On the Floor at Autodesk University

By Adena Schutzberg

K-TEK has tools to teach online.But it's not what you think.They use an electronic, server based, narrated, video-clip based book, a vBook, built with technology from RetrieveMedia, to do the teaching.The idea is to put the training at the location and time of its need.So, ideally the user goes along working in say Autodesk Civil and gets stuck.The person taps into the knowledge base via a question in plain English, ("How do I slide a parcel?") via a chapter in the book, or via the chapter's index.That brings up a narrated, short video clip, which shows the answer the question.If not, the user can send e-mail to K-TEK and get one of its experts to create a custom video to address the problem. Those may in time be added to the "book."

The technology has been used for many software products and the company is now offering it for Autodesk products in civil engineering and GIS. One other bonus, Dave Arnold, of Softdesk fame, is behind it.

Safe Software
FME 2006 is imminent; support for "the new" SDF will follow in a beta after it ships.

Image courtesy GlobeXplorer.(Click for larger image)


GlobeXplorer, the folks who provide images you can use inside your favorite GIS/CAD product, introduced ImageConnect for AutoCAD.The plug-in allows for access to the company's large image warehouse (from AirPhoto USA, DigitalGlobe, Sanborn, USGS, etc.) inside any AutoCAD based software.Anyone can use the free trial, but those at AU got a full month of free access to un-watermarked imagery.There's also a plug-in for MapGuide.Imagery was clearly a big deal at AU -- the booth was overflowing on Monday night.

RDV Systems
RDV Systems is a relatively new company which has based its visualization offerings on Autodesk's AutoCAD-based 3D offerings -- Map3D, Civil3D and others.I got the ultimate demo: we went from a raw Civil3D corridor map into a real-time interactive visualization on my browser in under five minutes.The products, RDV for Civil 3D, RDV for Map3D and RDV for Land Desktop (more to come), all "plug-in" to their host products and add a menu that allows for preparation of the data (in our case one step) and the creation of the data files.Place these, including an automatically created HMTL webpage on a Web server and you are in business.A plug-in is required for viewing (it's very small) and since the data is not streamed, the real time interaction is very smooth.Think of this as Google Earth-like, except you can add the "new stuff" to it.The big distinguisher, says president Natan Elsberg, is that every step along the way in the creation of the visualization is simple.Sure looked that way to me!

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5 minute visualization of data from Civil3D.(Click for larger image) The same data, and visualization, with a bit more enhancement.(Click for larger image)

Any*GIS is pretty much history (it's no longer listed as a product on the products page) as the company revamps its offering to focus on CAD/GIS integration at a smaller scale.Its replacement, the name-challenged CADGeoWeave, "enables AutoCAD and Autodesk Map users to access and update GIS data stored in ESRI, Intergraph, MapInfo, GE Smallworld and Oracle Spatial." While connecting those is possible via existing connections, this solution, is simpler, more secure, maintains symbolization, and works with more versions of the products.It's sold in packages for 10 users.The company is optimistic that this scaled down solution will be more accessible than the powerful, expensive and perhaps over the top Any*GIS.

Published Monday, December 12th, 2005

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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