The Open Design Alliance (ODA), held its annual DevCon event in Milan, Italy this month. It was full of technology demos and new ODA technologies. Everyone I spoke to was impressed by how much the event has grown since last year, doubling its attendance! Bricsys, as a founding member of the ODA was of course, there to take part in all the action. Other ODA members at the conference included; Microsoft and buildingSMART International.

For me, one of the most striking aspects of the ODA conference was the increased emphasis on AEC and the support of BIM workflows, more specifically the ability to access different files across software platforms and enable collaboration. The ODA has expanded its focus on DWG interoperability to other formats with the BIM SDKS for Revit, IFC, and Navisworks files. The ODA also announced an alliance with BuildingSMART international, showing the ODA’s increased focus on BIM standards implementation. – Tiemen Strobbe, BIM Product Owner at Bricsys

IFC support

The conferences got off to an energetic start with the ODA announcing its new strategic partnership with BuildingSMART International (bSI). They will work together to improve on open standards in the BIM industry. Jeffrey Wahlett explained the synergy between their missions, while Sergey Vishnevetsky, director of ODA development, presented a technical review that explained the ODA solution for IFC development: the ODA’s new SDK project: a software development kit (SDK) for reading and writing (BIM), available in the IFC format.

Microsoft Partnership

Then followed the announcement of the new Open Cloud technology from the OAD. The ODA is launching a CAD and BIM Cloud-Based Development Toolkit for Visualization, Data Access, and Automation.

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Diego Tamburini and Ercenk Keresteci, Microsoft present Azure for hosting Open Cloud applications

Unified Workflows

Sergey Vishnevetsky explained how the ODA BIM Suite uses a single API to access CAD and BIM data from any format and offers access to BIM data from Autodesk® Revit® files, Autodesk® Navisworks®, IFC, .dwg and DGN files within a single application using a common API. This allows the use of unified visualization and editing markup for any BIM format in any desktop or web application.

New ODA Technology Stack

ODA has unveiled its new CAD Technology Stack: a professional-grade suite for developing CAD and BIM applications. This was demonstrated by impressive demonstrations of large BIM visualization, fast selection, and advanced features such as collision detection using the ODA’s Visualize SDK.

The Technology Stack is part of ODA’s standard membership and includes components for visualization, publishing, solid modeling, facet modeling, and Open Cloud development, but perhaps the most interesting part is the new Solid Modeler SDK, which is the industry’s first lightweight solid-state modeler designed for BIM applications.

More from .dwg

Believe it or not, there’s now even more to .dwg! Advancements include; new .dwg low-memory rendering (designed for iPad and other mobile devices), version control improvements and new solid-state modeling functionality included in the standard version of Drawings SDK without additional licensing requirements. John Matthews, CEO of InGraData, demonstrated this using the new built-in extrusion and rotation functionality in a professional application for processes and pipelines.

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ODA’s new Visualize SDK supports low-memory rendering of .dwg files, optimized for mobile devices

Point Clouds

ODA is also working on solutions that provide full access to RecAP .rcs files, as well as level-of-detail (LOD) support for large point clouds. Unstructured point cloud data can now be converted to .rcs structured data. This ensures full compatibility for Autodesk® ReCAP® point cloud files.

This was demonstrated using a + 25 GB point cloud containing more than 1 GB of points. This was loaded and rendered in just 4 seconds!

The members

Also on stage were the ODA members. Who demonstrated how they applied ODA technology in their solutions.

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Tiemen on stage presenting BricsCAD BIM.

Our very own Tiemen Strobbe demonstrated how Bricsys, as a founding member of the ODA, uses ODA technologies in its products to offer a unique workflow that starts in 3D and stays in 3D throughout the design and documentation process, delighting the audience with tools such as Propogate, Parametrize and BIMify.

If we didn’t have access to the Drawings SDK, we would need a huge team dedicated just to .dwg interoperability. That wouldn’t be profitable for us. Our ODA membership is a win-win for all concerned.

Is Open Cloud the future?

To conclude the Open Design Alliance DevCon, ODA President Neil Peterson presented his vision of the future: CAD and BIM cloud technologies based on ODA open source solutions. He expressed what he thought “today’s growing collection of closed, proprietary cloud solutions are a double-edged sword, providing benefits to users but with significant risks and drawbacks”. He then explained how ODA works to combat this by developing his new Open Cloud technology.