A Case for Automation

March 6, 2019 Kevin Breslin

A Short Story:

A friend and co-worker at an engineering firm I was working with at many years ago heard me complaining about a time-consuming repetitive task I was dealing with in AutoCAD. My friend offered to create a LISP routine (i.e. macro) for me to automate the redundant parts of the task I was dealing with and after just a minute or two, a new “command” was created within my AutoCAD.  While I don’t have specific numbers to cite, I can say that the impact on my performance/efficiency/productivity as it related to that project skyrocketed!  No matter how fast I worked prior to the new LISP routine, I would never been able to achieve the same levels of efficiency I was achieving post LISP routine. 

In that instant, I was convinced of the value of customization and automation as a means to increase productivity and efficiency.

Fast forward a quarter of a century and we’re still working with AutoCAD (AutoCAD-based programs like Civil 3D) where we’ve seen tremendous advancements and tons of new tools, utilities and abilities, all designed to enhance our productivity and efficiency.  Does this mean, that there’s no more need for improvement and that everyone’s needs are now “out of the box”?  I would say “No”.

Despite all of the advancements in the latest versions of the software we use, the ability to further optimize the software to provide users enhanced abilities can be as impactful as ever.

One of the great additional advantages we have today, is in addition to the software itself being very powerful, is that we now also have more powerful forms of automation at our disposal.  In addition to simple tools like LISP, there are other more complex tools available to developers which allow them to tap into deeper aspects of the software, giving us the ability to create ever more advanced and powerful forms of automation.

At IMAGINiT, we have the ability to leverage these tools which allows us to develop substantial, impactful and productivity enhancing abilities for our customers. These same development tools are also available to everyone else, which means if you have the time, tools and abilities, you can manipulate the already powerful abilities of Autodesk software and make it even better.

While I don’t do much programming myself these days, I’m glad to say that at IMAGINiT we have people on staff that have a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience with development/automation in a wide range of forms. Whether it be simple LISP routines, to .NET-based supplemental functionality within an Autodesk program (e.g. IMAGINiT’s Utilities for Civil 3D), or stand-alone programs that provide entirely unique abilities to perform tasks ranging from database management, web development and data processing, the possibilities are endless.

If your organization is struggling with time-draining repetitive tasks, or have a need that no "off the shelf" software meets, reach to IMAGINiT and we can explore what the possibilities are.

About the Author

Kevin Breslin

Professional Services Director, Civil <br> Kevin began working in the civil engineering and survey industry in 1985 and has continually built on this foundation to become an expert in civil design and infrastructure data management software. He has been involved in every aspect of the industry from field surveying to transportation systems, as well as managing a CAD design group within a civil engineering firm. <br> Kevin's passion for technology combined with his unique insights to the business processes of engineering firms makes him an accomplished leader for the infrastructure solutions team.

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