I know there is a FDO component that can be used to interface with Smallworld 3 but does this support Smallworld 4? If it does not, is there a plan for Autodesk to support Smallworld 4? Thanks.
Yes, the Smallworld FDO provider API to Smallworld is called SWConnector, and it fully supports Smallworld 4. Please get in touch with us here at SBS if you need further details.
Thanks, Dennis. One of my clients is interested in replacing its existing design tools with Autodesk Utility Design but we wonder if Autodesk Utility Design 2012 version supports Smallworld 4. We need a formal confirmation on this in order to recommend AUD 2012 to the client. Can you share with me more information about this? Thanks.
We are planning the FDO 2012 upgrade for availability in Q1 2012. If we have a specific customer requirement we will accelerate development. This is not a major enhancement to our current FDO interface.
If your customer is using Smallworld 4.x already then have they looked into using Design Manager's Design Layout Tools (DLTs) which exponentially increase the productivity of designers and planners when drafting new assets in Smallworld. Let me know if you still need more info.
Although DM has some nice enhancements, it is still a staking tool, and not a design tool. The clients I've worked with that are integrating Map3D and AUD to Smallworld often have other business drivers beyond the respective product features. A major factor to consider on selecting which tool to use include
- The number of skilled AutoCAD users is huge so the amount of user training is much less;it is easier to bring in new designers - reducing training costs
- As AUD is based on AutoCAD the FDO/AUD solution supports interacting with 3rd party designers - which can help with cost reduction and resource leveling
- Quite a few organizations still redraw their CAD designs into Smallworld for the above reasons. An integrated solution can offer significant productivity savings
- AUD has integrated engineering features that electric utilities should consider
Yes I suppose if an organization wants to double the effort by designing in AutoCAD and then draft those designs in Smallworld then your arguments make sense. Or you can suck up the training costs to have them design/draft/cost in the GIS a single time using Design Manager and the DLTs.
Hi Rob, this is where the FDO architecture is really powerful as it allows direct, two-way interoperabililty between Smallworld and the Autodesk products that support the FDO protocol. This acts similar to the Smallworld SOM (in reverse) allowing direct, or cached editing against the Smallworld VMDS database. A lot of effort has gone into ensuring data integrity is maintained between the two systems while continuing to leverage the strength of Smallworld's established data management capabilities.
We see lots of organizations that do as you describe: creating designs in CAD tools and then having to redraw them in their GIS. We've done a number of business cases in this area and the savings are very significant, with quick payback when you can streamline processes with this type of integration.