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Spring FLUG!

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FLUG offers you the opportunity to make connections with industry peers, exhibitors, and even your own colleagues from other offices to solve a problem you recently encountered?

Engage in hands-on, face-to-face instruction with Industry experts who have faced similar challenges to yours.

  • Explore the many new product capabilities you aren’t using yet to determine how you can take advantage of them
  • Glean best practices and insider tips and tricks to create new efficiencies in your workflows
  • Collaborate with developers to extend the use of your software

For over 25 years, FLUG one of the countries longest running and most successful Users’ Conference and Training Events, offers you the tools to best leverage your software to better meet your strategic objectives, make the most of your resources, and stay ahead of your competition.

Check out our Agenda:

Visit our website, www.flugsite.com. Under the Main Menu portion of the webpage you will find a link to for the current Spring Agenda. A few highlights include….

  • Tips and Tricks in MicroStation V8i
  • DWG Interoperability with MicroStation V8i
  • Point Clouds
  • AECOsim Building Designer
  • Bentley Navigator
  • Corridor Modeling
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Civil 3D Plans Production
  • GEOPAK Terrain

How do I register to attend FLUG?

That is easy, visit our website, www.flugsite.com. Under the Main Menu portion of the webpage you will find a link to both the current Spring Agenda and to Registration. Click the Registration link and follow the guided registration process.

Hotel Information:
Radisson Resort at the Port
8701 Astronaut Blvd.
Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 Phone: (321) 784-0000 Visit us at http://www.radisson.com/capecanaveralfl The Radisson is using a new online registration system to reserve your discount FLUG rooms. For the FLUG Government Rate (ID required at check in) please use the following link, http://www.radisson.com/fluggovernment. For the FLUG Non Government Rate please use the following link, http://www.radisson.com/flugnongovernment.

Change the Install Folder

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Yes, it is possible to change the product folder for PhotogeoDWG. You have to do this after you run the Exchange Apps Store msi package, but it’s really easy.

Install PhotogeoDWG

As you can see there isn’t a way to change the install folder before you click “Install Now”. But, you can change the location after install. If you are using PhotogeoDWG with AutoCAD2013 the plugin will autoload if it resides in the Roaming\Autodesk folder, the Program Files\Autodesk folder, or the ProgramData\Autodesk folder. The msi package will install the to the Roaming\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle folder. But, if you want all users to be able to have access to this plugin without having to install it a bunch of times, then just move the Roaming\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle to Program Files\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle. That’s all you have to do. AutoCAD will take care of the rest.

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

PhotogeoDWG on Windows XP

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

I just finished up some testing running PhotogeoDWG in AutoCAD 2013 on Windows XP (SP3) and the results are good. The Autodesk Exchange Apps Store installer copies the Photogeo bundle into %appdata%, as it does in Windows 7. But in XP, the AppData location is in the Documents and Settings Application Data folder of the current user, and not in the user’s roaming folder.

AppData folder on XP

Autoloader worked great in AutoCAD 2013 and I was able to run all PhotogeoDWG features as expected. So, if you’re holding off on running tools available via Exchange apps because your expecting conflicts with Windows, there’s actually no need to wait.

PhotogeoDWG on XP

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

PhotoGeoDWG on Exchange Apps!

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Photogeo Logo

Just a quick note to announce that PhotoGeoDWG is now available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps Store. Leave a comment, tell us how to make it better. PhotoGeo will run in AutoCAD 2012/2013 and Civil3D 2012/2013. And, did I mention it’s free? Our CADmanage.com help page has a link to the PhotoGeoDWGhelp.pdf (right click on the link to download the file).

Geocoded Photos – AU APPHACK – PhotoGeo – 2nd Place!

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

I started writing this post on our way to Vegas, but I didn’t get it finished. So, now we are here. The contest has concluded, and yes we took second place. Far exceeding expectations I am very happy that we were able to identify a strong use case, design, develop and test the solution in less than a couple of weeks. Here’s the story.

At the beginning of November Seth and I received an invite to participate in the AU APPHACK, but the deadline was just two weeks away. I thought about it and decided, ok, let’s enter. Seth thought I was joking. We don’t have time for this, right? But, we had a quick brainstorming session that generated some ideas, and the app that kept bubbling to the top was based on an old manual process Seth remembered from years ago linking existing condition photos to graphic camera markers. The technology at the time allowed him to connect hyperlinks or file location tags directly on a block – a little time-consuming.

The APPHACK contest theme was “Connecting AutoCAD to the cloud”. So, what type of cloud applications might be useful for existing condition photos? What if we could store the files on the web and view them in AutoCAD? Ok. That’s a start. Maybe we could use Autodesk 360.

The thing that’s sealed the deal however, was an episode of Myth Busters, where they located a car using a geocoded photo. What’s a geocoded photo? When you take a photo using a digital camera, like the one in your phone, you have the option to save the GPS coordinates. The camera saves this information along with other data in the JPG file. Cool right? That means we should be able to take a listing of files, extract the coordinates, and automatically place camera markers in the file at the geographically correct location – and we can also automate attaching a hyperlink to the file.

PhotoGeo Elements

PhotoGeo for AutoCAD connects to Autodesk 360 and google maps! It reads the geocode tags on your photos, and automates placement of hyperlinked camera markers. PhotoGeo will also read photos you saved on your network. We put the controls onto a palette for convenient access, and provided several tools for navigation and album management.

PhotoGeo UI

While our use cases focused on capturing existing conditions, I believe you can find many applications for the app – utilities, feature mapping, maintenance. The thing both Seth and I remember doing as design engineers is we would go out to a project site, take a bunch of photos and by the time we got back to the office and had time to sort through them, there would always be photos that you couldn’t quite remember where or even why you took them. This app can help. It will be available in the Autodesk exchange apps store sometime in December 2012. It will be free. Get it, try it out and let us know what you think.

Here’s the video we submitted for the APPHACK.

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

CAD Management – Resource Style

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Seth and I have been a somewhat focused on resources lately, but for good reason. Things like layers, blocks, and styles (lines, dimensions, tables) are assets that are created and recreated from project to project and it seems like this is a bit of extra work.

Of course we can use templates and standards, but there always seems to be a page setup or table style missing – one that we created for a project we were working on just last week. And boy wouldn’t it be great if I could get all of those things with a quick click.

The import of many of these assets is pretty straight forward code wise, so I’m going to “give away the store” (or just a small portion of the store) and show you how you can do this yourself. I’ll then introduce you to our next Exchange App that we expect will be ready by the end of November.

In this example I’m going to show you how to get text styles from an external DWT, DWS, or DWG file (the sourceDb) and bring these into the current DWG (the destDb). We will use VB.Net. Here’s the code listing. Comments embedded.

'use the following: 
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime 
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.ApplicationServices 
Imports CADAPP = Autodesk.AutoCAD.ApplicationServices.Application 
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices 
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.EditorInput 

'string library_path => the file spec of the source dwt, dws, or dwg file 
'DuplicateRecordCloning clg => Replace or Ignore - how to handle text styles with the same name 
Private Sub cmr_getTextStyles(ByVal library_path As String, ByVal clg As DuplicateRecordCloning)
'connect to current database
Dim dm As DocumentCollection = CADAPP.DocumentManager
Dim doc As Document = dm.MdiActiveDocument
Dim ed As Editor = dm.MdiActiveDocument.Editor
Dim destDb As Database = dm.MdiActiveDocument.Database
Dim sourceDb As Database = New Database(False, True)

Try
    Using dl As DocumentLock = doc.LockDocument()
    'connect to the external dwt, dws, or dwg
    sourceDb.ReadDwgFile(library_path, System.IO.FileShare.Read, True, "")

    'create a container for our text styles
    Dim textsToClone As ObjectIdCollection = New ObjectIdCollection()
    Dim tm As Autodesk.AutoCAD.DatabaseServices.TransactionManager = sourceDb.TransactionManager

    'start a transaction with the external drawing
    Using tr As Transaction = tm.StartTransaction()

        'get the text style ids
        Dim ldt As TextStyleTable = TryCast(tm.GetObject(sourceDb.TextStyleTableId, _
            OpenMode.ForRead, False), TextStyleTable)

        'save the ids in an object collection
        For Each txtID As ObjectId In ldt
            textsToClone.Add(txtID)
        Next

        ' Add text styles to the current drawing
        Dim mapping As IdMapping = New IdMapping()
        sourceDb.WblockCloneObjects(textsToClone, destDb.TextStyleTableId, mapping, clg, False)
        'commit the sourceDb transaction (even for read)
        tr.Commit()
    End Using
End Using
Catch ex As Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime.Exception
'
End Try
End Sub

You can use this same pattern for dimension styles, multi-leader styles, table styles, line types, and page sets. Layers, and blocks are similar but require some extra effort.

So, what about that next app? Seth and I have been working on a new app for Autodesk Exchange and expect to have it published shortly. So, if you don’t want to tackle importing resources yourself then you can download our version. DWG Resource Importer consolidates these operations into a convenient palette allowing you to quickly import resources from templates, standard files, and drawing files. Here’s what you can expect to see.

Select the resources to import – layers, blocks, line styles, dimension, and more…

Import the resources and if you want to refer back to the report later you can save it.

There’s no reason anyone on your team should have to recreate resources from project to project. Whether you develop your own import palette or use one like DWG Resource Importer your team will save production hours.

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

RevFiles, Cool App

by Seth Cohen, CADmanage.com

Last month, we talked about resources.  Well Mark and I were thinking about resources and one of the problems that a CAD Manager, or single user managing CAD, encounter is that the list of resource files can get pretty big. And, what if you have files with the same name, and you want to navigate to where the conflict is?  No easy task.  So, we had this great idea of an AutoCAD App that would review the resource files for you, and we called it Review Files (REVFILES for short)

We’re still in-process of getting it up on Autodesk Exchange, but here’s a little preview of it.  RevFiles has a palette interface.  First, to load it up, click the icon in the Plug-ins tab.

Review Files App

Review Files App

When you first load it up, it shows all the files and their folder locations of files being used by your current AutoCAD profile. Below is a breakdown of the Review Files palette.

Review Files Palette

Review Files Palette

Whats really cool about the app is that you can export the list to a .CSV file (Comma Separated Values), and double-click any of the folders or files to navigate to (really cool, and time-saving).

Look for the RevFiles app on Autodesk Exchange coming soon!

“Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”  …………G.I. Joe

Click Here to Get The best Training Ever

About Seth Cohen: Seth is Vice President of Training  at CAD Management Resources Inc., specializing in civil engineering and CAD applications including Civil 3D®, Map 3D, AutoCAD®, MicroStation®, and InRoads®. He has conducted many classes for CAD professionals ranging from commercial to  government organizations.  If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your training needs he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

Multiple Resources (AutoCAD)

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Seth’s last blog, Resources Resources…, was great! In particular this bit of information really caught my attention.

The Files tab lists the folders that AutoCAD will use to search for resource files (a.k.a. Support Paths), drivers, CUI files, tool palettes, and so on.  There are also user-defined settings such as the  dictionary file used for checking spelling.  Paths are searched in the order that they are listed in the Options dialog box, and if the same file exists in different folders, the first instance found is used.

Ok, so that got me thinking. How do I know if there is more than one file with the same name in my paths folders and is the file I want loaded in the right place? My first thought was to just look in each folder and see if there are duplicates. But, turns out there are a lot of files in these folders. I’m going to need a better way. I could write a vb script to look in each support folder and compare all of the files dumping the results to some output file, but I kind of want to be able to debug my profile folders when I’m in AutoCAD. To do that we will need a different approach.

I decided to build a plug-in. If you’re not familiar with .Net plugins for AutoCAD check out Autodesks “My First Plug-in” tutorials. Really well done. You don’t need the wizard, and you can find the AutoCAD references in the AutoCAD program files folder. There are a lot of on-line tutorials for VB.Net or C# – either programming language can be used to create an AutoCAD plugin. I’ll let you do your own googling to find what you need.

Here are some pointers for getting the support file information from AutoCAD. We will start by just figuring out what our support files are.

Your class will need to reference and Import the following:

Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Runtime
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.ApplicationServices
Imports Autodesk.AutoCAD.Interop

In your class you will need a new command to show the support paths.

<CommandMethod("SHOWSP")> _
Public Shared Sub ShowSupPaths()
    Dim acadApp As AcadApplication = Application.AcadApplication
    MsgBox(acadApp.Preferences.Files.SupportPath)
End Sub

Compile this to create a dll that you can netload (just like in the plug-in tutorials). After you netload you can use the command SHOWSP which will display a message box similar to this one.

It’s not very pretty and you can find the same information using the built in OP (options) command. So, what we really want is to get a list of file names from each folder and then compare them to one another to see if they show up more than once. What can we do? The first thing to notice is that the support paths are separated by a semi-colon. That gives us a way to “split” the string into an array of folders. We can then use System.IO to get directory info which we can use to list the file names. Something like this…

Dim sPaths() As String
sPaths = acadApp.Preferences.Files.SupportPath.Split(";")
For Each s As String In sPaths
    Dim di As DirectoryInfo = New DirectoryInfo(s + "\")
    For Each f As FileInfo In di.GetFiles()
        lstFiles.Items.Add(f.Name)
    Next
Next

In this example I have added the file names to a list box. You can loop through the list items to check for duplicates and output to another list box. I took it a step further and built a Palette. In the top panel I added a tree view so that I have a way to step though the folders and files. In the bottom panel I list the files that show up more than once.

I also added a double click feature to open a window and select the file in the folder it resides in so that I have a quick way to compare files. Finally, I decided to add an extension filter so that I can debug just cuix, or lsp files.

We’re looking into posting this on the Autodesk Exchange. So, if you don’t want to dig deeper and try to write it yourself I hope to have this submitted and available in the next few weeks.

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

Resources, Resources, Where are My Resources (AutoCAD)?

by Seth Cohen, CADmanage.com

When using CAD, you need to know what resources to use, and how CAD “finds” those resources.  CAD, is not like Word or Excel, and requires resource management at a much higher level.  So what are resources, and how do you find them.  Well, resources are items like blocks (cells), linetypes (linestyles), layers (levels), text styles, etc.  How do you find resources, well that’s a tough question to answer and depends on many variables such as the client or company your work for.  Ask your CAD manager or the client you are working for to get a good grasp as to the resources you will need to use.  In this article, let’s look at AutoCAD and how it finds resources to make them available to you.

In AutoCAD, you use an AutoCAD Profile to point to your resources and define settings.  To view/define the current AutoCAD profile, right-click in the drawing view and choose Options from the shortcut menu (or type OP in the command line).

Access the Options Dialog Box

Access the Options Dialog Box

To put it simply, the Options dialog box is the GUTS of AutoCAD.  it defines many settings such as the paths to resource files, and many, many display settings.  The tab that you will most be interested in to have AutoCAD point to your resources is the Files tab.  The Files tab lists the folders that AutoCAD will use to search for resource files (a.k.a. Support Paths), drivers, CUI files, tool palettes, and so on.  There are also user-defined settings such as the  dictionary file used for checking spelling.  Paths are searched in the order that they are listed in the Options dialog box, and if the same file exists in different folders, the first instance found is used.

In the image below, I am in an AutoCAD profile using the Ford Motor Company standards.

The Files Tab of the Options Dialog Box

The Files Tab of the Options Dialog Box

A quick little tip to having AutoCAD load the desired AutoCAD profile automatically is to use a command line parameter.  To do so, first, in AutoCAD, click the Export button on the Options dialog box, and save the .ARG file (AutoCAD Registry File) to a location on your server for other users to access.  Next, copy the default AutoCAD icon, and rename it to something that is related to the standards that you will be using.  Next, right-click on the icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.  In the Target field, at the end of all the paths defined in it, type /p <the path to the .ARG file>.  Note, the first time AutoCAD does this will be the only time it loads the profile file.  If you update the .ARG file on the server, it does not automatically update the AutoCAD profile.  You will need to physically delete it from the Options dialog box and reload it through the icon.

/p Command Line Parameter

/p Command Line Parameter

We will discuss other ways to access your resources in future posts, and talk more of the things you can set in the Options dialog box.

“Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”  …………G.I. Joe

Click Here to Get The best Training Ever

CadPilot – Menu Item Help Files

by Lorrie Mattor, CADmanage.com

Create help files for any command within CadPilot menus!

Toolbar menus are loaded from menu xml files as specified by your current configuration and appear in CadPilot toolbars.

 

 

 

 

If a Help File command is associated with the menu icon then the cursor will appear as a hand while floating over the menu icon.  When the icon is selected the Help file will open.  To execute the menu command simply slide your cursor over the command text until the cursor displays as an Arrow.

 

 

 

 

 

There may be times when a Help file is not associated with the Menu icon, in these cases the cursor will be displayed as an Arrow and the Menu command will be issued (even when selecting the icon).

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your command does not have a help file associated with it and you feel it would be helpful, contact your CadPilot Administrator (Cad Manager) to add it to the CadPilot menu.

Lorrie is a Technical Consultant for CADmanage.com specializing in CadPilot integration, system’s analysis, technical writing and data manipulation.