Thursday, 29 September 2011

BIM on an IPad - part 1

Recently a lot of fun production tools have come out for the Ipad. These tools all have some BIM related tools or functionality. In this post I will only look into Ipad tools. I don't have an android tablet at the moment. Feel free to send me one :) and I will test those as well.


Looking at the apps makes comparison a bit difficult because it becomes quiet obvious that they have different intended use. But it's fun anyway and it gives insight.


First of all let's start with a list of Ipad apps I would like to compare: 
So far I have found the following apps:
Archicad - BIMx = free
Autodesk - Design review = free
Autodesk - Autocad WS = free
Autodesk - Inventor IPM = free
Bentley - Navigator = free
IMSI/Design - Turboview X = €1,59


Spatial - Icad Is not included in the test because it costs €38,-


I will be comparing the following functionality
  1. Navigation 3D
  2. Navigation 2D
  3. Metadata
  4. Editing
  5. Markups
  6. File handling and types
  7. Performance
Next I will try to get the same model open in all the applications.

Navigation 3D

Archicad - BIMx 

It took me half a second to figure out how to navigate. Easy very nice to be able to walk as a 1st person. (arrow 1) Put your finger at the dot and move it around. the speed has 3 settings. When walking there is an additional option (arrow 2) to place a sphere.  One finger is for looking around with the camera. You may also double tab anywhere on the screen and the camera moves there. 

There is a fly mode too. Personally I would have called it gravity because in my experience that's what it does. Tuning gravity on or of.

It takes to fingers to zoom or pan. Zooming has the effect of moving the camera forward or backwards which means you walk very quickly to or away from what you see and you will avoid the collision detection. That is good because you do not need to find an open door. 

In the settings it will let you turn on a 2D map that tells you where you are. It's a clever map because it knows on which floor you are and will only show items within a certain range of that floorplan. (try it by walking up the stairs)

There are 4 shading types.

Autodesk - Design review
There is no steering wheel in design review and therefor no walk or fly mode. Panning and zooming works as expected. Orbiting works differently. It seems to use the model center point to orbit. Which is typically a feature of the steering wheel. Perhaps the steeringwheel will come in the next update? This means that BIMx and DR orbit opposite of each other.

Autodesk - Autocad WS
does not support 3D navigation


Autodesk - Inventor IPM
Panning and zooming works as expected. Orbiting is around the center of the model. 

Bentley - Navigator
Will be added later as soon as I have a 3D file to try.

IMSI/Design - Turboview X
Navigation works pretty much the same as Design review. Turboview X only support wireframe. It's bigger and brother does support other shading techniques.

Navigation 2D

Archicad - BIMx
I don't think the tool was designed to show 2D data. 

Autodesk - Design review
multisheets dwf are supported. This means 3D and 2D dwf views can be shown. See the image and there you see several views within the dwf.
The 2d views are clear and crisp. Navigation works as expected. 

Bentley - Navigator
the included demo file might be a bad example but it very much gives me the impression that the vector drawing has been converted to a pixel format. I think i detect the very typical jpg compression artifacts. This means that the max zoom is a lot less then Design review. Also when zooming or panning the 'drawings' keeps moving a bit when your fingers leave the screen. I do not experience that as nice. 

IMSI/Design - Turboview X
Navigation works pretty much the same as Design review. when zooming it has to regenerate once. It's maximum zoom capabilities is greater than. Design review. These are definitively still vectors. Nice feature is single finger double tab for zoom extends. 



Autodesk - Inventor IPM
I don't think the tool was designed to show 2D data either.

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