BIMx Docs – some overlaps with BIM+

In her latest AEC Bytes product review, Lachmi Khemlani reviews Graphisoft’s recently launched BIMx Docs app for iOS devices, comparing it to the earlier free BIMx app.

Graphisoft is a Hungary-based international subsidiary of Nemetschek, and is best known for its ArchiCAD design software. Having yesterday looked at the parent company’s BIM+ offering, which includes iPad apps, I was interested to read what BIMx Docs offered, and was hoping to hear about any mobile red-lining or markup capabilities.

However, Lachmi initially focuses on the product’s apparently impressive navigation which allows “seamless” transitions between 3D views and associated 2D documents in ArchiCAD files (note: BIMx Docs only supports ArchiCAD – at least, currently), adding “the user experience of hyperlinks is actually better in BIMx Docs than in ArchiCAD itself”.

BIMx Docs section viewing - from AEC bytes

In her conclusion and analysis, though, Lachmi notes the app: “currently lacks mark-up capabilities, the ability to manipulate the visibility of elements, a search option, etc., that we have come to expect in design review applications”. She hopes future versions will offer such capabilities, urges on Android version (the earlier BIMx tool has been available on Android since July 2012), and highlights the performance advantage over PDF:

One of the other significant advantages of BIMx Docs is that it does not experience any performance issues with large and complex models, unlike, say PDF files, which do not work well for larger drawings. Also, while the PDF format supports 3D models, these haven’t really taken off in the AEC industry in a big way. (Adobe, itself, has stopped developing 3D PDF capability.)*

Given what is emerging with Nemetschek’s BIM+, it seems the group is developing viewing capabilities for models created by different BIM authoring tools, and is enabling mobile annotation capabilities – so, assuming the group’s software people are talking to each other, Lachmi may get at least two of her wishes. And following the October 2013 debut of BIMx Docs, the Graphisoft blog said the BIMx development team was working on an Android edition – so she may get her third one too.

Meanwhile, the Nemetschek BIM+ team tell me the web viewer for BIM+ is optimised for Android tablet, and “Android native is on roadmap but no dates set yet.”

(* – I wrote about Adobe Acrobat XI in October 2012.)

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