Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 18

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 17
17 The staff also relies on its software vendors for education on the latest techniques for CADD visualization. The group is proposing to incorporate 3-D CADD into the department and is receiving some resistance from CADD technicians who would be required to learn it. This resistance is partly the result of the difficulty of learning 3-D CADD and partly the result of the additional design time required for the project. Visualization Benefits UDOT has measured dramatic cost and productivity savings when visualization is used on projects. The support manager conservatively projects a 15:1 return on investment when using visual tools. The reduced change orders, construction cost savings, and FIGURE 21 UDOT visual technologies web page. (Courtesy : Utah DOT.) more efficient use of materials that resulted from use of visu- alization were tracked while designing the Virgin River Arch Bridge project near the communities of Hurricane and La forth. All budgetary issues are now under one budget, the over- Verkin, Utah (Figures 22 and 23) (10). Along with improved all project budget. This has helped in funding visualization design and cost savings, the visuals produced for the public pre- projects; eliminating the need to approach each individual dis- sentations helped secure the project approval. The support cipline for funding requests. The final decision is made by the manager is confident that as more projects use 3-D design, the project manager in consultation with the ETS manager for IT. return on investment might exceed 30:1. This support manager stated that Because there are no standards or guidelines, the group receives additional support from UDOT's IT group. When The principles that we discovered during this process led us to hardware or software requests are made, the IT group uses a believe that the value of 3-D design and visualization were not just as tools for large, very complex projects, but that it would matrix developed for CADD to determine purchase, config- bring us significant value on almost every project (10). uration, and set-up. CASE STUDY 2: CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT Internal Approval Process for Visualization OF TRANSPORTATION Funding and support for visualization research and develop- Contact: ment has varied. Although management at UDOT has sup- Chief, TASAS Branch ported the group in developing visual technologies, each suc- California DOT ceeding department manager does have a different policy Division of Traffic Operations concerning visualization. Each new manager must educate MS-36 decision makers and project managers on the value of visu- 1120 N Street alization. With no strategic visualization policy or guide- Sacramento, CA 95814 lines, the task of educating has been difficult. Staffing With no officially endorsed, department-wide visualization training procedures, standards, or guidelines, staffing has proven to be a difficult task. Staffing consists of CADD tech- nicians who have an interest in visualization. These staff members are self-motivated and usually assist in the research and development process. Because visualization is still in the technology adoption phase, there are no formal training courses for the CADD tech- nicians at UDOT. In-house mentoring is achieved when indi- viduals attend seminars on specific applications and projects. FIGURE 22 Virgin River Arch Bridge, early test rendering.

OCR for page 17
18 improved its skill sets with visualization. The group remains in operation. Why the Need for Visualization at Caltrans? The public ultimately drives the needs for visuals at Caltrans. Visuals are created primarily for public presentations and in-house meetings. For the most part, 3-D renderings, photo- simulations, and 2-D graphics are created for these presenta- tions. The use of computer animation is infrequent and not considered a strength of the group. Project managers are the other source of demand for visu- alization. The visual groups will work closely with the project FIGURE 23 Virgin River Arch Bridge, final rendering. manager to determine what types of visuals are needed, how many are needed, and so forth. Projects that are large and high- profile, controversial, or having significant environmental Organization impacts usually require visuals. Caltrans, like many DOTs, is organized into separate regions, or districts. California has 12 districts, each operating inde- Implementation Plan pendently from the others. Visualization services apply the same structure to its purposes and uses as well. The result of Research and Development this organization is that Caltrans currently does not have a cohesive and uniform visualization group or policy for the There are no formalized research and development programs agency. Despite their independence, districts normally pro- at any of the districts within Caltrans. Research is determined vide services (including visualization) to other districts, pri- by lead technicians within each group. These lead technicians marily for engineering services. Some districts are much inform the other staff members through in-house training and more active in the use of visualization because of population mentoring. Because of the nature of these lead technicians' densities and volumes of active projects. workflow, which is very busy, it is difficult to find time to conduct research. Approximately 95% of all production Currently, each district is promoting the use of visual schedules are within 1 week. These schedules for visualiza- tools in various forms and disciplines. Some districts will use tion are very fast. Another factor is limited budgets that have visual tools immediately on projects, whereas others only cut training, conference attendance, and professional associ- react to a given project. Particular focus for the use of visu- ation attendance. alization has been given to the landscape architecture and structure architecture disciplines. Informally, visual mem- Another avenue for research and development is the use bers from some of the districts meet annually and discuss of vendors. When specific needs are required, Caltrans will how each has been using the technology. also bring in its hardware and software vendors to make pre- sentations on potential solutions. In the 1960s, Caltrans initially mandated an offering of visuals to projects for public awareness and approvals. By the mid-1970s, visualization was being incorporated into the Internal Approval Process for Visualization environmental process. Initial visuals were physical models and hand renderings. Visuals were predominantly used by The project managers are responsible for the use of visual landscape architects to help with aesthetics. In the late 1980s, tools. There is no formal budget for hardware, software, or Caltrans began using computers for CADD and graphics. Ini- staff-hours. These issues are all absorbed within the overall tially, during the transition from paper to CADD, Caltrans project budget. Caltrans computer budgets for the past few attempted to centralize the support. This attempt was not suc- years have been very tight, with limited funding for visual- cessful and subsequently led to the organization that is in ization tools. The groups use workstations and applications place today. that are not current--in some cases, the systems are 34 years old. The older software applications and hardware In the mid-1990s, the bridge architecture group had eight systems have helped to restrict the development of visual- people creating CADD and related visuals. At the time, only ization. On larger projects, some visual tools can be pur- one staff member was considered proficient in the field of chased and absorbed into the project budget; however, visualization. This visualization group focused solely on these projects are the exception. The Caltrans IT depart- visuals for the bridge architects and engineers and steadily ment is approaching support globally, not for niche services

OCR for page 17
19 such as visualization. Therefore, unique hardware and soft- ware requisitions usually are not approved. This approach is causing a disconnect between the visual groups and IT, which leads to further inefficiencies. Because there are no formal standards or guidelines, each project determines what visual applications and standards will be used. Staffing There are no formalized job descriptions for visualization technicians at Caltrans. Alternative titles with special classi- FIGURE 24 Visuals of the San FranciscoOakland Bay Bridge. fications, such as bridge assistant or associate, are given. Staffing primarily comes through the CADD ranks. New hires (primarily college graduates) are made, and they are the that common sense was generally used by project managers ones who are pushing the use for newer technologies. It is in determining its usage. In the typical process, the project hard to keep these new hires, because they eventually take managers approach the in-house groups for visuals. Some jobs with consultants. The workflow process involves the groups have established reputations in producing certain senior-level person--for example, the chief of that particular types of visuals, such as photo-simulation. discipline--negotiating with a project manager to complete a visualization project. In turn, the senior-level person men- The visual groups at Caltrans are striving to add accuracy and tors and manages junior-level people who create the visuals. credibility to the visuals created for these processes. The land- Projects that require advanced uses of visualization, such as scape architecture group regularly uses visuals as part of the EIS animation and simulation, are completed by consultants with the visual impact assessment reports. Although the EIS is when requested by project managers. traditionally not part of the design process, some of the visuals created for the EIS have affected and changed the design. There are no formal training classes for visualization. Instead, periodic seminars and classes are offered for particu- Little work has been completed using high-end visual lar software applications. People attend these sessions and then tools, such as animation. Some limited 3-D modeling has pass down the information to other members within the group. been completed, but primarily it has been used for digital ter- rain modeling (DTM). The lack of 3-D modeling is linked to limited computer budgets that have generated aging hard- Visualization Benefits ware and software. 3-D design is still cost-prohibitive. Until Caltrans can reduce the costs associated with 3-D design Production Improvements (e.g., hardware, software, training, and initial increased pro- duction times), such design will continue to not be used in- Visuals have improved the public involvement process and house. Almost all animation or high-end computer graphics added credibility to the design process. Its usage has dramat- are being completed by consultants. ically increased over the past 2 years. Because every large design project in California is controversial, visuals are used When accepting new assignments, the visual groups have to help the project manager and stakeholders properly con- learned to be cautious in attempting new things. The aptitude vey the design. For example, during the planning and design level of the technicians plays an important role in the selec- phase of the San FranciscoOakland Bay Bridge project, the tion of the visual tool and output. District 4 director stated that visuals helped to ensure that the public bought into the high-profile and complex project and that the design team was designing it properly (Figure 24). Productivity Savings Caltrans needed to design a structure that met strict seismic guidelines and be visually appealing to the stakeholders The controversial Devil's Slide Project in San Mateo County and public, who wanted a streamlined and elegant look- successfully used visualization to assist with the design and ing bridge. Visuals improved the communication process approvals (see Figures 25 and 26) (11). For the past 50 years, between the various resource agencies, engineers, and stake- the project has been studied, designed, and redesigned. To holders during the design. The final design met all the engi- help convince the California Coastal Commission to move neering criteria and visually appealed to stakeholders and the forward with the project, visuals were required to show how public. The director stated that visuals are considered for the proposed tunnels would blend into the unique landscapes every Caltrans project. Although there is no formal proce- along the California coast. Critical viewpoints were deter- dure in place to implement visualization, the director noted mined from the EIS, including several tunnel perspectives