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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Geospatial as underlying component for Autodesk product line

April 8th, 2010 by Susan Smith

At AU it appeared that geospatial had an uncertain future at Autodesk. Senior director, Infrastructure Modeling Product Line Paul McRoberts stated at Autodesk’s AEC Technology Day this week that geospatial is the underlying component for all of Autodesk products. The FDO platform is extensible open source software that can be noted in transportation, water and waste water, land development, power and energy.

McRoberts said that 24% of the gross revenue collected by AEC firms is for planning, according to an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) study. It might appear that the role of geospatial at Autodesk is visual in nature: modeling and visualization for water, transportation, energy and water and wastewater, where getting public approval is primary to getting projects off the ground. What is needed here is a way to show a workflow including location and geospatial data. The technologies spoken most about – 3ds Max for visualization and Dynamite VSP Exporter are for showing how problems can be solved, interoperability, and being able to migrate information to others.

The laser scanning environment and lidar data play a part in this. McRoberts said that surveying may become a thing of the past. With the need in many places for ground truth data, particularly in areas that aren’t readily accessible with laser scanning equipment or lidar, I think it may be a long time before this is realized.

“Digital cities,” a hot buzz term of a year or two ago, will now go by the name “sustainable cities” as one part of a greater vision including extension of assets such as tranmission lines into rural communities. It is part of the scope of LandXplorer, in its quest to address large scale projects and visualization. McRoberts said LandXplorer holds a GIS layer underneath that contains real data.

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