Pitney Bowes, Autodesk, TomTom Team on GIS, Infrastructure and BIM Projects

April 18, 2013

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Directions Magazine (DM): Please explain more about the partnership between Pitney Bowes, Autodesk and TomTom?

Ahmed Abukhater (AA): The relationship is created because we feel that it brings great value to the market today by solving common problems in infrastructure planning and development in all of its stages. There is a marked delay from the time any infrastructure project is designed to the time it is constructed. One of the challenges that governments and community development professionals face is the segregation in the GIS and BIM (building information modeling) workflows, reflecting the lack of integration and communication between the GIS technology providers and design tools providers. We decided to enter into this partnership because these professionals need increased efficiency. This means more than just cutting cost and consolidating resources. It calls for a coherent strategy in managing and supporting the whole project lifecycle in a way that ensures a streamlined process to minimize redundancies while fostering bidirectional public feedback.
What this partnership brings to the table is a complete, end-to-end solution to support infrastructure development on various scales. This offering integrates both the GIS and BIM workflows to eliminate replication of data and efforts, promote efficient management of location intelligence assets, and foster a collaborative decision making process across different components of the project lifecycle. This is where GIS meets BIM andanalysis meets design.
DM: Could you break down the pieces of the solution for us - software, data, etc., and tell us what each member of the partnership brings to the table?
AA: We have invested a significant amount of resources to integrate our technologies for ease of use and cost saving measures. The Autodesk/Pitney Bowes/TomTom relationship provides access to valuable software and data, intrinsic to the planning and design process. The sophisticated capabilities provided through these technologies are a real industry game changer. It offers multiple components including desktop design, visualization and analytical tools and server and web mapping applications for sharing of information and collaboration. In addition, various types of critical data needed for evidence-based analysis, exploration, and decision making are part and parcel of this offering. The software bundle includes Autodesk and Pitney Bowes Software (MapInfo) flagship products that work together and complement each other. MapInfo’s suite of products provides geocoding and address cleansing, geoprocessing, sophisticated traffic modeling and analysis, 2D and 3D visualization and analysis, and enterprise GIS and data management. Analysis and planning can be conducted using the sophisticated computational capabilities of MapInfo Professional and on-the-fly visualization, while detailed design is done with the operational capabilities of Autodesk technology including Map3D and InfraWorks.
DM: Who are the intended users, and how do they benefit? What's different from previous offerings?
Intended users include state and local government agencies and the AEC industry at large. This includes planning, community, and economic development departments, public works divisions, IT and GIS departments, site designers, and asset managers.
When designing a large development, planners and community developers utilize location intelligence for analysis and BIM technology for design. Historically these solutions were not connected very well and users had difficulty in managing their data and workflow as a result. What’s unique about our offering is that it provides a holistic set of capabilities and solutions that stiches BIM and GIS workflows and facilitates seamless trans-boundary data flow across different design and analysis products. With this solution, you can do more with less and expedite manage the project lifecycle more efficiently. The solution also allows stranded data to be accessed, exposed, and shared by all stakeholders providing a platform for a collaborative and effective decision making process. This can only be accomplished when government agencies are able to eliminate organizational silos and consolidate redundant software while maintaining adequate public engagement and development programs. The end result is a more efficient, productive and collaborative government. This is precisely what this partnership is all about.
DM: How important is 3D for enabling and managing analytical workflows?
AA: 3D is crucial in understanding and contextualizing the project in its environment within which it operates. With 3D data, analysis and visualization, we are able to discover important nuances about how well the project fits in its environment, how the project performs, and the impact of the project on the surrounding areas and vice versa.
DM: To what extent are MapInfo and Autodesk integrated? Where is TomTom data most beneficial to this workflow?
AA: The goal of the first phase of this partnership is to ensure that MapInfo (Pitney Bowes Software) and Autodesk technology are integrated. Today, the two sets of products are interoperable, which means they can now talk to each other. For example, you can generate and evaluate “what if” scenarios using MapInfo Professional and are able to consume the analysis results with the Autodesk Map3D to visualize and continue the analysis on a different scale. The data used here is the same and can be easily consumed by both product stacks, freeing you up to do interesting things with your data rather than wasting time with unnecessary data management. This interoperability helps eliminate inefficiency in your workflow. This also means that any edits you make to the data or the map will carry over to the other products so there is no duplication of data or effort. TomTom provides data to support all levels of analysis and visualization.
This is just the beginning of a long term research and development strategy that will enhance our offering and ensure the success of our customers in this space. We will continue to improve and develop these capabilities to meet our customer’s needs. This is good news for the industry and we are excited to be the first to offer these comprehensive sets of capabilities.

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