Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Earth Connector for Revit is in Beta

The sequel (sort of) to our Earth Connector for AutoCAD is available for beta-testing (if you're interested, drop a line to

It works with Revit 8.1 or 9.0, and it takes your Revit design and creates a Google Earth KMZ file which can be sent/shared with others.

What's exciting about this release, for Revit users, is that the KMZ model retains a nice structure, organized by:

  • Revit Category (such as floors, roofs, walls)
  • Revit Element (so individual walls, doors, roofs and floors can be toggled on and off)
  • Specific Geometry

The user has the option of specifying whether to include all Revit parameter BIM data attached to each Revit Element.

And as compared to the AutoCAD version, in the Revit version it will not be necessary to "prepare" the model - everything will come over as-is.

For you Revit users that like to collaborate or just communicate with owners, contractors and others - Earth Connector Revit will be a compelling way to do it!

Want to see a sample? If you have Google Earth, look here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Zip files for Office 12, DWF

I was reading recently about the new Office 12 XML format (Office Open XML)... And it struck me how close it was to the approach that Autodesk took with DWF...

It's a Zip file, with content and folders, as well as XML to describe the meta-data.

In the case of DWF, that's property data, relationship data, etc.

In the case of DOCX (for MS Word 2007), it's meta data like the core Author/Summary/etc properties, but also information about the sections, styles, etc.

1. I think that this is a great idea of all companies - who publish structured data.
2. I wonder about who thought of this first? I seem to recall SmarTeam's iXF standard had some of this approach as well...
3. How do you get access to this data? There are different approaches...
A. Use a ZLIB library to decompress and find the files, then use Xml libraries to understand them.
B. In the DWF world, there's the DWF Toolkit (free), however I believe it's still C++ only, which puts an obstacle in front of us mere mortals (I could do it, but since C# has come out I've done so little C++ that it's withered on the proverbial vine... plus I'm in management now ;) ).
C. Most interesting, Microsoft is including a new namespace "System.Packaging" in WinFX, which will provide transparent mechanisms for reading "packaged" data such as this... Which raises the question of whether DWF will be readable based on this approach... It doesn't seem likely somehow, because the structures are not exactly the same, and System.Packaging seems very much tied to the structure that MS is using in OfficeXML... But here's hoping...

Links of Interest:
Inside a DWF:
The Office XML Format:
Brian Jones, MS Product Manager, on Office XML: