Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler; Just What Can it Do?


Alot of us have heard of this new product coming out and may have seen some snapshots of it, but what does it really do? Where does it fit in? How can I take advantage of it?  Well, likes take a quick dive into this product, shall we?

First, let’s give a little background on it. It originated on the Autodesk Labs website and was called “Project Galileo”. Now that it has graduated from Autodesk Labs, it has its new name, Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler.

My colleague here at Cadsoft, Rick Chappell, blogged breifly on this back in August at this link: http://www.cadsoft-consult.com/blogs/geo/.

Ok, with that out of the way, what is the “nutshell” description of Infrastructure Modeler? Well, I will give you my version: Infrastructure Modeler is a conceptual design and planning tool that can quickly show design intention with easily created objects such as roadways, buildings, water bodies, etc, that can produce rich visualizations, tally quantities, connect to GIS data, and much more. So there it is, my description of what Infrastructure Modeler can do in a nutshell.

Now let’s go into specific example of it’s functionality. In these examples, I will describe the situation and the resolution without going into specific technical details. In the first example, I have a situation where a proposed roadway project needs to be visualized for a meeting. In Infrastructure Modeler, I can bring in 3D surfaces and raster images for the existing topography. If the proposed roadway is intended to go through a mountainous area, I can export out corridor data from Civil 3D and plop it into Infrastructure Modeler. Why is this useful? First, if I already have it, I don’t have to recreate it, even though it is very easy to do so in Infrastructure Modeler. Second, and this is the really cool part for us technology geeks, the proposed roadway will automatically cut through the mountains and the road elevations can be easily adjusted with grip editing! Cool stuff! In addition to that, there is an extensive library with various road types and materials that can be selected to make the model even more realistic. See the picture below for how the roadway object reacts with a hilly area.

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Take all of this, add the ability to add realistic trees, vehicles, etc, throw in the ability to also bring in realistic GIS data, much like how FDO in Map and Civil 3D work, and you have an extremely powerful software package. Oh yeah, did I also mention the ability to create fly-throughs as well?  Check out the picture below which shows the other side of the roadway. Notice the realistic trees and buildings? Not to mention the sky. Cool stuff.

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This blog was intended to just scratch the surface on this software, so my apologies to anyone who was looking for more technical content.

Civil Infrastructure software is my main professional interest. Civil 3D, Infraworks, and Recap are what I work with mostly. I have been with CADsoft Consulting for over 10 years now. I got my start using Softdesk and AutoCAD R12 in DOS. My wife and I have four children and I am a die hard Red Sox fan.