RECENTLY WE HAD THE PLEASURE of being introduced to a new fully web-based 3D CAD application from a Spanish software startup called CIVIGNER. Founder Antonio Pérez spoke to me about what his solution is all about, why choosing to develop for the web browser is more important today for access and flexibility, and what his application is aiming to be to the professional market.
(Anthony Frausto-Robledo) Your website says software for civil engineers. Is this just for civil engineers or also other design and technical professionals? What features of the software address the civil engineering market, and why are these important to bring to the web browser as an interface?
(Antonio Pérez) We planned our software for civil engineers but eventually, we have created an ‘all-in-one’ solution for construction, civil engineering, and the industrial world. We have a complete CAD GIS 3D platform that can be applied for any kind of work that needs CAD, geospatial, geometric measurements, or 3D object tools. We think we have created an excellent professional environment for technical, geospatial, and geometric jobs.
The fact of being a web app is crucial and useful; it is an internal architecture that is ready to be applied to other collaborative environments. I can create a project; I can work on it during the morning at my office, later in the day at my home, give access to my team on another point on the planet and finally share my content with my client or final users wherever they happen to be located.
The web 3D environment is a truly 3D world in which users and visitors can view, explore, modify, and collaborate. We think we are in the BIM ‘soul’ as part of the solutions offered in the market.
Today every kind of person needs web tools for a lot of jobs. It is the future of work, and we live in a web world.
We also have synchronized cloud processes so our users will not lose their work ever. We have an ‘offline’ mode to serve our clients when they do not have an Internet connection. In this respect, Autodesk’s AutoCAD BIM 360, for example, does not work if you unplug it from the Internet.
Finally, the AEC world is dominated by a few desktop software companies (like Autodesk, Bentley, Trimble, others…). If you imagine being able to create a road, site, mine pit or other kinds of serious engineering work and being able to do it in a simple web page, then CIVIGNER is the solution for you. And in our case, there is no need for expensive PC hardware or complicated installation. We provide simplified access to a professional web app—and in 3D!
Why are civil engineers in need of a civil tool that is delivered through a web browser? Is it fluidity of the field conditions, remote work, work from home due to busy schedules, what?
Today every kind of person needs web tools for a lot of jobs. It is the future of work, and we live in a web world. Civil engineers and other kinds of professionals in the AEC world do not realize that a powerful web app can exist that can serve their professional needs. We have delivered it.
The big companies are also developing similar web applications, so we know we are headed in the right direction.
Access options are another reality with our solution. You can use any kind of device and do not have to install an application on a Windows-based device. I can create designs and reports and to share that work; I only need to share a simple URL web link.
How does the license and pricing work?
We are at the initial marketing stage. We have ideas about the price at a subscription level, but we are also thinking about perpetual licenses with annual support plans. We believe we can have a large market by offering a very affordable price. And we have to fight against a “we already have a tool” mentality. So maybe we have to have a lovely price. We also believe there are thousands of non-legal license users out there who would prefer to have a legal license they can afford.
What types of engineering calculations are possible with your solution?
Web browsers are also going to evolve. We can today deal with LIDAR cloud points of more than 10 million. We can have vectorial cartography of 5km x 5km without any problems. Most civil engineering projects are not 300km high way projects. There are thousands of little ‘local’ projects that begin every month.
Today we have road, highways, and other kinds of linear civil project design tools. We are going to have the same (or more…) tools as Autodesk Civil 3D or Bentley tools in the future—we have no limits on our imagination.
Can your app talk to spreadsheets and other data tools?
Yes, our ‘all-in-one’ solution wants to integrate with all kinds of tools that the user needs. For example, we have a spreadsheet, ready to be integrated with the measurements (linear, surface, volume) the user creates. The web environment can let us create ‘template’ HTML accesses so we can easily offer different kinds of applications to our users as we adapt to what our users want.
Is your solution powered by WebGL 2.0 or 1.0? What other core technologies are behind your solution and how fast is it compared to desktop solutions?
Our application is fast and fluid, and most professional people cannot believe it is on the web. Today we are WebGL 1.- based and we plan to utilize future WebGL improvements as well as other web technology improvements. We also have a node.js server solution so we can create connections to EXE and DLL needs.
DWG and DGN import and export support are through our Open Design Alliance (ODA) licensed code libraries, which are written in C++. We can also connect with GDAL tools.
Our main power comes from our own algorithms that handle vectorial and raster data both.
How does it function in iOS? In Safari in iOS or a dedicated app?
We don’t support iOS at the moment and have no plans for an iOS app. We want to have a good Safari solution, but that depends on Safari’s performance, and users on Mac can always choose another browser like Chrome if it performs better.
What are your future plans with this software? What is coming next that you can share today?
We think our software is ready to sell to the market for a lot of useful applications. In terms of the future and what comes next? We will be aiming to compete and deliver the same or better features as what we find today on the desktop solutions from Autodesk and Bentley.
We have now an almost ready to market CAD 3D GIS application we present at Barcelona Contrumat with our own startup-stand.
Contacting the Provider
To learn more about CIVIGNER visit them online here. The solution is so new to the market it isn’t quite available in a mass-market way today. However, inquiries can be made. The Spanish startup is introducing the CAD 3D GIS solution at an engineering event in Barcelona starting 19 May 2019.
There is a contact form on the website (which is in the Spanish language so use Google Chrome to translate it) to inquire further about this new solution.
We look forward to seeing where this web-browser based solution goes.