The recent launch of Civil 3D 2021 is a great opportunity to not only celebrate what’s new but look ahead toward other exciting enhancements that are under development for future releases of Civil 3D. While this roadmap will change as time goes on, it’s a good representation of our vision for the near- and long-term future of Civil 3D. We’ll post updated roadmaps as we’re able to share more information.
By now, hopefully, you’ve seen the recent news that Autodesk acquired ProjectExplorer from 3AM Solutions. We’re incredibly excited to provide this new suite of productivity tools to our Civil 3D customers. ProjectExplorer contains tools that have been on our roadmap for a long time; some of the items described in this post are likely to be addressed by ProjectExplorer. In the coming months, we’ll share more details about how and when these tools may become available.
We at Autodesk recognize that the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect communities, families, and people around the world. This is a difficult time for all of us and our hearts go out to all those who have been affected, directly or indirectly.
As Autodesk keeps a close eye on the impact the coronavirus is having on the Autodesk community and our industry at large, we’re continuing to explore the best ways we can support our customers, flex to meet their changing needs, and minimize disruptions to their business during this challenging time. We invite you to visit our Resource Center where you can find updates on Autodesk initiatives intended to help our customers and resources that can assist with your collaboration and productivity needs.
Before I get into details about what’s on our roadmap, I’d like to set expectations: This roadmap may make statements regarding future events and development efforts for our products and services. These statements reflect our current expectations based on what we know today. Our plans are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future delivery of products, services, or features and purchasing decisions should not be made based upon these statements. We do not assume any responsibility to update this roadmap to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the publish date of this roadmap.
To help explain the roadmap, we’ve grouped our plans by theme:
- Create – The act of model creation
- Efficiently create models that better capture design intent
- Engage in a delightful, intuitive, and contextual experience
- Model to higher degrees of accuracy and detail
- Connect – Integrating teams and products
- Connect project teams with AEC-focused collaboration tools
- Enable multidisciplinary workflows to help deliver projects
- Extend BIM to all phases of the project lifecycle
- Optimize – Better designs and processes
- Analyze, simulate, and iterate to optimize designs
- Work more productively with software that automates tasks
- Have more time to design with more reliable and efficient software
For more information about what’s in Civil 3D 2021, please check out the What’s New videos on the Autodesk Infrastructure YouTube channel.
This theme focuses on creating and editing project data at any point in the project lifecycle. I’d like to highlight that 50% of the items in this category come from the public Civil 3D Ideas forum. Of note in Civil 3D 2021 is the release of our new pressure network layout and editing tools. For some time this has been the #2 most-requested Civil 3D Idea, so we’re very excited to get this into our customer’s hands. Thanks to the many customers who offered their feedback as we refined the requirements for these powerful new tools. We’re working on more enhancements to the pressure network tools, so please stay tuned.
The second major Create workflow in the 2021 release is the creation of bridge general arrangement sheets. Bridge designs can be projected onto a profile view, and then stylized and labeled using tools that are familiar to our core Civil 3D users. In the Connect section, I’ll share a great deal more about how this is part of the new bridge design workflow in Autodesk products.
For what’s ahead, you’ll see a few themes in the items shown above in blue. First, you’ll see several items around making the process for laying out objects more flexible and efficient. For example, we’re researching how we might enable the use of parametric constraints when laying out alignments and profiles. While we’re on alignments, we’re revisiting a long-standing Civil 3D Ideas board request to enable efficient split and merge of alignments.
For our land development customers, we’re hard at work enhancing the tools you use every day. We’ve got some great new feature line editing tools under development, as well as some enhancements to how you use corridors in site design contexts.
In my last public roadmap, I mentioned we were researching new tools for railway design. Those tools are well underway; I’ll have more information about our progress in an upcoming product roadmap.
Finally, we have plenty of other Civil 3D Ideas to work through. In the coming months, we’ll be working these into our roadmap in a variety of ways.
The Connect theme focuses on making it easier to break down barriers between project team members and the tools they use. We’re working on the Connect theme in several ways.
On our previous roadmap, you might remember me saying that the Civil 3D team is heavily invested in making sure Civil 3D would continue to be connected to the BIM 360 environment in a seamless manner. We’ve already made significant strides in improving the performance and predictability of common file operations (such as open/close, lock/unlock), as well as adding support for hosting projects on a European data center. In the near and long term, we’re planning to broaden out the Collaboration for Civil 3D toolset to include capabilities for things like design collaboration support for infrastructure products; migrating projects; and monitoring the overall health of a project by viewing and managing reference dependencies.
In Civil 3D 2021, we made big improvements to the way a bridge is designed within the context of an overall roadway project. In previous versions (and with competing products), the roadway, bridge, and structural detailing teams worked in disconnected silos, where data was frequently imported and exported, leaving each team to spend a great deal of time reworking their designs to react to changes in others’ designs.
With the 2021 release, the roadway design team can use the powerful alignment and corridor modeling tools in Civil 3D. The bridge designer can then consume the full Civil 3D corridor model in InfraWorks and use it to design a bridge. The bridge design team can easily publish their model to both the structural detailing team (who can complete their work in Revit) and the roadway design team (who can incorporate the bridge design into the roadway model, and later into their plans production deliverables). Changes between the three teams’ designs are more seamlessly passed around because the platforms are linked and aware of changes to the others’ models.
We’re planning additional refinements to the bridge workflow, including more granular support for bridge objects within Civil 3D.
The items in the Optimize theme are all about letting software handle repetitive tasks and letting you focus on the design. Each firm has its own ideas about how to optimize their workflows, so we’re doing our best to enable you to customize Civil 3D in ways that will make you more efficient.
The primary enabler for Civil 3D customization is the API. As we developed the new pressure network layout and editing tools mentioned in the Create section, we built the base API for these tools at the same time. We’re continuing to build out the API for not only the pressure network tools but for many other core Civil 3D features.
As we build out the Civil 3D API, Dynamo for Civil 3D will become even more powerful. Thanks to the new Dynamo Player for Civil 3D, it’s easier than ever for general Civil 3D users to leverage Dynamo scripts. An expanded API will also open other avenues for customization, including the potential to enable design automation workflows via Forge.
Finally, we’re continuing our research into interactive grading tools that will make our land development customers more efficient. This research consists of establishing a series of constraints and then enabling an optimization algorithm to iterate on possible solutions. Again: letting software handle these sorts of repetitive tasks has the potential to save you significant time and money.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
If you would like to get more detailed information about anything I’ve shared, request to join the Autodesk Infrastructure Futures program. This program is an opportunity for you to gain access to and evaluate pre-release software. This program allows you direct access to the product team, to provide feedback on the product roadmap, and to test select new functionality and workflows before Autodesk decides to put them into shipping products.
If you don’t see something listed here, it doesn’t mean it isn’t on our radar. If you have specific suggestions for ways we can make the product better, we encourage you to submit them to Civil 3D Ideas.
We will continue to post updates periodically, and your feedback helps! Let us know what you think.
Tim Yarris & the Autodesk Civil Infrastructure Product Team