BIM takes a leap forward – Autodesk unveils new point layout software

Normally at EpicBIM we do not give mention of particular software. But in this case, the impact of such acquisition sends a profound statement to the industry. Also, this software has been endorsed under it’s previous name “Get the Point (GTP)”. And, in full disclosure, I was once an employee of GTP, where I served as Director of Key Accounts.

Read more about the acquisition here:

So why is this purchase so “Profound”?

In my view it is NOT because of the two large players going at each other, as some would like to believe. It is because this is a strong step to put BIM into the hands of every day users! The software has always had the ability to do this, but recognition from the leading software manufacture in our market place sounds a larger message of importance.

To help those unfamiliar with point creation software and how it can impact your business let me try and briefly explain. In a lot of cases a ‘Virtual Model’ is no different than the architectural models we used to find (or in some cases still do) at a pre-bid meeting, sitting in the front under a glass case. They are pretty and very cool to look at, and in most instances taking a long time to craft to the liking of the owner. But, as a tradesman, I could not build from it! Even if it was assembled to scale with complete clash avoidance it served me no purpose. Hence, why I could not wait to get my hands on a set of drawings, like in so many occasions still today.

This is where the impact of point creation software comes into play. Knowing that most money is won and lost in the field during the building process, making a connection to a sure fit is “Profound” to so many. This impact carries over into operations and maintenance of the facility by having access to accurate as-built information. That is why making a geospatial correlation to the model for precise down and out measurements in the field puts this creation into the hands of the day-to-day laborer and increasing the user base of BIM. This also helps bring light that BIM is not a single source software, but a process we embrace.

There are some important things to learn here. The industry better take note that BIM is here to stay! This is what will define greater use of Building Information Modeling and Management. No longer will those using it as a check box to win an award find themselves in the hunt.

There will most likely be some more interesting mergers and acquisitions coming down the pipe over the next year. Compile this with other recent purchases, new players entering the market, and we will continue see the software mature. This will solidify the process for BIM and other technology adoption. Organizations will face the challenge of implementing practical BIM; even those that hoisted themselves to the tip of spear will find this to be a struggle. A movement like this will guarantee the shift so many of us have been talking about and exposing those for whom they are. The “BIMwashers” that have hid behind the smoke and mirrors of a visual model will be left behind. This is also a great indication that BIM is not a destination, but yet a journey we are just beginning.

I would like to leave you with this… “A Point is a Point!” Don’t over complicate it!


  1. Could you explain what the technology you're talking about actually is?

    • The world is made up of 'Points' or x,y, z location in the virtual world. These are translated to down and out, up and down measurements in the real-world. On a project site there is always a starting point (control), these are generally placed by a land surveyor. There are generally multiple starting points (control points) for reference. From there traditional method has been as simple as pulling tape from each point to find field placement where they intersect. In most cases today you find the use of GPS or total stations to locate those points. But, there are real-life environmental conditions that exist and slight location variance can occur from time to time affecting project stakeholders. Electronic hardware can capture this deviance, but in either case is not always shared to the appropriate party(s).

      Point software like Autodesk Point Layout exposes such x,y,z (point) in the virtual model. This software allows you to embed those point within a specific system or model element. For example; if you were laying out the piers on a project you can apply both these methods and most likely achieve acceptable accuracy. But having the points exposed in a model represented by a dynamic cube, you can visualize this information and export it quickly into such electronic devices. From there if a deviation is captured in the field it can be instantly reported back to the model and used in coordination. This particular software allows you to do that seamlessly. Proving to reduce rework and trade coordination effort. You can also communicate field placement and project completion percentage with the owner.

      This is a very simple explanation I hope you understand, the use of such systems can get very specific if you would like them too, but keeping it simple can produce greater acceptance. With all my involvement around BIM, I have not seen a larger return on investment than field integration. It is very easy to apply tangible numbers to the ROI, which allows easier executive explanation too.

      There is also a need to the industry this fills. And that is long term use of the visual aspect of the model used in downstream process like facility management. if you are maintaining a building or campus having accurate as-built information is key, and lacking in current turn over deliverables. Having a geospatial connection to this information is important for other integrations like with GIS, and knowing there are going to be constant changes during the building life-cycle.

      Hope this helps!

  2. @Paul: Yes, John is correct. Also the more advanced total stations have EDM (electronic distance meter) which can measure real-time distances. Very cool stuff!

    Check my post on Point Layout if you would like to learn more.

  3. "You know… I have one simple request, and that is to have tripods with frickin' LASER beams attached to their mounts. … Can you remind me what I pay you people for? Honestly."

    • @Paul good idea but we don't make software or hardware. I know Todd over at GTP now Autodesk made a prisim that utilized lasers to locate the points above and below with a great slide attachment that goes in both the X and Y locations.

    • My last field measure was done with a "Total Station", complete with laser beam. Good times were had by all.

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