July 27, 2017

Meet the Community: Solution from Safe Software for Sweco and Bonava Leverages Forge

Sweco helps plan and design communities and cities of the future. It does this by offering qualified services in the fields of consulting engineering, environmental technology, and architecture. It was working with a large land developer, Bonava, who needed to connect and have visibility into design data from the initial design phases all the way to construction for its staff spanning 8 countries. To address this, Sweco turned to Safe Software.

Safe Software began in 1993 by helping forestry companies exchange maps with the provincial government. Though it was technically possible to share maps, the process was gruesome. It would take them hours of fighting with the data to get to the outcome they needed. Often, an incredible amount of information was lost in the process. The founders built a solution to change that, and their passion for freeing data was ignited. Safe Software is now the maker of a spatial data transformation platform, FME.

Sweco is a customer of Autodesk, particularly spending over 5 million hours per year using AEC software solutions. Sweco is well-versed in Autodesk application capabilities. So it was not much of a stretch for Sweco to see the value in being able to leverage assets created by Autodesk applications via FME since it was based on Autodesk Forge.

The challenges that Sweco and Bonava were facing included:

  • Visualizing 3D models and data across mobile, web, and desktop
  • Moving from the desktop to the cloud efficiently
  • Many files and large scope made drag/drop in the browser inefficient
  • Alignment of stakeholders and issue management were inefficient

Using Forge, Safe Software integrated support for A360 into FME, enabling its users to move data between A360 and 350+ formats, including GIS, databases, web services, and more. Sweco used FME to build workflows that centralized Bonava’s files into A360 to maximize interdiscipline and stakeholder alignment through easily accessible and editable 3D models via desktop, web, or mobile.

  • Safe Software used the Forge Data Management API to build a connector in FME that allows users to upload, download, and list their files in A360. This allowed Sweco to consolidate terabytes of files into one system efficiently, even with such a large scope of heavy 3D files and data on disparate systems.
  • The Forge Model Derivative API allowed FME to convert assets into industry standard SVF, consumed by the Forge Viewer, and displayed to Sweco and Bonava using just the browser (via WebGL).

Sweco wants to offer a consolidated technology experience—complete end-to-end BIM cloud-based solution from design, prototype, to (building) fabrication. Based on their partnership with Safe Software, Forge is helping them get there from the beginning of the process all the way to construction and construction management.

As one of the first development partners to use the Forge API, Safe Software immediately recognized the opportunity it presented: the ability to quickly build a connector for Autodesk A360 into their data integration platform so users to move data between 350+ formats without writing code. Want to learn more about this use case and lessons learned? Check out Safe Software's post about the 3-step process for this massive file migration.

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