THE OPEN DESIGN ALLIANCE (ODA) IS NOW OVER 20 YEARS IN EVOLUTION. ODA was started to create an open industry standard format around (.dwg)—originally named OpenDWG Alliance. Now new opportunities and developments are in place targeting today’s many pressing AEC and MCAD data needs.
A World-Class Software Organization
With 4 offices and 90 internal employees and programmers—including some of the best mathematicians in the CAD/BIM industry—and 1200 members, the ODA appears to be a healthy and growing non-profit organization. The conference itself also showing growth even while in Milan and with a registration fee for the first time. The conference grew 50% over 2018 with over 150 attendees.
Today, the ODA is tackling much more than (.dwg), the CAD file format that initiated its origins. The current ODA offerings to standard members include a “technology stack” (a unified collection of high-level SDKs) which ODA President Neil Peterson introduced as Drawings, Architecture, Visualize, Publish and Web.
In addition, SDKs for BimRv (Revit), BimNv (Navisworks), C3D Modeler, Civil, Map3D and Mechanical are also available at an additional cost. Several of these technologies were presented at this week’s conference with more information below.
New Partnership with buildingSMART (bSi)
The ODA DevCon’19 Conference in Milan started with a significant announcement: buildingSMART (bSi) and ODA were forming a strategic partnership around technology supporting open standards for BIM. IFC and RVT support have been a recent top request of ODA membership and this year ODA has responded. IFC is a part of an interoperable workflow solution for BIM across software applications and platforms.
A central part of the strategic alliance between ODA and bSi is to establish a strong process and production standard that ODA can help develop and test prior to final standards are set and an ISO standard is completed. The standardization and implementation of IFC historically have been problematic across individual software with many solutions competing and conflicting. This will not be the case going forward with IFC4.2 (currently supported with ODA) and with a more robust and standardized IFC5 published within the next 1-2 years for both bSi and ODA.
Opening the BIM workflow involves a 2nd generation of building software tools where the ODA has become a critical enabler for the industry. These SDK tools become parts of manufacturer software tools and design software authoring solutions. In addition to these direct BIM workflow tools, ODA is creating a significant pathway for today’s cloud-based efforts as well. Several developments supporting BIM and cloud-based workflows were presented during the conference with timelines for additional improvements over the next year. (see next pages on cloud).