Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Pro Offers a Game-changing Integrated Environment
With the launch of InfraWorks early this year, Autodesk polished the collaborative visualization tool that started out in their Labs as Infrastructure Modeler, and added rules-based simulation and modeling to address specific infrastructure project workflows. InfraWorks is both a tool to integrate the siloed data of GIS, CAD, BIM, imagery and other enterprise and operations data, as well as the collaborative environment to come together on conceptual design, with simulation tools that help adjust project scope and parameters for optimum performance.
With today’s announcement of the InfraWorks 360 Pro, Autodesk has extended this visualization environment with the infinite computing power of the cloud, eliminating any constraints on the size of geography that can be modeled at engineering-scale detail. The cloud platform also adds greater portability of this data, allowing for access among all stakeholders, with roles for the project team, client, and even the public for viewing of plans in an immersive environment.
InfraWorks already has the capability to bring in layered views, and to stand up different iterations and designs in context to be presented as proposals. The tool offers the ability to parse a project to understand costs and constraints, to bring in simulations of traffic and other dynamic elements to show how the design impacts these elements in order to settle on an optimal configuration. The rules-based underpinnings mean that elements such as roads are connected to libraries and geometries based on speed and traffic flow, so that design is tied to performance.
The cloud offerings of InfraWorks 360 Pro extend to optimization services that involve submitting the model to a rules engine in the cloud to put it through a compute-intensive simulation and optimization engine. The current optimization offering involves vertical optimization of roadways, to minimize cut and fill (cost) and to maximize safety. You can see that such performance based services, that encapsulate engineering knowledge into rigorous analysis engines, could be applied to additional disciplines focused on optimal performance.
The ability to take InfraWorks to the field is another step forward to get away from paper sheets and plans. With the highly detailed models, and broader realistic visualizations for context, the model has the means to augment reality in a new way. Providing not only a discipline view, but a broader context of the whole that allows field managers to provide a new perspective on progress.
InfraWorks 360 Pro is being offered on a subscription basis, on a quarterly plan (approx. $1,200 and varies by country) with a set number of cloud credits tied to the use of optimization services. This makes it appealing for project work where customers buy what they need now for the project duration. This takes into account the reality of fluctuations in the marketplace, and makes it more accessible to smaller companies and for smaller projects.
This offering draws a line in the sand between GIS and what Autodesk can offer for large-scale data visualization. The integration across Autodesk products makes for a seamless transition of models from this large model environment down to the detailed drawings in AutoCAD Civil 3D or Revit BIM tools, with linking back and forth between the products. The data is handled through a GitHub environment to version and keep track of information.
This multi-scale modeling environment offers a new approach to project design that provides much more context of surroundings than in the past, and greater fluidity of models at multiple scales. The InfraWorks environment tiles and parses the information on screen for users to see what’s relevant to them, and through the computing capacity of the cloud, you can navigate through large models seamlessly through all levels of detail.
Autodesk sees InfraWorks as the foundation for the next-generation of project and city engineering, with this modeling environment pulling in buildings, rail systems, transportation networks, and underground infrastructure. By making the tool attractive for project-based work, and infinitely extending the visualization capability through the cloud, we are witnessing a whole new city modeling paradigm.
Here’s a pump-it-up video on the potential: