Regardless if you think DWF’s are the best thing since sliced bread, if the person you’re sending the DWF to can’t open the DWF; how great DWF’s are becomes irrelevant mighty quick. In my experience, unless you’re sending a lot of DWF’s to someone, they’re not all that interested in installing yet another piece of software just so they can view your drawings. They’ll simply reply to your e-mail and ask you to send a PDF since they already have Adobe Reader installed on their machine. But did you know Microsoft Windows can open DWF’s without ANY third-party software? All you need is Internet Explorer. Let me explain…
I have come to rely on my power users. Just the other day one of my power users (Michael Elander) came to me asking about georeferenced DWF’s. To be frankly honest my knowledge of georeferenced DWF’s really extended no further than a flier I picked up at AU or something on Design Review 2008. The concept I understood, but how to create one, I just hadn’t invested the time to figure it out.
The whole reason Mike wanted to pursue the topic was because he was asked to share some drawings with a third-party who was not our client. They needed to be able to reference our drawing, but we didn’t want them to be able to manipulate our drawing. As many have discovered over the years, locking down a DWG file is easier said than done. Sure there are some third-party apps out there, but what about the tools we already had installed?
That’s where the idea of the georeferenced DWF came up. Since AutoCAD 2008 we can Xref a DWF, snap to the linework contained within it, and provided we enable them, turn layers on/off. Translation: it’s essentially a DWG which the third-party can’t modify – perfect!
Back towards the beginning of February I made a post “Bring All Text To Front and a Wii Tip”. Long story short I brought my Nintendo Wii along for evening entertainment during a ski trip, and well forgot the sensor bar. I know – stupid me. All hope wasn’t lost however as we were able to geek out and discover that our gas fireplace would work as a sensor bar.
I have to admit, when I made that post it was meant more as a joke. Afterall this is a CAD blog, not a Nintendo Wii blog. However this morning I saw a strange post come up in my feed reader – Scott Sheppard over at the “It’s alive in the lab” blog made a post “Wiimote Navigation Add-in for Autodesk Design Review Now Available”. All of a sudden that post back in February about Nintendo Wii didn’t seem so foolish.
By this time next week I will be among many of you, enjoying the Autodesk University 2007 in fabulous Las Vegas, NV. Being both the 25th anniversary of Autodesk, and the 15th anniversary of Autodesk University, it’s sure to be a spectacular event. To that end I do look forward to meeting and chatting with those of you attending this years conference. For those unable to attend this years conference; stay tuned to The CAD Geek Blog for my posts from AU 2007. In addition to blogging I hope to upload as many photos as possible to flickr. Shaan Hurley has created an AU flickr group which can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/au2007/. In addition to some spectacular photos, perhaps a friendly Canon vs. Nikon competition will ensue during AU as well.
Like many of my posts, the inspiration for today’s post comes from a question one of my users recently asked me. Basically he had received digital scans of a plan set. The scans were in the TIF format, and while Windows has it’s Picture and Fax Viewer, it can be a little clunky at times. Especially when trying to zoom and pan around in an image. A simple search will naturally return an endless list of TIFF image viewers, but what about what’s already installed?
For years now I personally have been convinced the DWF format is far superior to the PDF format. Until recently I represented a small minority, as most people still preferred the older and more established PDF format. In the past year or so it seems that the tides are changing, and more people are willing to check out DWF’s and what they have to offer. Personally I think a number of variables have started the changing of the tides. It seems that the combination of Autodesk making their Design Review software a free download, and more reprographers accepting DWF’s electronically have been major factors in the recent shift.
Oftentimes it’s not necessarily obvious what has changed between different versions of a plan sheet. Sure some changes are overly apparent, but what about the subtle changes? People still married to their slide rules might take a print of the old and new plan sheet to a light table and see what pops out at them. While that method may have proven effective in the 20th century, this is 2007 baby! Autodesk Design Review offers a rather intriguing alternative to the old light table with its “compare” feature. Essentially Design Review can compare 2 DWF’s, and it will highlight the items deleted in red, and added in green. Such color coating makes the exact changes to a given plan sheet overly apparent. So just how does one flip the switch on the digital light table?
In observance of the “National Orange Effect Day” The CAD Geek Blog is proudly displaying the colors of Virginia Tech – Orange and Maroon.
Those of us who work with geospatial data (aka GIS Data) know how incredibly valuable the data can be. Living in the digital age of the 21st century, the one thing always more valuable than processing data is the ability to share it. Perhaps the most common file format for geospatial data is the ESRI SHP file. Although phenomenally powerful, the format is quite frankly rather clunky. It takes 5 separate support files to make a single SHP file to work. With Design Review becoming a free download the collaborative powers of the DWF format can now be realized. Of the powers packed into the DWF format is the ability to embed geospatial data into a DWF file. It is possible to embed geospatial data into a DWF, and it be available in Design Review.