Introduction to SpecMonitor

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Standardize your MicroStation files as you create them!

The problem: You and your team of designers keep getting designs rejected due to violations of CAD standards. Quick solution: Use SpecMonitor, the program that enforces CAD standards as elements are created.

The purpose of SpecMonitor is to automate quality assurance and quality control — to greatly assist you in the creation of standard drawings, without the need for tedious, costly, time-consuming proofreading and correction after-the-fact. If an element being created doesn’t follow your CAD standards, SpecMonitor will prevent it from being placed.

For example, a draftsperson is placing text describing an item in the design. Company CAD standards require all text to go on level 60. The active level is still set to level 10 (where he was just working). He mistakenly places text on level 10. Without SpecMonitor, he might go on for hours placing text on the wrong level and never realize the mistake (until submission time). With SpecMonitor, the user is notified as he attempts to place text on the wrong level. With the click of a button, the text is automatically moved to the correct level. But SpecMonitor goes further – with the click of a button he can correct the active settings so that subsequent element placement will be correct.

How does it do it?
In order to enforce CAD standards, SpecMonitor must be told what the CAD standards are. This step is for the CAD manager, who must define “rules” which tell SpecMonitor what the CAD standards are, what SpecMonitor tells users each time the rule is violated and how to correct each type of violation. These rules are easily created using SpecMonitor’s companion program, RuleManager. Once CAD standards have been defined, SpecMonitor is ready to enforce the standards.

In order to intercept CAD standard violations, SpecMonitor constantly runs in the background. When a rule is violated, a dialog box like the one shown below will appear.

SpecMonitor dialog box showing CAD standard violation with a correction clause.

Automatically change it
In the example above, the user was trying to place an element with color 4 on the Default level. Per the defined CAD standards, this is a violation. To correct this particular violation, all the user would have to do is click on <Change> or <Change & Update> to automatically change the element’s color to color 3.

<Change> changes the element symbology to correct the standards and allows it to be placed in the file. <Change & Update> changes the element symbology and MicroStation’s active settings to ensure that subsequent elements don’t violate the same CAD standard. For example, if the correction is to make the blue element red, <Change & Update> will make the element red, place it in the design file and make the active color in MicroStation red.

If the user doesn’t want to place the element, he can reject it.

The <Reject> button does just that, reject elements. <Reject All> is for cases involving moving or placing multiple elements, like a fence copy. If there are multiple elements queued up which violate the CAD standards, the user can push <Reject All> once instead of pressing <Reject> dozens or hundreds of times. This way SpecMonitor can help to enforce the CAD standards without being burdensome.

Ignore standards?
There is the third option of ignoring an element that violates CAD standards. Since this function allows users to ignore CAD standards violations, the CAD manager may choose to leave the <Ignore> and <Ignore All> buttons disabled. However, in some situations — like when developing new standards — users may want to be notified of CAD standards violations but be allowed to place those off-standard elements anyway.

In closing
SpecMonitor’s main benefit is its ability to enforce design file standards during the design phase of a project. Consistency and uniformity of design files can easily be achieved using it. By enforcing correct standards, SpecMonitor helps organize design files and facilitates project management.

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