In its latest response to the evolving market needs, Autodesk recently presented 2010 versions of its architecture, engineering, construction and geospatial products, as well as civil design software for transportation and utilities. The new versions are designed to ease the adoption of building information modeling (BIM).

The most ubiquitous change, as presented in a Web conference showcasing the new products, is the replacement of tool bars with ribbons that organize context-sensitive tools under tabs. Each tab is organized around workflow functions such as “creation, “annotation,” and “collaboration.” The ribbons are used across the full suite of 2-D and 3-D products.

“It reduces time spent searching for commands and tools,” says Karen Weiss, technical marketing manager for transportation. “Moving between applications won’t be like learning a new language. It may seem trivial, but multiplied over a day or week, the potential for productivity gains become significant.”

Included in the 2010 suite of design tools are 2-D AutoCAD architectural design and structural products, as well as 3-D counterparts. The company says that it recognizes that even in a BIM-style project, some processes will continue to be well served by 2-D design tools, as long as data can be passed on to other tools. In the 2-D architecture software, for example, designs exported in the Industry Foundation Class format now include space boundary information for energy analysis conducted through AutoCAD MEP software.

Within the structural software, the company has created a link between Revit Structure and AutoCAD Structural Detailing that is intended to improve collaboration. For analyzing loads—including temporary loads during construction—a separate reinforcement module is available to integrate with Autodesk Robot™ Structural Analysis Professional software. The 2010 version includes many other improvements to that product, the company says.

The updated Autodesk Revit platform is said to offer greater interoperability for green-building analysis, providing support for the green-building extensible markup language, gbXML. Specific updates include improved interoperability between Autodesk Revit Architecture software and AutoCAD Civil 3D, as well as the rendering tool Autodesk 3ds Max Design and Autodesk Inventor, which is seeing increased use for incorporating component designs. New features in 3ds Max Design include an interactive lighting analysis that can be used to validate solutions early in the design process.

According to the company, the new version of Autodesk Revit MEP software for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing includes more sophisticated tools for system design, heating, and cooling loads analysis. It also offers enhanced gbXML export functions.

Availability of the 2010 releases will vary by country. Details and purchasing options will be announced March 24 on the Autodesk Web site.

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