Bentley Announces Availability of New Open Modeling Software

Bentley has started making its “Open” portfolio available. What does it mean for architects and engineers?

Last year, Bentley launched its Open Modeling Environment, which was aimed at connecting workflows between different disciplines. In its Spring 2019 update report, the company announced that OpenBuildings Station Designer and OpenSite Designerare now available to the public, and detailed exactly how the two work. 

A site modeled in Bentley’s OpenSite Designer. (Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

A site modeled in Bentley’s OpenSite Designer. (Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

At Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure 2018 conference, Bentley CEO Greg Bentley announced that the company would be releasing its new “Open” portfolio. Essentially, the Open Modeling Environment would build off of Bentley’s old MicroStation CAD platform, linking applications for designing multiple different kinds of assets (like bridges, plants and railways) through a shared component library. The goal was to let people use the same design files across disciplines. 

“Because MicroStation technology underpins Open applications, users can produce multidiscipline deliverables and accomplish multidiscipline clash resolution from any Open application,” Chief Product Officer Bhupinder Singh said at the time.

OpenBuildings Station Designer was developed specifically for modeling rail and transit stations. True to the company’s “open” promise, it integrates with OpenRail for the tracks or railways, and OpenRoads for road design. For YII watchers, OpenBuildings Station Designer incorporates another familiar piece of software: LEGION, the pedestrian simulation software that Bentley announced it acquired last year. With machine-learning algorithms trained on videos of pedestrians traversing public spaces, LEGION lets designers model how crowds will move through their spaces while still in the design phase.

OpenSite Designer, on the other hand, is for civil site and land development use cases. To make it easier for users to perform geotechnical analyses, the platform will work with recent Bentley acquisitions Plaxis and SoilVision.

During the company’s spring update, CEO Greg Bentley said that the company’s aim in creating its Open portfolio is to combat what he calls “dark data”: building and site data that gets collected but not registered or used. Bentley also called the platform “our highest and best use of what we’ve been developing over time.”