Collaborate in InfraWorks

Collaboration is a crucial part of the design workflow when working on any civil and architectural site project. Collaboration between client, stakeholders, design teams, departments, and offices help keep companies updated with projects milestones, design status, and construction updates.

InfraWorks® has several methods of collaborating data such as exporting the 3D model as an .fbx file format, which in turn can be imported into other 3D modeling design software such as 3ds Max®, Navisworks®, or Revit®. You can also share some of your design data in InfraWorks by exporting to a .imx file format, which can be brought into AutoCAD® Civil 3D®. Because InfraWorks now uses BIM 360® Docs, the cloud model can be shared with other design teams within the BIM 360 Docs platform. Last but not least, InfraWorks model can be shared by using Shared Views.  In this article I will discuss how to use Shared Views for collaboration.

Shared Views

Shared Views is great collaboration tool that allows a designer within InfraWorks to share a visual presentation model to other design teams or clients that don’t have a BIM 360 account. With Shared Views, site models can easily be shared to help streamline the approval process during preliminary site design, analysis, and construction phase of a project.

The Shared View feature is located on the utility bar on the top left (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Once activated, the Shared View stack appears. Click the New Shared View button to create a new Shared View (Figure 2).

Figure 2

The Create a Shared View dialog box appears. In here you can assign a shared view name, the extents of the model, and bookmarks and properties to be shared. If the model is small, I would recommend selecting the Use Entire Model option. If you want to define the area of your model you would like to share, uncheck the Use Entire Model option. Then use the small pull-down next to the BBox to access the Rectangle or Polygon option (Figure 3).

Figure 3

After clicking the Share button, InfraWorks will spend a few seconds generating and uploading the Shared View. Once completed, the Create a Shared View dialog box appears (Figure 4). From here you can copy the hyperlink webpage to email to other design teams or clients, or you can open the Shared View through the View in Browser option.

Figure 4

When viewing the Shared View model through the browser, the model is displayed with the free Autodesk Viewer web application. You may notice that the model will not have the same rich, high-resolution visual display as the InfraWorks application.

Navigating in the model through Autodesk Viewer will also be somewhat different than InfraWorks and a bit sluggish. Orbiting can be controlled with your left mouse button. Panning can be controlled with your right mouse button. In addition, zooming controlled could be reversed compared to what you may have set in InfraWorks. The navigation controls can be changed by clicking the Settings icon in the upper left-hand corner of the display screen (Figure 5).

Figure 5

The Autodesk Viewer

The Autodesk Viewer is a free viewer that allows users to view Shared Views models and take advantage of a few measurement, visualization, and collaboration features. Within the Autodesk Viewer, the user can view different proposals, First Person views, and section views. In addition, collaboration features such as markup and comments can also be used to make design changes instantly. The shared view is available online for 30 days, but can always be extended

To improve performance and navigation, I highly recommend going into the Settings, Performance tab and turning on the Smooth navigation option (Figure 6).  Then go into the Appearance tab and turn off all visual options (Figure 7).

Figure 6

Figure 7

To take advantage of the comment’s features, users would need to sign in with the Autodesk Account. At the upper right-hand corners, users can also print or create a PDF of the model view. Screenshots of the current visual display can also be created (Figure 8), downloaded as .png file format.

Figure 8

The Autodesk Viewer also contains a Share feature (Figure 9), which allows the user to share the model with other users with a few control sharing options such as Explode Enabled, Section Enabled, Model Browser Enabled, and Measure Enabled. The shared option feature will create a new browser hyperlink that can be copied and shared out.

Figure 9

To control the visual display of objects such as roads, trees, coverage areas, water areas, and builds, the user will need to access the Model Browser feature (Figure 10).

Figure 10

The Autodesk Viewer provides one very cool and unique tool that allows the user to view the model in First Person. When activating the First Person feature, you will get a new webpage popup that provides all the navigation controls for First Person view (Figure 11). I think this is a great idea by Autodesk.

Figure 11

Click the “Ok,Got It” button to enter First Person view. Autodesk Viewer will then slowly zoom into your model or you can simply double left-click to teleport to the desired location. I will say that navigating around in First Person is somewhat difficult. It will take some take to get accustomed to the navigation controls. If you get lost or need to just start over, click the Home button on the utility icons at the bottom. I found myself having to do this a few times.

Back in InfraWorks, if you ever need to reshare a Shared View or need to extend the shared date, just click the Shared View icon then within the Shared View stack, click the small three dot icon. This will provide you access to Copy Link, View in Browser, Extend and Delete and Show Resolved options (Figure 12).

Figure 12

In conclusion, InfraWorks Shared View provides powerful and user-friendly collaboration tools that allow designers to share their 3D models with other designers or clients quickly and easily.

Tony Carcamo is President of Civil CAD Learning Solutions in Dallas, Texas. He has 21 years of experience in the civil engineering field performing different task from surveying, platting to full site, utility and drainage design. In addition, he has 10 years of CAD Management experience with several engineering firms. Tony is also a blogger, on most Autodesk committees and council groups, president of the DFW BIM Infrastructure User Group, certified professional in AutoCAD Civil 3D and InfraWorks 360, and an Autodesk Expert Elite member.

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