Thursday, May 31, 2007

CADD in 2057

For the past several weeks the editor in chief of the Inovate Daily Newletter has been running a series of on again off again articles on the future of CAD in the next 50 years. Since this is the kind of topic I enjoy thinking about I decided to blog about it a bit.

While I don't have the slightest idea what the future holds or where CADD will be in 2057 (for that matter I probably won't be around to care). I think it might be informative to look at where I thought CAD would be today. As the saying goes "those that don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it".

Back in 1987 when I started using, learning, supporting and talking about CAD I thought it would be much different in 20 years than it turned out to be. Other than the improvement in computer technology CAD hasn't changed very much at least in the Highway/AEC business. I have often said we are doing nothing today that we couldn't do 20 years ago... and that is really sad.

20 years ago I thought that by the year 2000 (at the latest) CAD would allow civil engineers to practice what I call "Real Time Engineering". That with the expected advances in technology, hardware and software design highway and bridge projects would be designed, built and managed concurrently. Although we have the technology, what I didn't count on or understand was the nature of the beast.

The Civil Engineering world changes slowly. It is not enough to have the ability to do things you have to have the will and drive to not only use CAD but to apply it. While we have had the CAD and computer technology for over 20 years we have never been able to change the way the Highway/Bridge/AEC community thinks and works. So even with all the wonderful tools we have at our disposal we still basically design and build highways just as we always have.

So I hope that in 50 years my "dream" of real time civil engineering comes true but if history is any indication the CAD systems of 2057 will still be stuck at the turn of the century.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 HEEP Area V

Just back from the HEEP Area V meeting in Budapest Hungary. Where I and my fellow "heepers" had a great time not only visiting, but discussing things with our counterparts from the the TEM Countries. I'll post a bit more later and post up a few more pictures.