At Be Together 2011 in Philadelphia, I attended a session on the Future of Civil Design Software. Let me start by saying that I don’t particularly like promoting futures. We live in the present and work with released software, and let’s face it, we cringe when we ask questions and are told things like “that will be available in the next release”. However, I’m going to make an exception this time to share some exciting things I saw.
Ron Gant, Bentley’s Director of Global Marketing for Civil, introduced the presentation and the Bentley presenters: Mike Wilson, Director of Software Development for Civil Products, Jay Vose, Director of Product Management for Civil Products, and Derricke Gray, Civil Product Manager for the Americas. Mike started with a little background and a declaration that their intent with development boiled down to “simply build better models“.
Then, rather than the expected PowerPoint presentation, Jay and Derricke proceeded to give us a live demonstration running MicroStation and InRoads SS3, the latter of which is approximately 6 months from release. Wow. There are too many new benefits to describe them all, so I’ll just whet your appetite with a few bullet items.
- Terrain models (lose the DTM acronym) will be created/stored/manipulated in MicroStation. Yes. I said MicroStation.
- Horizontal alignments are created using civil geometry with curves automatically placed using design criteria, radii modified graphically, etc. and remembering design intent. (Built on the functionality we have today with the Civil Geometry Tools.)
- Vertical alignments can be automatically created using a best-fit scenario and honoring design criteria. (Yes, automatically created, yet fully editable.)
- The proposed 3D terrain model can be created and modified on-the-fly. For example, template transitions can be edited graphically, objects such as retaining walls added into the model graphically, and the design intent remembered so if templates or alignments change, the edited or added items will not be lost.
- Changes to horizontal or vertical alignments are reflected in the 3D model on the fly, so you can immediately see the result of changes.
The presentation was very impressive. I could go on and on about additional benefits, such as much needed enhancements to the user experience (read: less need for dialogs, so hunting commands is minimized), remembering rules and relationships between objects (i.e. ‘design intent’ or the ‘recipe’), and tighter integration with MicroStation. But, suffice it to say, I have seen the future of InRoads and the future looks bright. And don’t worry; as always, we here at CAD Productivity will keep you educated on the new version.