logoWhen we choose our work and design tools in the 3D design and 3D printing arena, it’s often a true commitment in which direction we might be taking major career projects, as well on which we spend prodigious amounts of time and money.

It’s important to know whether or not we should take the time to give a product a look if it seems like it applies to our design needs—but if there is an investment as well as a learning curve, some research is in order. And that’s often where peer reviews by other professionals actually using the tools are a huge gift. They’ve already made the investment in time, forming questions, checking out the pros and cons, and establishing the level of the learning curve—as well as assessing how this might help drive and accentuate important projects—or not.

In short, peer reviews offer invaluable transparency that allows us to figure out whether we want to buy. Considering the level of time that goes not only into 3D design, but the hours spent often in subsequent 3D printing, choosing software can be a serious venture for many.

G2 Crowd takes that process one step further for us, compiling reviews, giving us the results with the highs and lows and in betweens. We reported on their reviews with great interest previously, as these are products which are commonly used or under consideration for use by those greatly involved in 3D design and 3D printing. Known as the ‘industry’s leading review platform,’ this time around G2 Crowd has outdone themselves with 200 reviews regarding eight different civil engineering tools—with today marking their first report on that sector of design tools.

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Compiled by G2 Crowd, the reviews are written by engineering professionals. In their reviews as a whole, G2 Crowd is famous for their Grid, which places design software in different categories, mainly according to merit. While this information is free to the public and highly valuable, those who specialize in fields using the software and products being discussed may want to explore use of their premium research product, which retails at $599. All of this information can be well worth it when one considers the investment that often goes into designing and 3D printing prototypes.

The Grid, based not only on information from engineering professionals, also factors actual user satisfaction as well as their level of presence in the vendor market, analyzed from social ranking data that factors in size, market share, as well as social impact. They use specialized algorithms to provide transparent, unbiased data and lend what is the culmination of an enormous amount of feedback.

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‘Leaders’ are ranked as having the highest vendor market presence, and for this report, the following were named as leaders in civil engineering design software:

  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • Bentley InRoads
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • MicroStation

G2 Crowd also passed along some of the highlighted reviews for this report to us, as follow.

“[AutoCAD Civil 3D] is exceptional in streamlining the ability to make changes and edits to a model/drawing. The changes take effect in real time to all displays of the site,” said Mikhail Potros, Geotechnical Engineer at GEI Consultants, Inc. “The product works fast and efficient, and once learned, commands and rendering features are very helpful in improving work efficiency.”

“Using [Bentley InRoads] to help us design roadways can quickly let the designer / engineer model their design against the existing features,” said Peter Dispenziere, Senior Highway Designer at Hatch Mott MacDonald. “It helps streamline the process of when and if retaining walls are needed and how long they need to be…Creating new or even recreating existing roadway geometry is fast and easy. There has not been a project that [InRoads] has not been a major tool and asset in creating designs and meeting the challenges for our clients.”civ2

While not ranking with as high a market presence as leaders, ‘High Performers’ received high marks from users. For this particular Grid, the one and only high performers was AutoTURN, also receiving ‘the highest overall customer satisfaction score’ as well.

“As a roadway designer, AutoTURN provides an easy and visual method to track vehicle paths as they maneuver through a user specified path,” said David Jackson, Civil Engineer at Michael Baker International. “The preinstalled vehicle library is comprehensive and easy to edit for special circumstances if needed for your project…the time spent learning the software is minimal and well worth the effort to confidently and effectively develop horizontal designs of intersections and civil sites.”

‘Contenders’ are are viewed as valuable resources, but are products that don’t have enough reviews or customer satisfaction points yet. There was only one product in the Contender category, and that was InfraWorks 360.

The ‘Niche’ category lists specialized companies. For this Grid, GeoPak and Carlson Civil were chosen.

G2 Crowd states that out of the almost 20 software vendors listed in the Civil Engineering Design Software category, ‘the eight ranked products each received 10 or more reviews to qualify for inclusion on the Grid.’

Does this information help you, or have you relied on G2 Crowd Grids previously for information before purchasing business products? Tell us your thoughts in the Best Civil Engineering Design Software Spring 2015 Grid forum over at 3DPB.com.

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