Reporting Tools

Reporting tools involve extracting data from CAD and then exporting to CSV, a word document, or excel file complete with formatting.

Basic extraction tools might gather information about levels, element types, and locations. While more sophisticated reporting will dig into the smart data facilitating the creating of estimates, bills of material, and engineering analysis. Further, the interrogation of smart data can lead to more complex design validations beyond levels, color, and style.

Exporting Photo Locations

A Reporting Service

Photogeo[DWG and DGN] is a program that helps you remember why and where you captured a project photo. It does this by automatically inserting markers and photos into a CAD file, with a defined coordinate system, at the location and orientation they were shot.

Once this data is in the design file, we can scan the drawing to get the photos in the design file and then report the positions – both cartesian and gps – of each photo. 

In this example, PhotogeoDWG has found seven photos in the drawing.

Running the Export to CSV command reports the positions.

Customized Excel Reports – Summary of Drainage Structures

Sending data to a CSV (comma separated) file is a reasonable approach for a report.

Meeting the needs of the end-user, the engineer is rarely that simple.

Often, they have a formatted spreadsheet that they like to use, and this is the format that the output should follow. 

Summary of Drainage Structures is a desktop program.

The engineer will select a Civil 3D file(s) containing drainage structures and then press the generate report button. The program automatically scans the CAD file looking for structures.

The program is able to format the report header, the columns, and summarize the information contained in each row.

Automation of a highly specialized report like this is possible
and by using OpenXML the program does not rely on a particular version of excel.

 Dashboards and Usage Analytics 

Business managers use key performance indices, or KPIs to measure the health of the business. Web marketer’s measure everything, page views, button clicks, unique visitors.

With large numbers of transactions, a single data point doesn’t reveal much, but when aggregated trends emerge helping them make decisions and navigate their respective disciplines.

I wondered what types of things CAD managers could measure that might reveal trends and help guide their decisions.

Here are some possible examples,

If you knew which CAD Add-ins were being used, how often they were used, and how each change over time could this be valuable? In this case, knowing that no one has started a certain add-in for more than six months would likely make you question whether or not you need to be paying for licenses.

If you have delivered a new workspace, would it help to know what percentage of users were using the new workspace? Adoption rates can help with allocation of support resources, and it can indicate where additional training is needed to help users transition to the new environment.

If you are an organization that allows your consultants to use their favorite CAD application, would it help to know the percentage of users, or even total users using one versus the other software? Among other things, this knowledge might help you understand what future budgets will look like. 

To accomplish this, we need to identify which programs are being tracked and add a little bit of code to each in order to send the usage record back to a database.

This type of data, especially if tracked over time, is well suited for a dashboard allowing for quick comparisons and visualization of trends.

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