Bentley Systems Descartes V8i Enhances 3D Infrastructure Modeling

April 18, 2012
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HOUSTON, 16 April 2012 - At SPAR International 2012, Bentley Systems Inc. released Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3), 3D modeling that combines point clouds, raster imagery, and geometry. The resulting models expand the utility of point clouds by supporting hybrid design workflows that deliver “as-operated” 3D models to serve the operations and maintenance needs of owner-operators. By enabling innovative “hypermodeling” – the intuitive navigation of as-operated models in 3D context that includes engineering information in any form – Bentley is committed to enhancing infrastructure safety and resilience while increasing owner-operators’ returns on their engineering investments.

Bentley set the stage for this innovation by incorporating scalable terrain models (STMs) and, soon after, point clouds as fundamental data types across its information modeling applications and engineering information management services. It first introduced point clouds into its portfolio by embedding the high-performance Vortex engine into MicroStation, and more recently acquired Pointools Ltd, the leading hardware-neutral provider of point-cloud software.

Through its release of Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3), Bentley launches an information modeling product for advanced point-cloud processing – and the manipulation of STMs – that addresses virtually all of the 3D image processing needs of infrastructure professionals. With this product, project teams can take greater advantage of point clouds in engineering workflows for all categories of infrastructure. Moreover, they’ll be able to work with any type of point-cloud data, including aerial and terrestrial LiDAR and ground-penetrating radar.

Coming soon is a new offering from Bentley that overcomes the intractable scale of point clouds that has long limited their versatility in information modeling workflows. Called ProjectWise Point-cloud Services, this innovation streams on demand to Bentley applications only the portion of a point cloud being viewed or queried, facilitating the collaborative work sharing and unlocking the value of terabytes of point-cloud data.

The combination of point-cloud viewing, processing, and management across Bentley products – including MicroStation, Bentley Descartes, Bentley Pointools, and ProjectWise – delivers a powerful, comprehensive, and productive engineering software for the utilization of point-cloud data throughout the infrastructure lifecycle. Bentley also continues to release products based on its Pointools technology, including Bentley Pointools for stand-alone workflows and two iWare apps available at no charge: Bentley Pointools View and Bentley Pointools PODcreator.

“Years ago, our Bentley Descartes product enabled a breakthrough for 2D modeling that empowered our users to combine imagery with geometry conveniently and in real time facilitated by Bentley’s innovative warping technology,” said Richard Zambuni, Bentley global marketing director. “The new Bentley Descartes achieves the equivalent breakthrough for 3D information modeling, empowering our users to quickly manipulate a STM and texture it with orthoimagery to achieve a highly accurate topography of the terrain. They can do the same with a 3D city model, combining imagery and geometric models to achieve the engineering accuracy and rigor that infrastructure professionals demand.”

He continued, “And now for point clouds, the new version of Bentley Descartes uniquely combines this fundamental data type with raster imagery and geometry in 3D information models through processing capabilities such as point-cloud classification editing; the draping and snapping of vector elements to a point cloud; a new 'flashlight' feature that lets users dynamically visualize surfaces in the point cloud for easier navigation and comprehension; a smart snap feature that automates the time-consuming task of finding the highest, lowest, or median point along a user-defined path; and the ability to export in LAS and POD file formats for reuse in other applications. All of these enhancements make the use of point clouds a lot more intuitive and productive, empowering GIS and CAD professionals, surveyors, urban planners, and engineers to readily employ hybrid models in the creation of better-performing, intelligent infrastructure.”

Commenting on the new release of Bentley Descartes V8i, Matthew McCarter, CAD technician, Capital Programmes Directorate, London Underground, said, “As a user of point-cloud data in various CAD packages for over 12 years, I am most impressed with the point-cloud processing tools in Bentley Descartes. I look forward to using the cross sectioning, ‘flashlight,’ and other functionality for extracting geometry to further improve the efficiency of London Underground’s Land Survey Team.” Stephane Poitras, director of Information Resources, Ville de Saguenay, Quebec, Canada, said, “The City of Saguenay encompasses approximately 1136 square kilometers, and we have always had issues trying to create terrain models covering our entire territory. With the new scalable terrain model technology shipping with Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3), this problem is solved. We have created a STM, draped more than 1.5 gigabytes of raster imagery on top of the terrain, and have seen an amazing display performance.”

For additional information about Bentley Descartes V8i (SELECTseries 3), visit

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