It appears the new version of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2007 is coded named Postrio. It was a bit shaky in the next part of the demo, which involved locating the building and placing a park. The speaker quipped, “If it didn’t do this [that is, fail], you could buy it now!”

A Revit demo followed which added a floor to the parametric model of the building. The change “rippled though” the entire model “in seconds.”

A product called “Vespa” (new technology “like Adobe Photoshop”) was used to render the DWF as an artistic image.

The final approvals on the building are done by the various government boards and agencies in the city. Those players used an interactive “Demo Viewer” (more new technology). We saw 3 million visualized polygons of the Bubble Machines. Then, there was real time rendering of the model outside the factory window. Think “Google Earth” from inside to outside based on real data.

The potential contractors received a DWF bid package. One used a “smart” version of what looks like Composer to adding price estimates for a bid submittal.

Construction got underway and the Bubble Machine is ready for installation. The mobile workers installing it needed some info. Two live orange jumpsuit-clad workers used tablets to view the design using Composer. The HP tablets run “all day” on batteries and transferred the images wirelessly live from a real lift truck near the stage to the on stage video, according to the announcer.

Finally, (this was a LONG demo) it was time to take the model out to a “media and entertainment” solution to excite the company shareholders. A product called “Toxic” (I kid you not) allows for real time update of colors and the field of view. The final video showed a rendered factory fly-though enhanced by music from the Nutcracker Suite.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 10:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Carol Bartz, Autodesk’s CEO, who brought the company past the $1 billion mark, spoke live during the opening session on Tuesday.

Some points:

2D is not dead. While there is much excitement over the move to 3D, there will still be great 2D tools and offerings.

Create. Manage. Share. This is the process for all users she offered. In ISD that’s: Map3D, Autodesk Geographic Design Server (that’s the old Vision stuff most folks have not heard of for years) and MapServer Enterprise.

Senior Freshman problem. Bartz noted the problem of moving from being a pro at “old stuff” (say AutoCAD) to being a newbie at “new stuff” (Inventor). She noted this in the context of her “hot sh*t” child, a senior in high school. She repeated the term in describing “hot sh*t” AutoCAD users. (Note to Bartz: Yes, people laughed. Instead of such terms, how about using real humor?) Back to the point: she did note tools offered to users to get around the senior/freshman problem but I was so distracted by her word choice that I did not note them!

Move forward. How to do that? Move to 3D! Autodesk has been touting that for years. (Ho hum…) “The ball’s in your court…but we are on the court with you.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/30 at 10:07 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Randall Newton writes at AECNews.com that Even Yares of the Open Design Alliance was not allowed to attend AU this year, despite many years of attendence. It’s not clear why he was turned out. I reported in years (AU 03) past that many real competitors, Bentley among them, turned up at AU and execs didn’t seem to care.

Bentley Visits. I met several members of Bentley’s staff at Autodesk University. These people were not skulking around with hoods and dark glasses. One had on a MicroStation V8 dress shirt and badge noting his employer. I applaud Autodesk’s openness in this matter. In the past I’ve been asked to leave competitor’s events, even after I’d registered and been accepted to attend.

Now, I guess someone cares. Odd that such an “open” company would start blocking folks at this time.

by Adena Schutzberg on 11/29 at 04:25 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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