Windows 10 on my Mac running Revit 2016

I have been using Windows 10 for four months now. I have installed it on my five year old Macbook Pro and I must say it is working superbly. There has been some minor bugs, but that has not been related to Revit 2016. Memento has been a little unstable, but since the program is in beta mode I am not sure I should blame the operating system.

My experience with the Trimble DPI-8

Remember that this is written by an architect. An architect that is not interested in reading technical manuals, or do to many preparations. So this is not a review. It is more a list of thoughts:)

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Trimble DPI-8

I have tested the Trimble DPI-8 scanner for 24 hours now, and it is time to make a summary of my experience. But first of all, what kind of scanner is the DPI-8? The scanner is an handheld scanner that weight about a kilo so it is just light enough to be held with one hand. The other hand can easily operate the touchscreen when you are configuring the scan. The touchscreen is in fact a pad that runs on Android, and on the back of the pad there is attached to a scanner and a camera. They are connected to the pad with an micro USB cable. It seems fairly well built, but at the same time it is just basic components that is connected together. Why not? And why should you be interested in this scanner?

As an architect, I sometimes get comments from the entrepreneurs that I should be more on the construction site to see how it is actually being built. And there is nothing more I want to do, but the construction time is so cramped and I have to prioritize my time very carefully. In addition when I ask for surveys for my detaildrawings, they do not manage to survey them in time before my deadline. Yes we are talking about the importance of collaborating together in a multidisciplinary BIM model, with the benefits of clash detection etc. But there is little talk about how to gather information during construction time.

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Sometimes you are a bit lost…

Here is where we can improve by using new techniques of building data capture, with more efficient collaboration processes. That is why I see a lot of potential in the DPI-8. It is not perfect, and in many ways it feels like the first generation of this type of scanner, but it gives an great insight in how the future of handheld/robot scanning should be. And I am looking forward seeing all the technology that is pushing in this direction, with Google tango and Intel pushing each other.

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…but usually you are on track

Okay. The DPI-8 is intuitive. The software is an app and it is pretty straight forward. I did not miss any functionality during my limited test period and the software seemed rather stable. Regarding the scanning, there was a steep learning curve but not in a frustrating way. The information that is displayed on the screen during the scan is constantly giving you feedback how you should proceed scanning, and what area you have scanned so far. If it is displays as green you have a good scan of that area, and if it is yellow you have a medium good scan.  And the best part is actually that you can study your scan immediately after the scan is done on the pad. This way, you can see if you have a successful scan before you leave the construction site.

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Point cloud in Recap based on four DPI-8 scans

The software offers different export formats and during my test period, I ended up exporting to PTS and imported this to Recap. I tried to import it directly to Revit, but while indexing the point cloud, it failed halfway. Other remarks in a randomly order:

  • scanning and exporting drains the battery. Make sure it is fully charged
  • since the memory is (too) small during scanning, you have to «divide» your scans. The is an option called «append» that let you use the same origo as the previous scan. It works surprisingly well.
  • It is a little bit confusing the difference between «scene», «session» and «export»
  • this scanner do not work in strong daylight
  • go slooowly. Or else you will «loose track»
  • when transferring files from the pad, to the PC be careful! I experienced multiple severe windows crashes
  • when scanning mirrors, you can get some funny results
  • read more about the accuracy of the scanner on Trimble webpage. I have not compared it to my results yet.

Yes I have used the scanner only one long day and night… But finally I could play with a gadget that actually made sense. I had great fun testing the scanners limits and I am wondering if this scanner should be a standard equipment for an architect firm? Maybe for architect firms that do a lot of refurbishment? The future is exciting and I am looking forward seeing the construction site being scanned live and continuously with robots or fixed scanners in every room.

They are becoming cheap and I want one!

PS! Special thanks to Geomatikk Survey who let me test the DPI-8, and to Margarida Jerónimo Barbosa who gave me valuable feedback on my post

Update 05.07.2015: The scanner is owned by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences for research purpose but have been sponsored by Geomatikk Survey

No Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit outside of North America

I am going to work on a project together with an architect that is located far away from where I am located, so I have been trying to find a good solution how to work together on the same Revit model without too much hassel.

I hoped that I could avoid setting up a server, and wanted therefor to try use the A360 service. I soon understood that I needed the Autodesk A360 Collaboration for Revit subscription, but when I tried to buy it I was forwarded to the European Autodesk site. Here I did not have an option for subscribing this service.

I talked to the Autodesk staff and understood that it was only available in North America and he did not know when it was going to be released outside North America.

Leaving the DARK

I have been working at Dark Architects since 2006, but I felt it now was time to experience other types of projects and opportunities. I therefore decided  to start my own office called Hel Ved Arkitektur AS.

«Hel Ved» litterally means solid wood, but it is also an expression that has a deeper understanding. In Norway we use the expression for describing something, or someone, that is «rock solid» and «genuine».
These values are values I wish my company will be associated with, both regarding architecture and management.

I notice that I encounters different challenges now that I am a small company regarding technology and digital design compared to my previous workplace. I am looking forward to post these experience on this blog.

My latest lecture in Stockholm

I recently spoke at the «Cad-Q days» conference in Stockholm. I shared my vision of how digital tools are changing the daily work of an architect. I see a great potential to make great architecture by embracing new tools, and by understanding the borders between different disciplines are blurring out.

You can download my lecture here

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From «Personal Computer» to «Project Computer»

We have recently starting to optimize how we are managing the pc’s at the office. Previously it was like everybody had his own stationary computer, and when somebody changed the project they were working on, they simply took the PC with him.

Now we are trying, to a certain point, to think of what type of PC’s do the projects need. And therefore the PC is not a Personal Computer, but a Project Computer.

The way we tried to do it, was to categorize the project in three; red, yellow, green. The projects that are «red», don’t have a big need for much PC power. Yellow, is these general project with not much ifc, imports, medium scale. Green, yeah they need some horsepower.

In the same way we have categorized every PC in the office; red, yellow, green. From bad to good. This has of course be updated as the time goes and new needs are to be filled.

So, a green project needs a green PC. And yes, a yellow project needs at least a yellow PC, and a red project need at least a red computer.

Complicated? Not really. Since we only are 50 employees at our office, and a lot of similar PC, it is doable. It is actually a good way to communicate to your bosses when you are saying that now we really need to by new PC’s.

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What hardware for Revit?

We have understood that the most important things for Revit, regarding hardware…, is a great graphic cards (as the ones for gaming), fast HD, a lot of RAM.

Any opinions?

The PC we are buying at the moment for Revit is:

GTX 780
Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl
Corsair TX 650M, 650W PSU
Intel Core i7-4770K
Corsair H100i Hydro Series CPU Kjøler
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z87, Socket-1150
Crucial DDR3 Ballistix Tactical 32GB
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB PhysX CUDA
Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB BK OEM
Seagate Barracuda® 1TB
ASUS DVD Writer, DRW-24F1ST
Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro