Thursday, April 14, 2011

Search and Selection Sets Part II

Alas! It has been a month or two since Part I. Here is part II, of the long awaited sequel!

As I mentioned in Search and Selection Sets Part I (Post Dated 1-31-2011), Search Sets are the gold in Navisworks. This is where you get to drive. This is where you have all the control. Search Sets, as mentioned are based upon common data properties such as size, name, type, file, units, etc. This is why they are so powerful! If you know the common property to search for, you work here is done! And most importantly, you can re-use searches in different projects if they search for similar properties.

As an example, imagine a file imported from Revit (via *NWC Export). Revit, being the wonderful property based BIM format that it is, contains loads of property data (both instance and type). Now, envision some of the common properties in every Revit file, such as walls, ducts, beams or windows. You can set up a search in Navisworks to find all the walls or windows in the file (see image below).

In the data set shown above, I created a Search Set based upon the Revit Type Property: Wall. When I change this data set in Revit by adding a few additional interior walls, you can see that the Search Set automatically updates. Notice how there are now 9 walls, as opposed to 7 in the previous search.

Thinking outside the box, once you have these searches saved, they can be exported and imported into any other project. To export the Search Sets from a project, simply go to the application menu and choose Export>Search Sets The file will export your searches as an *XML file. You can then import the searches into another project using the import option from the application menu.

From a project perspective, Search Sets can be taken a step farther if you consider file and folder conventions as well. For instance, I can load data from a folder on my desktop named "Demo Files".

As I add additional data sets to this folder and append the *NWF file, the Search Set updates. For those of you seeing the big picture here, your job of updating the project from week to week just became a whole lot simpler if you took the time at the beginning of the project to create a tidy file and folder structure. If your current filing system looks anything like the storage system in my basement, you might need to do a little spring cleaning here to smite your errant file/folder conventions to alleviate the issue.

The image below shows how I set up my search to find a particular folder on my desktop. Of course for your office, you will want to path this to a server location and not your desktop for company wide use.

As a final thought, for those using Revit, you could put some custom shared parameters in the file to easily track in Navisworks, such as a FM parameter for items that need to be tracked for Facilities Management, etc.

Next month, I will be discussing the Appearance Profiler. Stay tuned!