Posts Tagged Revit

Reality Capture, for Real. Autodesk Completes Capture of Allpoint Systems : #BIM

autodesk borgAt the end of this month Autodesk announced it completed the purchase of Allpoint Systems, this adds to the ‘Reality Capture’ stable now including Alice Labs.  Although much like the borg, you google Alice Labs and not much comes up as the technology and seemingly most of the talent has been absorbed into the mothership.  As with the purchase of Alice Labs it does not appear that anything from Allpoint will be available for purchase anymore as the technology is incorporated into existing Autodesk products.  From the Press Release:

The acquisition of Allpoint Systems reflects Autodesk’s continued investment in developing sophisticated, easy-to-use reality capture technologies. Reality capture is the practice of creating digital models of physical objects and spaces using photography, laser scanning and other technologies.

Why ‘Reality Capture’ or the ‘Documentation of Reality’, well let’s talk about cars, hang with me.  According to our good friends at Wikipedia, there are about 254 Million passenger cars on the road or registered in the United States and compared to new car sales of almost 13 million that’s a rough ratio of 80/20, that is new versus used.  Interestingly, last time I pulled numbers and the Boston Redevelopment Authority of new construciton permits vs permits for improvements etc. in existing space it was 80/20, in favor of the existing space.  So, look where the work is done, used cars, maintenance, improvements, after market, selling gas, same for buildings, infrastructure (bridges, tunnels) etc.    And the best way to start a project is to document building, bridges, etc. accurately.  The smart money buys used. Or let’s have Autodesk PR Recap.  “….continued investment in developing sophisticated, easy-to-use reality capture technologies”

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5 Firms Converge on New Orleans to Document The Royal Sonesta

 “Jim your a go….” 2:40 PM, New Years Eve 2012.  Text from our client; Mark at Looney &  Associates  

Our work window was January 3rd through January 9 2013.  Travel arrangements and team needed to be assembled for flights in two days.  The only thread holding this together was PKNail Pro.

Team members included individuals from Langan Engineering, Turis, TrueScan3d, LandAir Surveying and my company Interioreview.  The Job: Survey and Document Floors 2-7 of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon Street.  Include structure, electrical objects (Duplex, Com Ports, Thermostats, Wall Lights, etc) and Fire Protection.  450+ Rooms, Common Spaces, Administrative Spaces, +200,000 SF.  1 Week.   From Blank Screen to Floorplans and RCP.

“This is innovative stuff…”, Greg Jensen, Langan Engineering

“…Boom, your done.” Brady O’Brien, Turis Systems

“This certainly opens the door for future teaming efforts, and we’ve already begun to push PK Nail on some of our interior projects – integrating it with scanning and traditional survey.” – Paul Fisher, VP Langan Engineering.

This project could not have happened without the participating firms willingness to deal with such a tight deployment deadline and with the excellent individuals that arrived in New Orleans.  It also could not have happened, and I do have a horse in this race, without PKNail Pro and Revit.  There was simply no other way to coordinate multiple personnel field surveying without both.  We were able to deploy resources as needed since everything was being surveyed and modeled in real time.  4th Floor, South Wing, Greg get on it.  Brian, 2nd Floor with Nico etc.  This also allowed us to create a punch list in real time.  Reflected Ceiling on 3rd Floor, etc. as all the files were compiled daily, if not more often into a central file.  Although the deliverable will eventually be in 2D Autocad, all the initial documentation will be in Revit, so even though it was not part of the scope, we will be able to deliver a typical section through the building with only a small post processing effort.

Lastly, thank you to the good folks at The Royal Sonesta, New Orleans for treating us so well.  They understand hospitality and have a great team.

More and more firms are relying on PKNail Pro for documenting buildings whether they need the final deliverable in Revit or 2D Autocad.  PKNail Pro can deliver.

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Hey Microsoft I’ve Got Your Game Changer; Right Here

So when we demo our software, inevitably for a lot of architects we are asked, usually at least once, so will this work on the ipad?  Fact is, not yet, not until Revit works on the ipad, which the only way I see that happening is that Citrix does an amazing job serving it through a 4G pipeline, so most likely Revit / BIM Models can be viewed in the field, but not yet interacting with one in a meaningful way.  Yes you might argue there are check lists, etc. but I’m speaking about dealing with the actual authoring tool.  So while architects ask if PKNail Pro works on the ipad.  Salespeople will say, “Hey have you seen the Surface?  That could be a game changer for you.” That is full blown windows working on a tablet that will run Revit in the field.  The review by David Pogue in the Times, states the Surface “On the hardware front, Microsoft has succeeded brilliantly… amazing, amazing hardware. Now the heartbreak: software.”  He argues that operating system is not here yet, but this is Windows RT.  I’m talking about taking Full Blown Windows into the field for some serious heavy weight mobile application throw down.  Building a Revit Model, a Building Information Model of an existing building, in the field, in real time with just your Surface Tablet, a laser range finder, and some software, some industry specific software that will make you 10x faster.  Yes, I’m saying PKNail Pro will do that.  It’s effective, it’s fast, and now let’s put a wrapper around it named Surface.

So Microsoft, send me a demo, if it’s what I’m expecting I’ll be singing your praises.  It’s time to get to work.

 

*I’m serious Microsoft, so hopefully an identity manager has picked this thread up, or someone wants to make introduction.  We are fired up for the Surface and not because we want swag but because it looks like its the size of a beach ball, teed up, and we’re swinging  hard.

**Why a picture of LT?  Well, it’s LT.  Further defined: Left Offensive Tackles are now prized possessions in the NFL and some of the highest paid. That happened when LT lined up.  LT changed the game.

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New Windows Surface Tablet Puts Revit in the Field.

With Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 8, and the unveiling of the Surface Tablet, it finally appears there will be a tablet form factor that will run Revit in the field.  According to the press release there will be two versions, one based on the ARM chip and another based on the Intel i5 chip running Windows 8 Pro.  The iPad, as much it is great for so many tasks, simply does not have the horsepower to run Revit in the field, and delivering the type of user experience one would want with heavyweight programs is a real limitation in the ‘cloud.’  I understand Autodesk is now counting solely on Citrix to provide its remote platform but even if you are driving Revit remotely would you want to rely on whatever internet connection you have?  That’s just not a funnel I would want to count on in the field.

At first glance you might say so what, not a big deal.  However, if I can have a device that toggles between my heavyweight AEC programs, and delivers content the way my my iPad does then I might have an iPad to sell you; because frankly I am sick of devices, I live between the Mac and Windows camp, I’m tired of it.  I used to be an Apple fanatic, even being the only kid in business school with a Mac, the disastrous PowerPC model, but what was not to like about Apple.  Now, how did we get to the point where Microsoft is the little guy, relatively speaking.  Now if they could get their content management into a spot that works the way you want.  Imagine the central Revit model up on the sky drive, you check it out in the field, do your work, update it, booyah.

I think single purpose, highly specific apps are great to digest data,  not for the creation of it so I am real interested in the melding of tablet like functionality with horsepower.  I’m rooting for the little guy, I’m rooting for Microsoft.

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BTW anyone else bother to notice the blending and vertical integration of software/hardware.  Apple, obviously.  Google buys Motorola. Microsoft with multiple attempts, Zune, XBox, etc.  and now Surface. And more germane to AEC Trimble buys Tekla and SketchUp.  Seems to be the biz strategy du jour, watch for more.

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For Those That Like to Tweet… A Free iPad

Tweet about PKNail Pro’s Proven Field to BIM Technology, Get Entered Automatically

PointKnown is giving away a free Apple iPad to one lucky Twitterer…er, tweeter, i.e.  one who uses the service twitter to disseminate clever, witty, informative text burst in 140 characters or less.  PointKnown does not claim to be clever, witty or informative, but will claim producing kick ahh…whup ahh…Excellent productivity software tools for documenting existing buildings.

 

 

How to Enter

To participate, simply tweet using the hash tags below:

#pknail #revit #bim and mention ‘PKNail Pro’

Examples

PKNail Pro turbo charges Revit and modeling existing buildings #pknail #revit #bim

or “Capture Existing Buildings Directly In Revit with PKNail Pro, 5x-10x faster #pknail #revit #bim

less pertinent but still acceptable “We came, we saw, we conquered with PKNail Pro, #pknail, #bim , #revit

less pertinent verging to the non-sequitur but still acceptable…

beautiful software for happy people PKNail Pro, #pknail, #bim, #revit

or certainly and you are most welcome and encouraged to tweet your own stuff; as we will have a separate drawing of $100 VISA Card for best/most creative tweet as judged by anyone at our next BBQ.

Remember: follow @pointknown on Twitter for the winner announcement:


We are on the road with Microcad and have other excellent resellers including,  Seiler Instrument (ask for Harvey) and CADDFX

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Rules & Conditions

1. This giveaway is offered by PointKnown LLC and is open to anyone with a Twitter account who is at least 16 years of age. Employees of PointKnown, LLC. and/or its affiliated companies and family members of such employees may enter the contest but are not eligible to win.

2. The giveaway will begin at the time of this post and end 62 days after initial post, a winner will be randomly chosen, much like the number 62, and announced via twitter through @pointknown

3. One giveaway will be available: a 16GB Wi-Fi Apple iPad or $499 Apple Store Credit, winner’s choice.

4. You must prove ownership of the winning entry and provide your email address to collect the prize.

5. To enter the giveaway you must send out a tweet from your own Twitter account that includes the #hash tags above in your message.

6. Entries using automated tweets will be disqualified, however there is no limit on the number of tweets you may enter.

7. PointKnown LLC will choose a winner randomly from all the entries within the specified period. The winner will be announced from our twitter account (@pointknown) once the contest ends.

8. Entrants agree to allow @pointknown to use their twitter handles and entry tweets for marketing purposes.

9. Neither PointKnown LLC. nor its affiliated companies shall have any liability for (i) any technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (ii) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the giveaway; (iii) any malfunction of or damage to the prize; (iv) any corruption, typos or hacking of prize winners email accounts; or (v) any restrictions or delays imposed by any customs authorities or any import or other taxes of any kind imposed by any taxation authority in respect of the prizes.

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Interioreview Surveys & Models 28 Story DuBois Library with PKNail Pro

Interioreview, utilized PKNail Pro, an add in to Revit, combined with Leica Disto D8 laser range finders as the main surveying tool and software for capturing and modeling the 28 Story DuBois Library at UMass Amherst.  The structure designed by Durell Stone in 1966 is tallest library in the United States.  While intially considering combining LIDAR and creating a pointcloud for the exterior and utilizing PKNail Pro for the interior it turned out the exterior was the easiest part of the job and it was interior that was the most difficult.  Every 3rd floor contained  90+ rooms  with study carrels combined with classrooms where very few technologies would work well.  Nico Martinez, a Project Manager with Interioreview, commented,”Without PKNail the survey work could have taken  5 times, 10 times what it was.”

The project was completed to support the design and retrofitting a fire protection system.

Interioreview, an architecural surveying firm founded in 2003 specialzies in documenting the built environment in both 2D CAD and 3D Revit formats.

PointKnown, a software firm, founded in 2008 develops productivity tools for the built environment / AEC (Architectural, Engineering, and Construction) Industry

PKNail Pro, allows a user to measure and model objects in real time directly in Revit.

Autodesk® Revit® software is specifically built for Building Information Modeling (BIM), helping building professionals design, build, and maintain higher-quality, more energy-efficient buildings.

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Open BIM? Who really has a vested interest in the care and feeding of an open platform?

So straight out of Budapest….and Boston comes the PR Release of Open BIM.    I am for Open BIM, I love the idea of working in a platform agnostic environment and make the building all about the data not the platform, however, when Open BIM is made up of a consortium of companies that have a vested interest in the process, such as Nemetshek, Tekla and Trimble  at least the antennae are going to go up.

Open BIM Programme is a marketing campaign initiated by GRAPHISOFT®, Tekla® and other members of buildingSMART® to urge and facilitate globally coordinated promotion of the Open BIM concept throughout the AEC industry, with aligned communication and common branding available to programme participants.”  This is taken right from the buildingSMART website.    Now buidlingSMART appears to be the outgrowth of the IFC initiative which was started by Autodesk in 1994, however, Autodesk now does not appear to be a part of this?  Why not?

I think fighting against the hegemony of the Autodesk dreadnaught is okay but one has to a question an open standard in this space.  As far as I know there is no open source BIM authoring tool, which would be super cool; so then who has a vested interest in the ‘open’ standard and supporting it?  I know if I have an ancient CAD file I can still open it in AutoCAD because you have a for profit company investing in itself and it’s long tail, open standard?  Not sure if it works.  Would I be able to open a file that was saved in an IFC format twenty years from now?  I can still open a Revit file that is 7 years old.  Is this a capitalism vs. socialism equation?  I would not go that far but there is a whole lot invested in software to design/manage buildings digitally so what does Open really mean in this case besides just a ‘marketing campaign initiated from Graphisoft…”  As my dad always says, usually when you want to know the motivation for something, “follow the money.”

I’ve written about this before and I think in the ideal world the building, the BIM, is open and people just write apps for the model, as current apps put a nice wrapper around open data so can BIM apps.  Need energy analysis, buy the app, space management, buy the app but the initial creation and file formatting lies in the BIM authoring tool, Revit, Archicad, etc.  How does the centralized BIM server model work when changes are made, etc. and what file format is it kept in that will have the legacy to support it?  Perhaps after the building is designed or existing building is captured in a BIM platform it can be translated into the IFC, whathave you, open platform and then becomes the defacto standard for existing buildings (EB), but during the design process?  There are a lot of people with a vested interest to keep it in their ecosystem.  Who will invest, support and nurture an Open BIM standard and to what end?

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BIM….It’s like Legos

In an article in the Boston Herald Robert Murray, the President of Bond Construction stated that BIM sped up construction by 10%, or in the case of a current project at Boston University, 2.5 Months.  The new building 122,000 square feet in all will be mixed use with restaurants, offices, and classrooms and comes with a price tag of $48 million.   While the article mostly emphasizes the increased speed that buildings can go up, especially important in the academic community to get a building on-line for a new year, how about the cost savings?  You have a full crew off the building 2.5 months early?

“In the future, we’ll build the whole building in sections, not just the systems,” he said. “That’ll be the standard, almost like Legos.” – Robert Murray – President Bond Brothers

The project manager mentioned that they analyze every piece of equipment that comes into the building to make sure it has a clear path.  A giant room size air conditioning unit was checked digitally to see that it could fit.

“At the project office next door to the site on Commonwealth Avenue, Bond superintendent George Antonucci sat at a desk with five computer monitors running software such as Revit, NavisWorks and AutoCad that chelp model the building’s components. An iPad running an app called Vela Mobile lets workers take the 3D model onsite. All of that technology makes it possible for workers to map every duct, pipe and wire in detail beforehand, instead of fitting them as they build. “

“It’s a hell of a lot faster …..,” Antonucci said.

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Current Technologies for Reality Capture : #Revit #BIM #AU2011

I was at the recent Autodesk University in Las Vegas and sat in the session for Reality Capture for Rapid Energy Modeling by Jess Miller who discussed the current technologies and work flows to document existing buildings digitally in Revit.  As it stands the 4 available today are:

  • Satellite Imagery
  • Laser Scanning
  • 123D Catch (aka Photofly)
  • PKNail Pro

All of these technologies with the exception of PKNail, yes I do have a horse in this race, require a user to extract geometry from one program and draft in another.  PKNail allows a user to survey and model directly in Revit.  However, the most important task is choosing the right tool for the job and usually this is driven by the scope of the project/deliverable, what the model is going to be used for, and conditions and access of the building.  First, let’s look briefly at the current technologies and how they work.

Satellite Imagery

this requires getting oblique images from a source such as bing maps or Pictometry, that then can then be scaled and traced over in Revit.  While it could be the least expensive of the methods it is generally a lot less accurate, requires something that allows you to scale the photos properly either on site measurements, existing plot plan, or CAD floor plan and any real details will not be included.  This might prove to be an okay method to extract geometry for energy modeling but the model would end there, you could not use it to move forward with an architectural model.  Additionally, it requires a sophisticated users knowledge of Revit through linking photos and extracting geometry.

Laser Scanning.

This is generally done as a service, that is you hire a company who has a laser scanner to create a pointcloud of the building you need.  Estimates range from $3-$5K per day to have someone scanning a building.  I know from experience that I have been quoted almost $60,000 to scan the exterior and interior of a single story industrial building and that did not include the Revit model we needed.  We would have to build that ourselves from the point cloud.   However, if you need an accurate 3D data set of an existing structure it is an excellent resource.  You will need to import the pointcloud into Revit and trace over it to create the geometry making it at least a 2 step process.  There are some technologies available such as Imaganit from Rand Technologies that will allow a user to extract some geometry to Revit but it is still a manual process.  I have seen excellent use of this technology is extensive exposed MEP projects, think boiler room or oil rig, or difficult and inaccessible geometry, such as the Capitol Dome.

123D Catch,

is a program that allows you take pictures of building, send them up into the cloud and have them stitched together and served back to you as a 3D Photo model that you can then scale and extract geometry from.    I have not had success using this product.  I want to be successful using this product because I think it would be awesome but the few times I have sent something up to the could I get back something that looks like I am looking through a kaleidoscope.  I highly recommend you take a look because as the technology progresses and computers get more powerful this will only get better.

PKNail Pro for Revit,

this is an add in to Revit that allows you to create real Revit objects, driven wirelessly from laser range finder (Disto D8) and from measurements in the field.  That is measure wall, press a button and the wall is created directly in Revit.  This is the only software that works within the actual BIM software so there is no need to translate or extract geometry.  PKNail Pro automates current workflows and data capture and allows a user to finish the model on site.  It excels at creating dimensionally correct 3D models of the both the interior and exterior.  However, if you need a lot of exterior detail you may want to pair it with another of the technologies to create gutter sweeps, cornice work, etc. if that is needed on the project.  PKNail also recognizes any Revit wall so you could another technology/method to create the exterior and use PKNail Pro to capture all the interior fit outs.

What it boils down to is what is needed based on the scope of the project and your budget.  Choose the right tool for the job and don’t limit yourself, because who wants to use a hammer when you need a screw driver, or use a jackhammer when you need to hang a picture.  I’ll work on my metaphors, you work on capturing reality.

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Two great tastes together, Revit and AutoCAD make RevitCAD…

So I am just adding to the rumor mill, first started, or first heard by me,  by Steve Stafford on his twitter feed, so I’ll throw him under the bus if it does not come to pass that the next release of Revit will be “Revit and AutoCAD glued together in one product called ReviCAD….”   There has been a lot of bundling going in the recent years such as buy AutoCAD get Revit with it, etc. but not before has it been under one hood, so interesting if you could use AutoCAD’s drafting tool inside of a Revit view, as I’d like that but how about as a tool to increase migration to Revit, although arguably AutoCAD and Revit lead their fields as CAD drafting and BIM authoring platforms, this doesn’t require anyone to make the leap if  it’s true, your just in it.  So if true, as those guys in the Guiness commercials would say, “Brilliant.”

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