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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cool Lumion Video of Architectural 3D Animated Walkthrough

Do we have too many software tools or do we have the right tool for right now, the right person, the right client or the right workflow?  What if it costs a little money, but saves time?  Is there a formula to calculate the psychological benefits of having software that makes it easier for people to do their job?  What if you had tools that were easier to manipulate so you weren't dependent on specific people in your company that could free up the higher billable staff?

Or, is this just another cool tool to impress your clients?  Should we just sur-render?

Lumion product comparison page: http://lumion3d.com/specs/  $1969 for Basic and $3940 for Pro
There's always Lumion Free for non commercial use: http://lumion3d.com/free/

Take $3940 divided by $75/hour billable rate and it equals 52 hours of billable time. Worth it?  Don't know yet!


Revitalisation of a market square from Maciej Chmura on Vimeo.

Source/Link: Revitalisation of a market square





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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Autodesk new logo...do you like it?

Congratulations to Autodesk on their new logo.  


...and congratulations to Deltek for having your product logo kind of sort of borrowed.

Apparently, through some Twitter noise, people noticed and are talking about a similarity.

I'm not really sure that I like the logo. I would think something that conveyed a little more 3Dish look would have been better. Of course, Autodesk has many products and covers many industries, so it's not so easy to create a new logo.  I took our company's logo and recreated it in Revit for a really cool 3D look.  Hopefully someday, it will be used, but it was fun to make and pretty easy.  I'd suggest that every architecture firm using Revit, update their logo and build it in Revit to convey that 3D side of your company.  

Looking at the new logo and seeing the triangle in the middle, reminds me of a revision cloud mark.  That's certainly something we're trying to eliminate on plans.   

....and then someone mentioned that it looks a little like Adobe's logo.  
This would have been cooler, but that's just my opinion.




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Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 bSa BIMSMART Summit - March 15th Waltham MA - All Day Super BIM Event

Here's a great event coming up in a few weeks.  There will be some awesome speakers including the Chair of the National Institute of Building Sciences, Rosso Steinmann, the Deput Chairman of buildngSMART International, Deke Smith, the Director of buildingSMART alliance and Cindy Baldwin, President of ACAI Technologies.  It's a great opportunity to network, learn about the executive side of BIM and learn all about COBie.  There's only room for 150 people and there aren't a lot of spots available, so sign up ASAP.  Register Now 



2013 bSa BIMSmart Summit
 Join us in Waltham Massachusetts for the bSa
 2nd Annual bSa BIMSmart Summit! 
Sponsored by:         
Exclusive BIM Event. bSa and buildingSMART International members will be on-hand. A great opportunity to learn and network
with some of BIM's Biggest Stars!
Don't wait to register - This event will sell-out!*Event is limited to only 150 People

When: Friday, March 15th, 20138:30am-4:30pm
Where: 
Forefront Conference Center404 Wyman Street
Waltham, MA 02451
Register Now


Tentative Schedule:

8:30am - 8:45am           Welcome Address and overview
8:45am - 9:45am           World update – State of BIM in the USA and beyond.
                                          Deke Smith, Moderator feat
uring Rasso Steinmann,
                                            ISG Coordinator, Deputy Chairman buildingSMART
                                            International

                

9:45am - 10:30am         BIM implementation from a design MEP’sperspective. A
                                           project 
case study.
                         
                  
Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers, LLC (BR+A)
10:30am - 10:45am       Break
10:45am - 11:15am       Why is the insurance industry interested in BIM and how
                                            is FM Global and the clients  using it? 
                                 
           - Tom Gay, FM Global, Chair buildingSmart Alliance
11:15am - 12:00pm       (Advanced Track) Streamlining Collaboration- Using the
                                           BCF to collaborate with your ENTIRE project team.
                                           Collaborators are no 
longer required to have modeling
                                           software or modeling knowledge to be involved in the
                                           process.
                                           - Kris Lengieza VDC Director. Stiles Construction
11:15am  - 12:00pm       (Beginner Track)  BIM 101: We will teach you the terms
                                            needed so you can FAKE BIM with the best of them. 
                                            Cindy Baldwin, President ACAI Technologies, Inc.
12:00pm - 1:00pm          A working BIM Lunch. – We will eat, meet and solve BIM’s
                                           biggest challenges together. This working BIM
Charette will
                                           be fun and informative for all. 
1:15pm - 2:00pm            (Advanced Track) - is COBie for real? What it is, Who is
                                           requiring it and how it is being implemented in the market
                                           today.
                                           
Birgitta Foster, Assisting Director, buildingSMART
                                             alliance.
 
 
1:15pm - 2:00pm            (Beginner TrackYour Company is ready for BIM but are
                                           your employees? BIM Implementation Lesson Learned.
                                           Cindy Baldwin, President ACAI Technologies, Inc.

2:00pm – 2:15pm           Break – (Food)
2:15pm - 2:45pm            Learn about the BIM Standards. What they are, Why we need
                                           them and how you can get involved.  

                                           - Chris Moore, CHAIR NBIMS

2:45pm - 3:45pm            Trends and Future of Laser Scanning
                                           - 
Mark Hanna, President / Principal Manager,
                                            PrecisionPoint Inc.
3:45pm - 4:30pm            Closing Remarks – future of BIM and the bSa                                                    - Deke Smith, Director buildingSMART alliance                                                        Register Now                                                                     or  Click Here for Further Details
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Google randomly disables my gmail account - Can someone help me?

I woke up yesterday morning, grabbed my iPad to check my mail and there was a pop up message on the screen about my personal gmail account password being incorrect.  At some point in the middle of the night, Google disabled my account.  Of course, there's no email sent to me prior to that explaining why and no email sent to my secondary email address. When you try to login, you get sent to http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&p=feedburner&ctx=ch_ServiceLoginAuth&answer=40695, which is really not very helpful.

So, at the moment, I've lost access to over 200,000 emails (yes, I know that's a stupid number, but  once you hit a certain point, it's impossible to try to delete stuff) that have been collected since 2005. If you do the math, it's from receiving about 70 emails a day.  They really add up.  On top of that, I've lost my personal calendar, address book, Latitude, Feedburner account, all of my Picasa photos, Youtube account, Google Apps, RSS reader, Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Voice, Bookmarks, Google Sync and Google + account access.  That's a lot of stuff.

Of course, very little of it was backed up.  I can at least access the blog because I had added additional accounts to it because you never know which account you're logged into at the time.  Google has a disabled account page where you put in your email address, an alternative address and a comment box asking what you were doing at the time of the deactivation.  Uh...I was sleeping.

I'm sure this will get resolved, but this is a huge problem with the cloud, free services and even paid services when you don't know if a company will go out of business tomorrow.  I do pay Google $20 a year for extra storage on that account and I do get a check from Google every month for AdSense ads.  For a company that made $29 Billion last year, profits from all of our data, you'd think there would be a human to talk to or at least an email as to what Terms of Service where allegedly violated.  I have a Google Business account and called their tech support help.  They couldn't help me, but did send me an email with some helpful links.  One of them, http://www.jonasblog.com/how-to-successfully-recover-a-disabled-gmail-account, was the same one my wife sent me in the morning.  Supposedly, you get an answer from Google in 48 hours, but it could take several attempts to resolve this.

Lessons learned? Backup everything.  If you have accounts like Dropbox, Evernote, Lastpass or any other web service that links back to a free account, change the email address to one that there's no chance of losing.  I don't think I was hacked because I have 2 Step Verification on my Google account, and just this past Saturday, changed all of my various account passwords, and found a great site, http://howsecureismypassword.net/, that said that it would take 157 billion years for a PC to crack the password I had set up for my Gmail account.

So, today, I hate Google.  I hate Microsoft even more and at least I'm not annoyed with Autodesk today.  I do still love Apple, so that's at least a good thing.  Evernote is fantastic this morning so that keeps me going.  As we move all of our stuff to the cloud, we're going to be held hostage by the technology companies.  There is no recourse with Google to talk to someone and find out what's going on.  I think I'll start calling Google, "Data of America", "Best Data" or "ComData", since the customer service of Google is now as bad as Bank of America, Best Buy and Comcast.

I'm just hoping that someone from Google reads this and can help me resolve the issue. You can email me at google@bimbuilder.com and I'll give you the account details of the problem account.

I can't be mad at a Google person directly since account disabling is done by a computer.  As we get more dependent on technology, we need to have a backup plan of what to do in case of emergency.  If the entire Google system stopped tomorrow, it would be devastating to the world economy.  Google is now like a utility company and that private/public overlap needs to have oversight when it comes to customers.  Do we have any recourse with a free account?  Did you ever read the license agreement?

What if all of your parents medical records, medicine, appointments and information were kept in your Google account, they shut disable it randomly and something terrible happens? Would Google be liable in any way?  Would that be considered manslaughter if a death resulted from this?  Well, at least, by some miracle, I still have my BIM blog, which is the only thing left and my most important piece of Google, so I can tell you about it here.

Now, Google, please, fix my account!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bring your (BIM) Data to work day


Google just had a 'Take Your Parents To Work Day'.  How do you explain to your parents exactly what you do at work.  Well, yesterday, we had a take your 'data' to work day.  One of our BIMmers brought in a 16GB file of point cloud data from a school project.  I've got just one thing to say, and that is that point clouds are way cool.

Now for the bad news.  Autodesk, is there any reason why Revit and Navisworks can't open Faro fws and fls files created in the 5.1 version of Faro's Scene LT?  Why exactly did I have to spend 45 minutes finding some obscure forum that told me to download their SDK file and copy the DLL files from Windows\winsxs to the Autodesk software program directory?  That's just not right.  And, after all of that, it still wouldn't open in Revit.  Only the raw fls files would open in Revit.  Of course, there's no stitching capability in Revit so trying to manually line up files was a real pain.

Now, let's talk about Navisworks.  I'll bet you that when I get to the office, Navisworks still won't be done importing the Faro fws scene with 17 point cloud files.  It was taking about an hour a file to import into Navis.  I can't wait until Euclideon releases their software so maybe this won't be so painful if we ever get a real job that requires point clouds.

We finally figured out a way to convert the data to another file type that worked much better for Navisworks and the file was in color.  Imagine the pain of having to figure out a workflow and process for something you've never done before and what a painful learning curve it is when you have to wait hours for the results.  This sort of stuff really requires a superfast computer well above and beyond what a standard super powerful Revit machine can handle.  You'll also need a bigger hard drive as these files are massive.

Coolest thing of the day was when my boss happened to be in our department, saw the 3D point cloud, sat down and started moving through the 3D model.  Nothing has ever impressed me more.

I can't wait until our next bring your BIMa and Data to work day.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

3Doodler is a $75 3D-printing pen eagerly awaiting your Kickstarter funding (hands-on)


How about a pen that you could make a 3D napkin sketch with?  That would be some crazy stuff.  Now what if it was only $50?  I'm placing my order right now.

Can you imagine a world where an architect can sketch in 3D?  Imagine what they could convey to their clients without simple 2D drawings.  I know, it's crazy talk and years away from actually happening....or maybe not....no more ChiselCAD for you.  

Source/Link: 
A1_GT Engadget

3Doodler is a $75 3D printing pen eagerly awaiting your Kickstarter funding
In April of last year, former MakerBot COO Samuel Cervantes launched the Solidoodle, a $500 3D printer. We were a bit taken aback by the price point -- after all, his former company's product had seemingly set the standard for consumer-facing 3D-printer pricing at around $2,000. We're hoping you've got both hands firmly clutching your hat when we tell you that the 3Doodler, a 3D-printing pen from the crew over at Wobbleworks, is going to run a whopping $75 at launch -- and heck, if you get in early on the company's recently launched Kickstarter, you'll be able to snag one for $50.

Before we go any further, however, let's get some things out of the way. For starters, it's best to take the 3D printer thing with a grain or two of salt. Calling the 3Doodler a 3D pen is a bit like calling a high-end ink pen a 2D printer. The device is actually quite simple, but pretty brilliant. It essentially takes the heated extrusion head off a 3D printer and incorporates it into a standalone device. A single piece of plastic (ABS or PLA, for the more environmentally minded out there) is threaded through the back, fed through the pen and comes out melted through the tip. Yes, like its 3D printer brethren, it works a bit like a hot glue gun.
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List of Expiration Dates for Autodesk Labs Technology Previews


Only a few Revit toys on the list. Another note is that it's hard  tell the release dates from these expiration dates.  On the bright side, look for these items to be a part of the 2014 product line.  

Source/Link: 
B1_It is Alive in the Lab
Milk1 I blog about this every once in a while. Most technology previews are like milk cartons. They have expiration dates on them. When a technology preview expires, the technology preview no longer operates. A preview has a time bomb in it that makes it stop working on a particular date. We do this so there is a sense of urgency to try a technology preview and get back to us. Our customers are busy people, and without this, they would just say "I'll get to that later."
When a technology preview expires, any data that has been created by it continues to be valid. It's just that the data cannot be edited using the technology preview since the preview does not run anymore. Certainly new data can't be created either.
This approach allows us to get early feedback on the general idea, user interface, performance characteristics, and general correctness of the results.
Here is a list of active Autodesk Labs technology previews and their associated expiration dates. The list is sorted by expiration date - so act fast if you want to provide feedback on these technology previews before they retire or graduate.
Expiration DateTechnology Preview
February 28, 2013 Factory_modz_preview

Project Facrory.Modz() for Inventor
February 28, 2013 ProcessSim_ThumbForLabs_V3b

Process Simulation
March 15, 2013 Falcon_preview2

Project Falcon
stand-alone program
March 31, 2013 Revit_fabmep_preview

FABmep Import for Revit MEP
March 31, 2013 Designscript_preview2

DesignScript
April 1, 2013 Inventor_fusion_preview

Inventor Fusion (Windows version)
May 1, 2013 Sciviz_preview2

Project Sci-Viz for 3ds Max
June 30, 2013 River_analysis_preview

River Analysis Extension for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 / AutoCAD Map 3D 2012
August 6, 2013 RevitMaximoIntegration_204x120a

Maximo Integration for Autodesk Revit 2013 products
August 12, 2013 Basejump_preview

Project Basejump for AutoCAD Map 3D / AutoCAD Civil 3D
August 30 15, 2013 Falcon_preview2

Project Falcon
for AutoCAD, Inventor, and Revit
January 31, 2014 Mesh_enabler_preview

Mesh Enabler for Inventor 2013
July 1, 2014 Inventor_simplification_preview

Inventor Simplification
Technology previews have a specific end date so no one confuses them with perpetual functionality that is associated with a product offering or subscription service. In fact, technology previews are offered for free to Subscription, non-Subscription, and educational users alike. A development team is focused on a technology preview for a project interval. While they are, they want the feedback and the ability to make a decision so they can continue development of the technology or quickly move on to something else. We appreciate it when we debut technology previews, people try them right away, and provide us with an up or down vote. Your experience shapes the future of our technology indeed.
Sniffing the cartons to see what can still be tasted is alive in the lab.


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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Euclideon Launches Laser Scanning Data Revolution - Geoverse Software Magic

Way back in 2011, I made a blog post about a company called Euclideon (Link) and linked a video showing their technology, Unlimited Detail Real-Time Rendering Technology Preview 2011 [HD] - YouTube 

Unlimited Detail is a technology which was secretly in development for many years. It enables computers to display infinite geometry at real time frame rates and has made many prominent appearances in the media, in magazines including New Scientist, Wired, Popular Science, Hyper, Atomic and PC Power Play amongst others. In 2010 Bruce Dell acquired investment and Euclideon Pty Ltd was formed as a company to produce the commercial SDK.
I was cleaning up some of my Evernote notes and came across some notes about Euclideon.  Well, I decided to go take a peak at their site and it was just my luck that the day before they had just announced some interesting news and a new brand launch.  

Basically, they've come up with a way to use their technology to make it easier to work with point cloud data.  One of the biggest issues we have is with the massive size of point cloud data for architecture.  Finally, there's a way to make the process more manageable.  I certainly hope that Autodesk becomes a partner of theirs.  This could change the laser scanning industry forever.

Below are a bunch of snippets from their website.  This is all brand new stuff so pay attention to this company.  

Source/Link: http://www.euclideon.com/products/geoverse/
Below are a bunch of snippets from their website

 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
Euclideon is the only company in the world that can render unlimited quantities of point cloud data, offering truly Unlimited Detail

The benefits of using UD technology are as unlimited as the detail it can provide
• Loading times are less than a second regardless of data size; no need to commit to long loading times.
• Store your data in one place on the network or online; there is no need to copy to every computer.
• See all of your data, all at once; you don’t have to chop your data into pieces.
• Visualise data in real-time; say goodbye to lengthy offline renders.
• Communicate spatial concepts in 3D; the viewer includes unrestricted camera controls for viewing and measuring.
• Run on any computer; even entry-level laptops without dedicated graphics cards.
• Easy, user friendly “drag and drop” interface; so simple, anyone can use it.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
To achieve unlimited detail required a complete rethinking of existing rendering technologies.
Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail is like nothing else on the market.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail technology may have started out in the gaming industry, but it is a perfect fit for real world geospatial applications.

As anyone that has used LiDAR or other point-cloud data before knows, the datasets generated are typically large, cumbersome, and difficult to visualise or work with.
• You can run and interact with models of unlimited size
• Loading times have been reduced to less than a second for any size data model
• The model can be stored in one place in your building and all can access it
• Storage compaction to between 5-20% of original .LAS size
Euclideon offers a range of products to help you get the most value from your point cloud data
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
The future of 3D point cloud representation is here, now. Don’t be left behind.

Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail (UD) technology is able to remove all limits surrounding the amount of 3D data that you can capture, visualise, and interact with. No longer are 3D visualisation and rendering technologies reliant on expensive, fast hardware with large amounts of RAM.

At the heart of the technology is a 3D search algorithm that can render unlimited quantities of point cloud data in real-time. As this algorithm efficiently grabs only one point for every screen pixel, it can display models of previously unimaginable sizes at interactive frame-rates, without the need for a powerful CPU or graphics card.

By removing the hardware bottleneck from the process of 3D visualisation, Euclideon has simultaneously removed any limitations on the amount of detail that a scene can contain. Imagine a 3D landscape that is large enough to stretch off to the horizon, yet where you can zoom in on individual, unique pieces of gravel scattered across the ground – all within less than a second.

These unparalleled 3D visualisation capabilities were previously thought impossible, but through questioning some fundamental principles, Euclideon has realised the unimagined.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail technology removes the requirement for expensive, high-end hardware when rendering 3D scenes. The hardware cost-savings are clear, but the low bandwidth, storage, and hardware requirements also open the possibility of using interactive 3D visualisations in field-based presentations; say during an emergency briefing, or when visiting a client. Further to this, streaming capabilities allow the data to reside on one computer, and be accessed by every other user in the building, or across the world via the internet.

The potential uses for this technology are limitless: precious artefacts can be scanned in for academics across the world to examine; buildings or entire landscapes can be scanned for training simulations; famous landmarks or areas can be scanned for immersive education; even patients can be scanned for remote consultation with cosmetic surgeons – UD’s strength is in its limitless potential to aid countless industries.

Why it’s better
• Data is 5-20% of the original data size; making it much easier to store and manage.
With Euclideon, laser-scanned data is smaller, faster, and more realistic.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
Euclideon was able to achieve Unlimited Detail by questioning one of the fundamental principles of 3D visualisation – the use of polygons in building 3D models.
Polygons have served the world well, but they have a ‘use by’ date. As technology progresses, we are already at the point where characters or objects in 3D visualisations can have polygons that are less than 1 pixel big. At this point there is just no reason to process them as a triangle and so most in the industry agree that the future of graphics is atomic.

Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail technology, used in its Geoverse software, is based on the concept of atoms in 3D space – that is, storing objects as collections of 3D pixels. This is a better way of representing real-world objects, as it doesn’t ‘fill in’ objects with homogenous textures and repetitive shapes. Rather, it represents every pixel of a scanned object just as it appears in the real world.
----
On the surface, Unlimited Detail may look like some existing technologies available elsewhere. However, there are some crucial differences under the hood that really set it apart.

Voxels:
After the debut of the UD demo video on YouTube, some people made the mistake of saying that UD was a voxel system. A voxel system is where you make everything out of either small blocks or floating atoms. While UD does make everything out of atoms, the difference is that it uses an entirely different approach that allows infinite numbers of them running in real-time. Traditional voxel techniques were just too inefficient and limited.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
How Unlimited Detail differs:
Unlimited detail is a search algorithm that searches for one atom for every pixel on the screen. Because it functions in this way, the total volume of data is irrelevant and the algorithm’s speed depends on screen resolution instead of dataset size.
With UD, your laser scanned data is smaller, faster, and more realistic.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
The atomic method used by Unlimited Detail to store and render 3D data is practically identical to the data generated by 3D laser scanning; commonly known as point clouds.
As such, it made perfect sense for Euclideon to start focussing on how the UD technology can apply to the biggest creators and users of point cloud data and laser surveying – the geospatial industry.

As part of this move towards the geospatial industry, Euclideon has created specialised software – Geoverse – that can view point cloud data converted from industry standard formats (e.g. .LAS). Data is viewed – in 2D or stereoscopic 3D –without loading times through Geoverse’s intuitive interface using either a mouse or a gaming controller.

Alternatively, Euclideon has also created a Software Development Kit (SDK) allowing OEMs to integrate Euclideon’s UD visualisation technology into existing geospatial software packages. This way, point cloud data benefits not only from UD’s instant visualisation technology, but can also interact with an organisation’s existing spatial datasets – enabling better asset management, customer engagement, situational briefing, or a myriad of other uses.
If your organisation is keen to start using Euclideon’s UD technology, and can’t wait for your geospatial software provider to integrate the technology themselves, Euclideon also offers agile enterprise solutions, tailor-made to suit your requirements.

Please contact us to see what Euclideon can do for your business.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
Euclideon’s conversion software solves all these problems, by compressing data down to 5-20% of its original size – without degrading quality – and enabling it to be viewed in the Geoverse visualisation package in less than a second – no matter how large the data is, or if it’s coming from a hard drive, flash drive, local server, or the internet.
The four major benefits to converting data to the compressed Euclideon format are:
Current formats accepted : OBJ, LAS, LAZ, FLS, PTS, TXT and PLY.
-----

Euclideon offer a range of products, including its ready-made GeoVerse software, designed for users to instantly and effortlessly visualise 3D point cloud data in its geospatial context; its conversion software, which allows users to compress their point-cloud data down to 5-20% of its original size for effortless storage, streaming and use in GeoVerse; and a Software Development Kit for OEMs to integrate Euclideon’s revolutionary Unlimited Detail 3D visualisation technology into their own products.
Additionally, Euclideon can create bespoke agile solutions for both OEMs and direct users, to ensure the very best utilisation and integration of Unlimited Detail technology into their current systems.
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________   
The future of data is 3D, and with laser scanners, LiDAR, and photogrammetry technologies becoming more and more popular, the demand for ways to manage, store, and visualise the generated datasets is rapidly growing.

Users are crying out for a way to handle and gain added value from these vast datasets, without having to invest in new computer hardware and infrastructure.
OEMs positioned at the tech forefront of spatial and surveying software are partnering with Euclideon to integrate the unparalleled, immersive, real-time 3D visualisation capabilities offered by Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail technology, directly into their software products.
Better yet, Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail visualisation capabilities are being integrated into spatial workflows, making, for instance, remote tagging, inspection, and management of assets possible – resulting in less field visits, and a significant reduction in the costs associated with them.

Don’t get left behind in this 3D revolution: become a Smart Partner today, and offer your users a taste of the future of 3D visualisation, before it becomes standard fare



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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Transfer your Revit and files from one cloud service to another - MyBackupBox.com

This looks like great way to deal with different companies all having different cloud storage providers.


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