Interaction >> Interpretation >> Action
This short document has a simple purpose: to encourage useful software development in the architecture, engineering, construction industry via clearer methods of interaction with models, in order to move faster from model interaction, to insight, to action.
There is no reason to aim low. The industry needs good, solid, useful ways to interact with and interpret models, because model usage is increasing, along with model complexity, The kinds of interactions made by “users” within digital models is diverse.
It’s worth remarking that interaction initiates interpretation. And interpretation precedes action.
There is a lot of room here for innovation, for simple improvement in interaction/interpretation techniques.
“(Point) Clouds are fluffy balls of useless information until someone interprets it.”Karsten Evans on LinkedIn
Ancient interpretive techniques
Drawing is a primary model interaction technique, essential for enabling interpretation. Its history is a treasure trove of interpretative efficacy, a legacy not to discard but to learn from and extend. A drawing is not “lines and arcs”, as many say. It is a method of interaction with models that fuels interpretation.
One may ask:
“Digital models are only decades old. So how can (ancient) drawings be interpretative devices for models?”
Because models are ancient too. Before digitalization, models were held in the memory, formed in the mind. The mental model of course remains primary today. The digital model, like the physical model; is secondary; its purpose: to establish the mental model.
All models remain fuzzy, even digital models, until they are clarified, sharpened through interaction. The more interaction, the more interpretation, the more understanding, the better support for appropriate action.
There is a great deal of space remaining in the trajectory of software development, for enhancing and extending the myriad possible techniques for model interaction, interactions that develop higher quality interpretation and support determining appropriate action.
Let’s leave behind finally the weak idea that:
“drawings are lines and arcs”(deprecate this notion)
Model interaction techniques to develop
Enhance interaction techniques with modeled data to increase interpretative quality and efficacy.
- Develop the evolution of drawing’s form, within digital models, as described in the functional specification, Chapter 3 of the book: Tangerine Media Innovation Spec 2018.
Read it for free on Apple Books or as PDF. Chapter 3 is the software spec (pages 17-48). The rest of the book is commentary.
- Unfold any set of drawings into various kinds of flat arrays on demand. Drawings are dealt with by visualizing them at different “stations”. Drawings on sheets, and drawings in-situ within models, are only two of numerous other “stations” at which drawings may be authored, reviewed, compared with each other, edited, and generally used as interpretive devices for understanding complex digital environments.
On demand, array any set of drawings into a custom flat array (so that multiple drawings may viewed and worked with at once together), with editing supported from within the array. Again on demand, station the drawings back in-situ within the model.
Users typically arrange a set of plans and sections, with or without details, together in an array, in columns or rows, arranged in different ways in the “model space” of a CAD file. They do this because it is essentially useful to do so, to see relations across many drawings at once.
- Related to above (2), the format of the drawings, in-model and unfold-able into an array, should be supported in various graphics editors/apps. Consider the format of the drawing entities. They should be editable in a wide array of editors.
- Address aspects of drawing that are unique to various engineering domains and industries. Some drawing types are unique, like piping and instrumentation diagrams, P&IDs. These may evolve as well, and may be author-able and accessible in-situ within Plant models.
- Improve the graphic legibility of the fusion of drawings within models (this is an umbrella category full of small improvements compared to drawing-model fusion apps currently available).
- Support integration of digital models — with interaction/interpretation techniques (1,2,3,4,5 above) embedded] within other environments like:
- CAD and BIM apps
- Add more here…