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October 27, 2014
ShipbuildingShipConstructorTechnologyTips & Tricks


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.

If you do not have access to YouTube, click here.

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.
  • Etc.

As I mentioned, this is an interactive model that will allow you to interrogate the model for additional information. Some examples are:

  1. Learn who was the user that modified the part.
  2. Learn which block is this part apart of.
  3. See if the part is nested or even cut.
  4. 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

Do not have access to YouTube? Click Here

Supporting Files

 Click Here

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Post Comments

  1. Sebastian says:

    Denis I want to know how you are integrated in real time SC with Navisworks manage. That is amazing!

    1. Denis Morais says:

      @disqus_L8cWKR4WXp:disqus Yes this is amazing:). I see you have found your answer with watching the second movie.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Sorry I sow second movie just now.

  3. Sebastian says:

    Denis can you send me that xml script to connect ShipConstructor with Navisworks please?

    1. Denis Morais says:

      I linked the supporting files right at the end of the post. Here is the link for your reference.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Denis I had connected Navisworks with ShipConstructor database. In my opinion we should capture “the real modification of a part” rather than all kind of activities registered inside ShipCon.
    For example SC database is telling me that Mr. X has modified entire drawing on 21 Oct but actually he is not doing anything except visualization over there. This is not an real modification to the project.

    1. Denis Morais says:

      If Mr.X did not edit the drawing then now revisions should have been created for that part. However, if some changed a part property of that part and did not open the drawing, the user who opens and saves the drawing will also get a revision created.
      There are many ways to see changes and if you only want to see parts which have a different properties of X, Y and Z you will be able to do that as well. What is shown in this post is just one of the many ways.
      Look for a future post later this month for one that will show changes to parts weight (outer boundary changes, corner treatment added, different stock, etc.).

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