Articles and Press Releases

New Release: MicroSurvey CAD 2018

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Based on IntelliCAD version 8.4, the new release of MicroSurvey CAD 2018 includes support for version 2018 .dwg files, Esri® Shapefile import, Trimble® JobXML file import, and 3D point labels. 

MicroSurvey CAD is a complete survey drafting toolkit available with a perpetual license and includes support for COGO, DTM, traversing, adjustments, volumes, contouring, and more. 

MicroSurvey CAD is delivered by ITC member MicroSurvey. To learn more about how MicroSurvey and the ITC work together:

 

Topics: IntelliCAD DWG ITC Survey Microsurvey CAD

ITC Entrepreneurs take the Stage

iw2017members.pngEntrepreneurial solutions from entrepreneurs. It was the morning of the last day at IntelliCAD World when four ITC members presented their IntelliCAD solutions and highlights of why they were members of the consortium. 

David Carlson, Carlson Software

Carlson Software has been in the CAD business since the 80s and delivers products in the civil, mining, GIS, construction, survey, data collection, and machine control markets. In Auckland, we saw a demo of working with 3D contours: overburden, elevations, fence diagrams, ground, strata.

When Carlson joined the ITC in 2007, in under a year they released their same software that ran with Autodesk® AutoCAD® to run with IntelliCAD too. Now Carlson's products come with IntelliCAD built-in at no extra cost, and users decide whether to purchase a seat of AutoCAD. The ability to choose matters.

We also learned that Carlson is a big contributor to LandXML, where they contributed a free 3D LandXML viewer and upgrade tools. LandXML is an open data standard used within the land development industry. Open standards also matter.

Go Carlson Software >>

Bill Wright, Wrightsoft

Wrightsoft has also been in the CAD business since the 80s when it started out with no venture capital. Seeing a need back then for better heating, ventilation, and air conditioning design, they continue to deliver HVAC planning, design, sales, and installation software for the desktop and now for tablet and mobile.

Wrightsoft has solutions based on their own CAD editor and another line that's based on IntelliCAD, which we saw in action: load meters, diameters and sizes, data extraction, and automatic calculations on-the-go when you change anything in a room or building.

And then there's BIM. With Wrightsoft and IntelliCAD, you can auto-trace a BIM .rvt file to automatically generate smart objects and make calculations. It's a great example of what members are doing with the beta version libraries for reading and writing BIM .rvt files.

Wrightsoft has also changed the way HVAC gets done. They were an original partner with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) to define HVAC standards that continue to be used today. Market disruption matters. Standards matter. 

Go Wrightsoft >>

Brian Sloman, MicroSurvey 

MicroSurvey has been in business for 30 years. They joined the ITC in 2005 and ported their code base to IntelliCAD 6. They build vertical solutions on top of IntelliCAD for survey design and mapping, mining, and the public safety sector. 

At IntelliCAD World we saw a demo of IMS Map360 that runs with IntelliCAD. It can import data from manual measurements (think tape measures which are still very common), survey equipment, laser scanners, terrestrial (tripods), and cameras mounted on vehicles, drones, and backpacks. Output includes sketches and reports that are often used during court hearings to prove facts. There's heavy use of point clouds (even animated), architectural objects, trajectory rods (cones of uncertainty), and Trimble SketchUp symbols

With all of this technology, the design for public safety products has to be simple and easy to use. Their end-users aren't CAD from the CAD world and shouldn't need to be in order to get all the precision of CAD. Good design matters.

Go MicroSurvey >>

Mark Taylor, FRAMECAD

FRAMECAD has been in business since 1987 and joined the ITC in 2011. They develop the FRAMECAD System — software and hardware that designs and builds efficient, strong, and durable steel framed buildings.

A few days before at the start of the conference, we were at the FRAMECAD site to see a live demo of the IntelliCAD-based software at work. And then the machine was at work, taking in steel and outputting braces for a wall, all within a couple of minutes.

Back at the conference, we learned that BIM is really important for FRAMECAD moving forward: reading in drawings that contain all the data they need in a "fast, easy, friendly" way. But it's more than that: BIM has the power to move from planning and drawing in a silo to planning and drawing in collaboration. And collaboration is key from the FRAMECAD perspective to build faster and with fewer mistakes when all the various players show up to the construction site. Collaboration matters. 

Go FRAMECAD >>

Topics: IntelliCAD BIM ITC Survey Civil Carlson Software Microsurvey FRAMECAD Accident Reconstruction HVAC IntelliCAD World Conference Wrightsoft

Customize and Look Good Doing It

iw2017customize.pngDuring the last year IntelliCAD has been releasing new ways to customize and save user interface settings that make CAD life a whole lot easier. Here are some highlights we saw at the IntelliCAD World Conference:

  • Workspaces — Quickly switch between different setups to provide different user experiences.
  • New Customize dialog — Drag-and-drop your settings.
  • Contextual ribbon tabs  — For versions that include a ribbon, customize the options that appear when working with certain objects, including your own custom objects.
  • Toolbar docking and locking — Toolbars are still helping users maximize their drawing space and provide one-click access to commands.

Of course the user interface has always been customizable, it's just a whole lot easier now with new and better tools. During the demos, ITC members were interested to see how much easier it was to customize the user interface of their products, especially using workspaces. As with other presentations throughout the conference, it was exciting to hear people generating ideas that built from one to the next.

Another plus was hearing that when end-users tailor their own user interfaces to match how they work, it's now easier to re-load those settings during program upgrades.

And don't forget to run the new IntelliCAD on a 4K monitor. IntelliCAD looks good there and drawings do too.

Topics: IntelliCAD ITC IntelliCAD World Conference

Available APIs, the Lists Grows

iw2017api.pngIntelliCAD comes with so many APIs that it was a good idea to review them at the 2017 conference in Auckland. 

In addition to the APIs that most ITC members already know about (scripts, LISP, SDS/ADS, .NET, .NET Classic, IRX), there's also:

  • DGN API 
  • Architecture API 
  • Civil API 
  • Mechanical API 
  • Facet Modeler API 
  • RVT/RFA BIM API (BIM special interest group) 
  • IFC BIM API (ITC BIM special interest group

We saw live demos of IntelliCAD sample apps to see what you can do with some of these APIs. The Architecture API has an interface that allows you to extend IntelliCAD quickly to create windows, walls, stairs, and doors without complex coding. And the Mechanical API, which will be available in IntelliCAD 9, also lets you extend IntelliCAD but to create mechanical objects while instantly providing support for viewing and printing them.

 

  • BIM APIs were discussed here
  • DGN API was discussed here

 

The ITC has been careful to avoid using any APIs to create custom objects so we don’t compete with our member’s vertical solutions." – At the API demo session

Topics: IntelliCAD BIM ITC Architecture Lisp DGN Civil IntelliCAD World Conference SDS Mechanical

DGN: Why Not?

iw2017dgn.pngComing into the IntelliCAD World Conference, it wasn’t clear what the ITC was doing with DGN and why. “Native DGN Editing” was on the schedule, but why would .dwg users want to edit .dgn files side-by-side? Intriguing idea in theory, but practically speaking aren’t most CAD folks either .dgn or .dwg users?

Now we see: take your existing code that runs and customizes IntelliCAD for .dwg files and have that same code work for .dgn files. Here is what we learned that's already working natively with .dgn files directly in IntelliCAD:

  • Drawing lines, plines, circles, arcs, rectangles, text, blocks, leaders, revclouds, and more
  • Zooming, grips, snapping
  • Colors, layers, xrefs
  • Copy, move, explode, erase, and more
  • Array, offset, boundary, trim, fillet, and more

It will be only the second .dgn editor in the marketplace, but the same IntelliCAD will also work at the same time with open .dwg files. So will we eventually see more CAD users working in both .dwg and .dgn? As for ITC members, will they mix and match the top features of .dwg and .dgn to create a best-in-class blended solution? Why. Not.

Topics: IntelliCAD ITC DGN IntelliCAD World Conference

Building with Blocks

iw2017components.pngIt's surprising the different modules you can pick and choose from in the IntelliCAD platform to either drop into your own products or use to build your own features and programs on top of. There's core IntelliCAD of course, then there are extras like:

  • Ribbon user interface
  • ARTISAN Renderer
  • ACIS
  • C3D Labs (new)
  • APIs for DGN files (new), BIM files (new), VBA
Some extras you license from vendors and others you get if you're a member of an ITC SIG (special interest group). And they're all integrated seamlessly into IntelliCAD.

We saw live demos of several add-ons at IntelliCAD World 2017 in Auckland:

  • C3D Toolkit lets you construct and edit geometric models for CAD, CAM, and CAE. You can get the whole toolkit or just the parts you need: modeler, solver, viewer, etc. Special guests from C3D Labs presented the solution. Learn more at the C3D website
  • ARTISAN Renderer creates photorealistic renderings with just a few clicks. It has network rendering support, global illumination for ambient light, raytracing of mirrors and reflections, and HDR lighting and materials. Learn more at the ARTISAN website.
  • The ribbon in the user interface is not new news to ITC members, but we got a quick demo of the new capabilities. One of the most important in the latest IntelliCAD release is creating your own contextual ribbon tabs, which can display specifically when you're working with your own custom objects.
  • BIM files are a hot topic for a lot of CAD users. Here's a short write-up of what we heard earlier at the conference: BIM and dwg Start Talking.
  • DGN files have been supported in IntelliCAD for years: open, save, import, export. But there's a special interest group that's working on editing them directly in IntelliCAD. More news on that coming soon.
Topics: IntelliCAD ITC IntelliCAD World Conference

Under the Hood of IntelliCAD

iw2017toolbox.pngSprinkled throughout the days at IntelliCAD World were a few presentations about internal systems used by the ITC. The point was not to show off how things work internally — under the hood  but to show ITC members what is available for porting to their own in-house processes.

It's a perk of ITC membership. Looking to grow into a large-scale automated testing system with scripts, regression analysis, visualization tests, and tens of thousands of drawings? ITC members can just re-use theirs. How to collect crash data and feedback from users? Grab their code. What is a state machine and how can it help me develop code that isn't spaghetti code? See how they do it and get their examples. How to translate your UI to different languages? See how they use RC files and get ideas about other methods.

One of the other demos showed us where the ITC gathers all of these data points into an overall health index. The health index has visual dials that evaluates all of the testing data — you're either in the green or the red so you can easily see how the latest build is performing. This helps for day-to-day work but is even more critical leading up to a release. Dave Lorenzo, ITC President stood at the back of the room and added, “We only release if the health index is high enough.”

You can learn more at the website:

Topics: IntelliCAD ITC Membership IntelliCAD World Conference

BIM and dwg Start Talking

iw2017BIM.pngIt didn't take long to get talking about BIM at IntelliCAD World here in Auckland, New Zealand. First we heard from the lead developer at the ODA about the Teigha BIM libraries. Then we heard from the head of development at the ITC about what you can do now with BIM files in IntelliCAD.

There are two Special Interest Groups at the ITC charged with developing technology for BIM files. One is for .rvt/.rfa files and the other is for .ifc files. 

We saw a live demo of attaching an .ifc BIM file as an underlay to a .dwg file. You can change the visibility of layers in the underlay, and you can even explode it among other things. Coming soon in IntelliCAD 9 is the ability to attach an .rvt/.rfa BIM file as an underlay. 

Then someone in the audience asked, "Wait. Can AutoCAD do that?" A pause. "Have dwg and Revit talk to one another?"

The answer: No. It can't do that. 

Topics: IntelliCAD BIM ITC IntelliCAD World Conference

IntelliCAD in Your Pocket

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Today at IntelliCAD World we heard about the advancements in IntelliCAD for mobile devices. IntelliCAD Mobile is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android with a possibility of Linux in the future. You can view .dwg, .dwt, and .dxf drawing files; .dwf files; .dae COLLADA files; ACIS files; and images (.png, .jpeg, .tiff, etc.). Also, coming soon is support for .dgn drawing files.

We saw a demo of viewing and navigating complex models and learned that an ITC member is already shipping a viewer based on IntelliCAD’s mobile platform with over 100,000 downloads. What will CAD users want to do on mobile devices besides viewing? Markup? Augmented reality?

Mobile users will decide, and IntelliCAD is positioned to provide solutions. Future plans include support for printing, voice record annotations, .rtv/.rfa BIM files, and more.

Topics: IntelliCAD ITC Mobile Platform IntelliCAD World Conference

Expect IntelliCAD 9 in Q1 2018

iw2017intellicad9.pngIt's still morning here at IntelliCAD World 2017 and we've learned that IntelliCAD 9 (the next major release) is expected in March 2018. Plans include:

  • Native read/write support for 2018 .dwg files (currently IntelliCAD reads them but writes them to an earlier version)
  • Incremental save
  • Mechanical API
  • BIM underlays
  • Explode .pdf to entities
  • Point cloud RCP file format support
  • And more
We saw a live preview of a couple new IntelliCAD 9 features. A large drawing was opened and then saved, once with incremental save turned on and once without. The feature newly saves only changes instead of saving the whole file. It took about 8 seconds to save the file without incremental save turned on (full save) and about 1 second with it turned on (incremental save). It's not only good for when you click Save but also during autosaves. And we got to check out the new visual styles such as xray and sketch that will be available with a single click when IntelliCAD 9 releases with support of the OpenGL® ES 2 graphics device driver.
Topics: IntelliCAD IntelliCAD World Conference

ITC: The Competitive No-Compete Company

iw2017keynote.pngDay 2 of IntelliCAD World 2017 opened with remarks from David Lorenzo, ITC President. He explained that at its core, the ITC works for its members and does not compete with them. Ever.

Indeed it's a unique position: a competitive no-compete company.

So when CAD companies look for a CAD platform on which to base their development, IntelliCAD is competitive in the CAD platform arena. And when those same CAD companies look for a CAD partner on which to base their businesses, the ITC is the partner that can't be beat — it doesn't compete with member companies or products. So the ITC moves forward with its members, who are the people and companies who define that future.

As Dave put it towards the end of his keynote this morning, “We are very different. And that’s a good thing.”

Topics: IntelliCAD IntelliCAD World Conference

Accomplishing Extraordinary Things

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Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand, home to IntelliCAD World 2017 and our hosts FRAMECAD. It's Day 1, and ITC and member developers met one-on-one to discuss questions, exchange ideas, and solve issues. There was a buzz coming from small groups where you could catch words like rendering, mobile, BIM, regression testing, customize, source control, and of course a lot more.

In the afternoon we traveled to the FRAMECAD offices and factory for a demo of their rapid steel framing system. Entering the building, we were greeted by an overhead photograph of New Zealand's own Edmund Hillary and inspiring words.

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With IntelliCAD, ITC members are accomplishing extraordinary things. And we're about to find out more in the next two days. Stay tuned.

Topics: IntelliCAD FRAMECAD IntelliCAD World Conference