You wrote "Only because the lobbies are holding them back"
Im sure your aware Autodesk is 4X the size of Bentley Systems. Being a public company, having money to burn (shareholders money) Bentley would be foolish to get into a bidding war.
Also to say "for the past 5 yrs"... this really questions the validity of the statement... WisDOT is attempting to mandate use of Civil3D for their projects simply because NO major infrstructure project has been completed to date using the software (civil3D)... Instead, consultants on these projects use Bentleys Civil solutions because they simply work... on time on schedule. Thats the picture today, remember the state the product (civil 3d) was in 5 yrs ago.
Mike, my biggest problem with Bentley is that it's nearly impossible to get a trial of the product. It makes it extremely hard to see if the Bentley products are worth even exploring. Even including a request in a support email didn't provide any real results in getting a trial. In the past I've you've provided me with a copy of Power Civil, but other then that it's been extremely frustrating getting a copy just to look at.
While not one of my biggest complaints I concur that there seems to be a disconnect with marketing and support. I have requested a demo of InRoads 2 or 3 times over the past year or so with no response whatsoever. Being a Bentley product user we should be able to evaluate our upgrade/crossgrade options.
In my experience, there are more and more DOTs that are allowing C3D stuff, at least to some extent. I work most with Colorado DOT, and more and more of the people I know over there are using C3D, vs. Bentley. As a Civil 3D extension provider (Sincpac-C3D), I also know that there's heavy use in Alaska and Tennessee, in addition to the states that have "officially" or "semi-officially" switched.
As a C3D tech for Edward-James Surveying, we work with NOBODY who uses Microstation, outside of some old CH2M-Hill or URS COS Airport projects (which were done several years back in In-Roads), some Colorado DOT projects (many of which are old, since more and more of CDOT seems to be using C3D), and the Army Corps. And even when we work with someone in Colorado DOT who is on Bentley, they seem to understand that we work in C3D, and make the necessary accommodations. The only ones who are strict about requiring Bentley are the Army Corp, who want their insane "asbuilt drawings", which mean we need to modify the original DGN files (without converting them to DWG, since the round-trip conversion process is still *%$!), and want completely-revised "asbuilt" DGN files back, even though they typically give us the wrong DGN files to start with (usually giving us the ones from the start of the project, and not the ones from the 9th revision we usually end up with at the end), etc. etc. And even though relying on "Recorded Drawings" years later is stupid, as opposed to getting a current survey... (OK, I know, I'm starting to rant....)
The main point is that almost everyone we work with is either on C3D, or OK with C3D, or on LDD and wishing they could get over the C3D learning curve. The Army Corps is still behind times, and hasn't yet figured out that they don't need to require a .DGN-format "As-Built", but they'll probably learn eventually. There are some on Carlson (or "that Carlson crap", as one of our clients called it, even though I don't think that term is really accurate), but that's about it. And there are a few who are way behind current technology, and using Autocad LT or Intellicad (plain) or R14 Softdesk or worse, but they've been going out of business pretty fast in recent months....
Could you provide me with a list of those states that had "Officially switched" (from Bentley Civil app to Civil 3D) as you mentioned in your post.
People reading this post also need to be aware that in many of the states mentioned in this post the version of Microstation or Civil app in use was 6 to 10 years old. Colorado DOT only recently switched to (or is in the process of) the current SS2 (Select Series 2) release.
That being said in an Autodesk environment how many file formats would that encompass (6-10 yrs) Does Autodesk support 10 yr old software?
In an environment where all things are equal (Take Michigan for example) the choice was take existing Caice (Autodesk) replace it with Civil 3D VS Bentleys Data Acquisition (Included with all Bentleys Civil Apps)... Now one would think this would be an easy decission since a large emphasis was placed on how well the app processed caice data... GEOPAK w/ Data Acquisition won out.
It seems Civil 3D competes well against 6-10 year old software, and it should because they look at the leader (Bentley)... Problem is the leader keeps innovating. Companies leading the way will continue with MicroStation and Bentley Civil...
So to sum it up to the guy that started the post... Yes it would benifit you (and all designers) to know both Autodesk and Bentley products
As others have mentioned. You certainly wouldn't be hurt by knowing both programs. However having 47 state DOTs and the Army Corp. running Micostation doesn't seem to make it a must-know piece of software. From what I've seen come out of consultants who do a lot of work for the State. As Mile mentioned, most are using older versions and are only turning out 2D drafting with them. I'm working with a consultant right now who did a project for us. When I asked to get the 3D design work they couldn't provide any in any format. I don't know any DOT's in this state, below the state level, that use Microstation exclusively.
While learning Microstation would be good for your resume and possibly open a few jobs for you. Unless you plan on concentrating on State level design. I don't see you being "left behind" by only knowing Civil 3D.
Let's put it this way. I don't know of a single college, community or university, that teaches Microstation. All of the technology and vocational schools within a 100 mile radius of where I live teach AutoCAD because that's what the businesses use. As I stated before, I have not met a single engineer within 100 miles that uses Microstation as their main design software.
To Mike, I never stated that there was one user in TN. I stated that the design firms that do work for the state have at least one license of Microstation just to check their work done in AutoCAD before they turn it over. None that I know of use Microstation for their actual design. Not saying there aren't any as TN is a very long state, but there are none in my region.
I find it interesting that no one posting to this thread is debating the simplicity of Microstation/Geopak to the complexity of C3D. Aside from the fact that Microstation products work well with less computing horsepower, don't require you to do a quicksave every 2 minutes to ensure not losing your work due to crashes, and is much quicker to draft with (show me something in Autocad that works as quickly as Microstation's Accudraw), our state governmental client puts far less effort into support of Autocad products then into Microstation (I'm talking state level Microstation support. The counties don't support Autocad at all, even though they require .dwg deliveries.)
Microstation will work well over a gigabit ethernet LAN. My experience proves to me that C3D does not. Granted, most of our Microstation work is 2d. Autocad gives just about anyone a free full-blown copy of their software for non-commercial purposes. Bentley will too; you have to pay for a commercial license first. It's called a home use license.
You can get remedial to semi-advanced training for vanilla Autocad for dirt cheap at many vocational-technical schools. You'll pay hundreds or even close to a thousand per day for Microstation training (around here, anyway).
For us, it's cheaper to deliver state work in Microstation. But if we do county work and they want .dwg, we do it. We have learned it is better not to try and translate .dgn to .dwg because it costs more in labor to get compliancy in the client's standards.
To sum up: after almost 4 years, the Florida DOT still has the Civil 3D in beta, although that should change this year. I just do what the client reqires, it all pays the same.