Autodesk Updates InfraWorks and Civil 3D for 2018
Kyle Maxey posted on April 21, 2017 | 5605 views
InfraWorks 2018 makes building bridges easier with tools that are at your fingertips.

InfraWorks 2018 makes building bridges easier with tools that are at your fingertips.

Autodesk has announced the arrival of the latest updates for its building information modeling and infrastructure design tools InfraWorks and AutoCAD Civil 3D. In this major release, Autodesk has made significant upgrades to both software packages, making it much easier to build vivid overviews of building projects, create accurate project cost analysis, make roadway design easier and more.

What’s New in InfraWorks 2018

This year’s edition of InfraWorks continues to expand the software’s modeling capabilities and upgrades the user’s experience with the product. The first major improvement to the package gives designers greater control over bridge construction. Now users can manage Inventor-based bridge components directly from the style palette. This improvement makes it easier to work with parametric components like decks, piers and girders by putting essential bridge components right at the designer’s fingertips.

Material quantities have also come under Autodesk’s scrutiny, and now designers can quantify a greater number of aspects of materials used in the modeling of roadways, bridges and drainage systems. Once material quantities are calculated by InfraWorks, these numbers can be exported to a CSV file, where they can be used in design reviews, material reporting and material cost estimation.

Simplified trees in InfraWorks can enhance the package’s performance.

Simplified trees in InfraWorks can enhance the package’s performance.

Turning to usability, InfraWorks is now packaged with a new “gizmo” that makes it easier to edit roadside grading. Grading zone modification has also been made faster and more responsive, and annotations attached to model features like roads, parcels, easements and right of ways will also see a performance boost. In addition, performance has also been improved for some measurement tools. While those enhancements will certainly be welcomed by users, maybe the most consequential user experience boost is the option to swap realistic trees for “simplified trees.” With these less graphically intense trees, the load on a workstation’s hardware can be lessened, and scene regeneration, panning and zooming will be smoother.

Last among the InfraWorks’ 2018 highlights is new access to Autocase for Sites. Autocase for Sites makes it possible to conduct triple bottom line (TBL) cost-benefit analysis for stormwater projects by giving users tools to evaluate 25 common design features. According to Autodesk, analysis of these design elements allows users to “quantify and monetize the reduction in flooding, avoided gray infrastructure, water and air quality improvement, recreation improvement, reduced carbon emissions and the property value benefits of green infrastructure.” With this type of analysis, civil engineers can optimize the financial, social and environmental costs of a project, which can, in turn, be used to make a compelling case why one design is preferable to another.

Oh, and Autodesk made one other major change: It lopped the “360” off of the InfraWorks name. 

What’s New in AutoCAD Civil 3D 

The new InfraWorks ribbon in AutoCAD Civil 3D.
The new InfraWorks ribbon in AutoCAD Civil 3D.

To kick off AutoCAD Civil 3D’s 2018 release, a new InfraWorks ribbon has been added to the tool. From this ribbon, InfraWorks-specific commands can be employed and InfraWorks itself can be fired up from within the Civil 3D package.

Although improving the seamless function with InfraWorks is important, Civil 3D’s real value is delivered when it comes time to creating detailed models of an infrastructure project. To that end, new tools have been added to the software to automate once-tedious tasks. According to Autodesk, “In AutoCAD Civil 3D 2018, when you have corridor tangents intersect at a corner, or the corridor is created at a fixed width, the inner and outer corners of corridors are now cleaned up automatically.” This feature has also been extended to corridors that were created in earlier versions of Civil 3D, so even older projects can utilize the software’s most advanced tools.

Fixing corridors gets an automation enhancement in Civil 3D.

Fixing corridors gets an automation enhancement in Civil 3D.

Working with alignments has also been updated, and now dynamically linked alignments and profiles can transition “between two intersecting alignments and their profiles.” This tool makes it easier to build exit ramps, curb returns and merging and dividing roads as well as connect a proposed road with the infrastructure that’s already in place.

When it comes to creating drawings, one of the package’s most important functions, Civil 3D has been enriched with new drawing templates that make it possible to layout plan/plan and profile/profile sheets. To round out the major improvements, Civil 3D also has new drawing production tools that make it easier to create “plans-only,” “profiles-only” and “sections” document sets.

As a complete solution, InfraWorks and AutoCAD Civil 3D are improving by leaps and bounds, and the combination of the two packages represents an end-to-end design solution that resolves the scope of infrastructure projects. While AutoCAD Civil 3D has long been a workhorse package for civil engineers focused on detailed drawings for civil projects, the wider vision that InfraWorks can lend to a project is making it easier to assess the costs of a project and how it fits into the real world. In the end, that’s one of the most powerful things that CAD can offer a company, county or even country — namely, the ability to see the larger scope of a project while also being able to pinpoint exactly how a design will be executed within an easily understood framework.

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