Thursday, November 10, 2011

November SFDD Morning Meeting

Attendees: Dave Bleiman, Craig Goings, Dan Tsui, Karen Thomas, Marla Ushijima

Dave continues to sing the praises of his iPad, especially when paired with an accessory keyboard. We discussed various BIM viewing apps for iPad and iPhone:

ADR (Autodesk Design Review) allows viewing and annotating via the Autodesk Cloud free with subscription. It has significant limitations; it allows rotation around 0,0 point only and it can't go inside the model or view it from a specified location. Dave points out that it's still in the beta phase. On the iPhone 4, ADR is really slow. The more powerful processor of the iPhone 4S should improve performance, but battery life is a major issue. Turning off location services (especially time zone) helps a lot.

Dan has a viewer app for both iPad and iPhone. It's significantly faster and more flexible than ADR, but it's not available on the market; at least for now it's just in-house at Modulus Consulting.

Karen mentioned CadFaster|Collaborate, available via website and as an iPad app. She says it's working well for meetings, for collaborative BIM viewing and pdf markup capability similar  to GoToMeeting. She believes it's optimized for BIM (despite its name), but is not sure what all differentiates it from other platforms. She suggests having a presentation/demonstration to the group by the rep.

Dave mentions that he has had nightmares trying to get Nitrous to work for him.

The group expressed mixed opinions about laser scanning and using point clouds in a BIM. The collection of data provided by scanning can be overwhelming in quantity and overly precise; minor deviations can assume exaggerated prominence. However, in certain situations - such as evaluating available plenum space for MEP clearances in existing hospitals - laser scanning can be very useful. In order to scan effectively, exploratory demolition must be more extensive than what's traditionally done, so careful consideration has to be made of project scheduling and the effect on interim use of the facility.

Karen has heard that the price of laser scanning equipment has been decreasing dramatically, as low as $9,000 for an entry-level setup. Dan believes it's still typically in the neighborhood of $70,000; the necessary software (Cyclone) is a significant chunk of the cost.

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