Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Future of Civil 3D...

Well Autodesk University 2008 is finally over and I'm sitting here in the airport waiting for the airplane to arrive that takes me back to Austin. My brain is so full of stuff that I want to share with my fellow employees and I can't wait to get back to work and start sharing.

I would like to thank Dana Probert for spending some time with T. J. and me visiting about Civil 3D. Dana is such a great person and is always excited to share her knowledge and ideas with everyone she meets. Here's one of the things she shared with us.

Autodesk is always looking for people like you that want to help influence the future of the software. There are several ways to do this.

  1. One way to influence the future of Autodesk products is to join AUGI at and submit requests to the Civil 3D wish list. There is also a discussion forum for the Civil 3D wish list items. Be sure to read the details about submission cycles and check the forums often in case someone has a question about the wish that you submitted or you can ask someone else questions about their wish. Most of the time there are more wishes that I want than the ten for which I cast votes (the limit of votes you get for wish list items). So maybe you can add your agreement to a wish in the discussion forum even if it doesn't make your "top ten" list.
  2. Send an email to ANYONE at Autodesk using the standard Autodesk email format FirstName dot LastName at autodesk dot com. This includes emails to Carl Bass. Now I'm not saying that Carl Bass is the one that's going to read that email, but the email will get forwarded to the proper department if it's appropriate. By an appropriate email, I'm suggesting that you include opinions or suggestions for future releases of the product. Sending an email saying that you hate the product or that it crashes too often will not make the software any better. Saying that you would like to be able to edit parcel line segment lables could help shape the future of the software. (I submitted this wish list item and even though it wasn't in the top ten, this ability became available in Civil 3D 2009.)
  3. Another way that you can get involved with the future of the software is to sign up for beta testing of the product. This can be done by visiting the MyFeedback website at and creating a login. You will need to be active in the discussion forums if you want to be selected to test the software. The developers do read these discussions so again, be positive and give suggestions on what you would like to see done with future releases. If you are selected to participate in a beta test of the software, make sure that you give feedback on what you see and how you like it. Also keep in mind that by the time beta testing starts, the current feature set is pretty much locked so don't think that you'll be able to request a new feature at that time and see it in the final deliverable product. The development team definitely reads these forums and responds appropriately. Many of these discussions result in future enhancements of the product. Participating in MyFeedback with Autodesk requires you to digitally sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement so discussions about what you see on the site must remain there. It's very important!
  4. While you are browsing the MyFeedback forums, volunteer to participate in Usability Studies. If you don't see a Usability Study that you want on the MyFeedback site, contact Kate Russell at (yep, you guessed it) Kate dot Russell at autodesk dot com. Kate is a Usability Engineer for Autodesk and if you tell her why you should be selected to participate in future studies, she will add you to the list of potential usability study participants. Be forewarned, if you are chosen, then you'll be required to sign appropriate Non-Disclosure Agreements that bind you and your company to secrecy about . There are several reasons for this and Autodesk if very strict about you abiding by these agreements. DON'T TAKE THEM LIGHTLY!
You can participate in multiple product studies or betas, but don't get involved in so many that you don't give each test the time necessary to truly evaluate it properly.

Well, looks like the plane has arrived, so now that you know how to participate, get out there and get involved so you too can be a "co-designer" of future releases of Civil 3D!

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