OpenAsset’s bim library puts you in control, says Liam Southwood
Bim content management software
Many architects will be familiar with OpenAsset image library software (www.axomic. com). First released in 2005, it was developed to help regain control over the burgeoning number of digital pictures clogging up server hard drives. In January Axomic rebranded its core product as OpenAsset Media and created a new addition to the suite: OpenAsset Bim.
As Axomic looked to expand into the US, it met clients who were more established as Revit users than the UK architects it worked with. After presenting the image management functions it was asked if it had something similar that would work with Revit.
“We were seeing exactly the same problem with Revit family files, stored in hierarchical folder structures with no management or quality control mechanism, as we had originally identified with images,” explains business development director Daniel Emmerson. As a single Revit model can contain hundreds of families, identifying the good ones, and avoiding duplication, becomes difficult across multiple projects.
The bim function is an extension to a base OpenAsset installation and shares the same web interface. Assets (family files) are uploaded via a web browser at which point they can be tagged with searchable keywords (eg marked for internal or external use). Embedded Revit attributes and parameters are extracted, as is the unit system and information like manufacturer and creator.
Searching is performed using the category and keywords mentioned above. The system returns a preview set which can be dynamically resized or displayed as a 3D object in the browser. Once the content has been found, it can be added to an album which can then be used for drag and drop into Revit or shared with others.
Management functions rely on access hierarchies built into Open-Asset whereby different users can be granted rights to categorise and authorise content according to their role. The aim is to create an environment where it is easier to use the right content in a model than to create something on the fly.
In use, it has the feel of first release software (version 1.1 is due this month) and costs are based on Revit licenses. Nevertheless, I can see this being a powerful tool in any practice looking to implement Revit with some level of quality control and management.
Axomic has no plans to expand to index data from other bim software. It is also touted only as a content management system – it doesn’t provide any content itself. However, the company may have inadvertently found the killer function: it also handles Sketchup files!
Liam Southwood is director of nittygritty.net