Bentley I-model, interaction via ODBC

I-model is the Bentley proposal to popularize the display of the dgn files, with the possibility of analyzing, consulting and highlighting the embedded XML. While there are plugins to interact with AutoDesk Revit and iPad, perhaps the functionalities created for PDF readers and Windows 7 browser is most evident in this new stage.

To download these plugins, you have to enter the iWare applications page for Bentley Systems interoperability. It is necessary to have a Bentley SELECT account, if you do not have one, you register or ask that you remember the password to your mail. The application to download is called i-model ODBC Driver for Windows 7, there are other drivers, some in beta version.

The I-model is a dgn file, Which has been generated by any Bentley application (Microstation, Bentley Map, Geopak, etc.), which has the variant of To have its objects associated with xml nodes, So that it can be read and analyzed from Common use programs, Such as databases, Excel, Outlook, including Windows Explorer 7.

Not all Bentley versions can generate an I-model, in the case of the geospatial line, it can do it Bentley Map, but no Bentley Power View.

Let's see in this case, how does access to the I-model through the ODBC connector

Creating the ODBC from Windows 7

None of this exists for pre-Windows 7 versions, hereafter there is both 32 and 64 bits. Once the installer is downloaded, depending on the most recent version it has a name like Dodd01000007en.msi Is executed and ready:

When you access the Control Panel, in Administrative Tools and ODBC Data Sources you can see that it is now possible to create a new one that serves as a bridge to read I-models. Here you specify the name of the access, the description and the folder where the dgn files are contained.

Bentley imodel

Once ODBC is created, it can be accessed from Access, Excel, SAP Crystal Reports, from VBA or any other database that supports ODBC. This is, in practice, the migration of the traditional Mslink, which only understood Bentley, to the xfm node that is embedded as an xml node and that is a simple dgn called I-model. The difficult thing to do applications for Bentley, is that not doing it from VBA complicated to analyze the dgn, because you could hardly see the mslink and the basic data exported to a link table.

In the case of Excel

To access it, from the Data tab, choose From Other Sources, then From Data Connection Wizard, ODBC DSN And then the I-model data source.

Bentley imodel

Notice that once choosing the file dgn, you can see as if it were database, all the objects contained there. Surprising, if we remember that the beginning of the XFM Was quite suffering.

Bentley imodel

The data comes within a range of cells that can be defined in the process. Already within Excel, you can do the necessary operations that this allows.

Bentley imodel

If we do it from Access

From Access you can do more, not just import them; In case we are only interested in linking them as an external table:

In the Table ToolsWe chose External Data, then More, ODBC Database. Here we decide to Link to the data source by creating a linked table And there it is, our dgn seen from Access.

Bentley imodel

Here it is possible to associate them to another base, as for example, the parcels of a map to the base of tributary standard. This maintains a direct link between the map and the base, then you can create integrity standards, reports, etc.

From SAP Crystal Reports

Create a new, using the Report Wizard, Standard, ODBC (ADO), Bentley I-model. Then select the dgn file, in the folder where the ODBC directed us.

Bentley imodel

So simple (well, not so much)

Bentley imodel

Also comes an example of ADO.NET project in C # that can work with Visual Studio 2008, and shows how development works for an application that interacts with an I-model via ODBC. This, depending on our installation, should be stored in the route:

C: \ ProgramData \ Microsoft \ Windows \ Start Menu \ Programs \ Bentley \ i-model ODBC Driver for Windows 7 (beta)

I think it's a significant step for Bentley, to bring the DNG closer to the user. In this case, it is to make the dgn / dwg file read as a database; what opens the door to stop seeing it as a vector file and can interact with it linking it to other databases used by other applications.

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