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 »
“Everything is geospatial” – Report from Autodesk University 2012
December 3rd, 2012 by Susan Smith
It is heartening to hear that “everything is geospatial” from Autodesk this year and I for one wanted to hear how that could be.
In an interview with Terry Bennett, senior industy program manager, civil engineering and planning, AEC Solutions Division, at Autodesk University 2012 this past week, Bennett spoke on how geospatial in all Autodesk’s architectural tools now in response to the critical need for infrastructure repair and retrofit in the U.S.
“We have two problems to solve: one is we have $53 billion worth of infrastructure that has to be repaired and we have to change the way we deliver infrastructure projects. Infrastructure are built 1.5 times because of the quality take-offs and various miscommunications, said Bennett. “If we do it this way we’ll never be able to catch up. Now we are rethinking infrastructure as we cannot destroy roads, water plants, etc. because each structure involves another dependent structure.”
Now modeling for mistakes is taking place in centimeters not meters. These structures are hugely complex and in tight spaces. “We are trying to solve multiple 3D problems simulataneously,” said Bennett. “To manage this we can use the Cloud to run multiple simulations. We can choreograph all the design virtually before execution.”
Globally infrastructure is picking up, he said. There is $24 trillion sitting with private investors and only 1% of that is invested in infrastructure. There is still the challenge of explaining the need for investment in infrastructure to governments and municipalities.
“In the past, infrastructure processes were inflexible,” Bennett pointed out. “Now we can access information in real time with mobile and other ways, saving months in work. The third party company, Skanska, said iPad users save 9.1 hours per week per user.”
Removing process barriers will make a big difference to productivity. What is most needed in infrastructure differs regionally. Roads in Singapore, for example, are a big focus currently. U.S. cities are developing standards. Map 21 is making 3D modeling simulation for incremental funding.
Obviously utilities are interdependent on each other and transportation engineers must understand the relationship of water/wastewater and gas to the roads.
Water is the biggest issue at the moment. In the U.S. alone, $17.7 trillion is needed for water/wastewater systems and $8 trillion for roads.
“Washington D.C. has resiliency as far as recognizing that attacks on existing infrastructure will create enormous disasters, whether natural or unnatural,” said Bennett.
“Everything is geospatial,” Bennett continued. “It’s in the architectural tools now too. They are designed holistically. All tools understand location. All can be simulated and visualized. There is less a need for GIS but more need for geospatial vizualization, relationships and geolocation.”
The partnership penned last week between TopCon and Autodesk seeks to allow products within Autodesk’s design and construction software portfolio for BIM to more efficiently interact with Topcon’s on-site field positioning hardware. This collaboration is designed to allow building and civil infrastructure construction customers to form a tighter, more seamless workflow that will increase on-site worker productivity, enhance field safety, and improve quality control.
Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system a joint collaboration between the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, provides a holistic framework for evaluating and rating the community, environmental, and economic benefits of all types and sizes of infrastructure projects. It evaluates, grades, and gives recognition to infrastructure projects that use transformational, collaborative approaches to assess the sustainability indicators over the course of the project’s life cycle.