In my previous post Visualization of information is a powerful thing I mentioned a few ways I have been working with clients to solve some of their challenges using interactive visualizations. The one that received some interest was the example of creating a visualization to see which items in a ShipConstructor project have changed over a specific time.
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The cool thing about displaying information with my solution is that it conveys the information clearly and communicates what it needs to (what has changed) with very little cognitive effort. Anyone in your organization would be able to use this method even if they have no CAD skills. There is also no requirement to have the source authoring tool (ShipConstructor) installed.
The 3D model and the information about the revisions are always up-to-date and available in real-time. Since it is making a round trip to your database every time you select an item, I usually create a snapshot of the model to improve performance. When I want a newer snapshot, I will open the source Navisworks file which will be automatically updated with the latest 3D data as well as the latest revisions. Then I will create a new snapshot.
There are countless use cases for this type of interactive 3D report:
- See how the project is progressing without disrupting any engineer to create a report. (Useful for management).
- Have project reviews with various stakeholders.
- Ensure subcontractors are completing tasks on time.
- Identify problem areas that are taking significantly more time and make appropriate decisions to minimize downstream effects.
- Have a general sense of which areas your team (internal or external) are working on and which areas are nearing complete.
As I mentioned, this is an interactive model that will allow you to interrogate the model for additional information. Some examples are:
- Learn who was the user that modified the part.
- Learn which block is this part apart of.
- See if the part is nested or even cut.
- Find out any other attribute about the part.
How-To create the interactive visual model
There is minimal (3min) setup to create the first interactive model. After the first one is created the information will always be up-to-date. There are several ways to connect to the ShipConstructor information with each having their advantages and disadvantages. I chose to use an ODBC connection directly to the ShipConstructor project
I also created several selection sets as a reference for what you can do. You can create any selection set you need to meet your goals
A How-To video
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