Haven't Upgraded To The MicroStation V8 Format Yet

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 Original Author:Tim Hickman, Technical Support Group

For those organizations that still haven't moved from MicroStation to MicroStation V8, but are planning to, there is a good bit to consider. The format is very different than any previous versions of MicroStation; in fact it is the only significant format change in Bentley history.

Now in its second version as MicroStation V8 2004, this format includes many dramatically improved capabilities over the original MicroStation format. To reap the benefits, however, users must meet the challenge of moving pre-V8 data into the V8 format. This is where the CAD manager must make some important decisions: Do I do it myself? Do I hire an outside source? What is involved in such a task?

It is the CAD manager's task to set up an environment where the users will be able to work efficiently, determining the best possible workflow for the company. Without proper planning, tools that could enhance productivity will become cumbersome and ultimately useless for the user.

There is no standard checklist for a migration to MicroStation V8 because MicroStation is not used the same way in every company, site, or discipline. With careful analysis and planning, you can build a customized strategy specifically for your organization's needs.

Building Your Migration Plan

The first step: Look at all the data you use on a daily basis. This is the same data you will need to move into the new format. If you were to take everything you needed for your CAD data and put it in a folder for a client, to backup, or to move to a new server on your network, that is the very same data that you want to move to the MicroStation V8 file format.

With a clear understanding of your data, you can begin building your migration strategy. Asking key questions is the best way to begin.

How are you currently using MicroStation?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, you will need to investigate and find out.

Incorporating the New Functionality

Getting your data over to the new format is only half the battle. You'll want to start using some of the new functionality in the MicroStation V8, which may affect the way you currently manage your CAD department. MicroStation V8 has a lot more to offer the CAD manager when it comes to controlling company standards, including:

You'll need to sit down and figure out how the MicroStation V8 format is going to be used. While this advice might sound simplistic, you have many more options to consider now. You now have unlimited levels, you can work on pre-V8 files, and you can also work on DWG files directly. It is up to the CAD manager to determine how this data is accessed. Will everything remain in its current format, or will we upgrade to MicroStation V8? Does the company deliver a final project in V7-DGN, V8-DGN, or DWG?

Ask yourself these questions:

Beginning the Migration - One Project at a Time

If you have a lot of data and many projects that need upgrading, it will be best to do your migration a little at a time, rather than all in one big step (perhaps doing one project at a time, starting with the smaller ones first). By doing it one project at a time, you will give yourself a chance to find anything you may have missed or forgot to cover (using sheet files and models as compared to your current referencing of files, for example).

Working in your favor is the MicroStation V8 directory structure, which is almost identical to that of MicroStation/J. If you have a custom workspace in place, you can most likely use it with MicroStation V8. The new format uses the existing configuration variables, along with new variables that allow more functionality and control. However, the pre-V8 user preference file (*upf) cannot be used in the MicroStation V8 workspace.

If you have been using MicroStation right out of the box, un-modified, your migration to the MicroStation V8 format will be a lot easier than that of someone who has customized MicroStation.

Ask yourself the following for each project:

Educating the Users

Educating your users on MicroStation V8 is the best way save time while migrating. Provide them with a new workflow and good set of reference materials in addition to training.

Avoid Common Problem Areas

The following questions will help you avoid common problem areas during migration:

Further resources:

The Bentley Institute offers training for migrating to MicroStation V8.

Bentley Professional Services can assist your organization in making the change to MicroStation V8