Vol. XII, No. 3
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Winter, 2000

A Gift and a Challenge from Bentley Systems

Bentley Systems, Inc., the company that produces the CAD program, Microstation®, has granted two copies of Microstation to CSA for use and evaluation. One copy is for the Macintosh and the second will run under Microsoft Windows NT®. CSA is most grateful for the grant.

The grant arose from CSA Director Harrison Eiteljorg, II's recent visit to the Bentley Systems offices, which are located in a Philadelphia suburb. He was able to meet with Bentley personnel and to discuss some of the unique needs of the scholar attempting to use CAD for documentation. At that meeting, a database-style approach to segmenting a Microstation model was suggested as an alternative to the layer-naming approach used with AutoCAD. (Layers cannot be used in Microstation for this purpose, but it may be possible to use database connections to provide the same functionality; Mr. Eiteljorg will experiment with that approach and report on the results.)

Mr. Eiteljorg will use Microstation in Athens while working on the Propylaea to try to compare its features to those of AutoCAD and to see how it might compare in such a setting. At the same time, Mr. Eiteljorg will be trying to see if a model can be effectively segmented with Microstation's database linkage processes, as noted above.

While discussing the Microstation software and various CAD issues at the Bentley office, the conversation turned to the future of CAD and Geographic Information Systems software. Mr. Eiteljorg had been predicting for some years that CAD and GIS programs would merge, but he had begun to wonder whether that prediction would ever come true, especially since little movement toward a common CAD/GIS platform has been in evidence. The Bentley experts - both Bill Weber, Jr., who works directly on CAD applications, and Joel Orr, who has been a CAD consultant to Bentley and others and has many years of experience with CAD - indicated that the movement toward a CAD/GIS combination has already begun. They have seen that movement in the form of GIS users demanding three-dimensional geographic entities. One can only hope that this merging of the two software types happens quickly so that those who need CAD or GIS will be able to learn a single program and put it to use on both mapping and three-dimensional modeling.

CSA wishes again to express its gratitude to Bentley Systems for the grant of this software - and for the opportunity to discuss CAD and its future with Bentley's experts.

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