Time to put a nice bow on this whole package. We did a full round trip of exporting data from Navisworks, adding some more data, and then bringing it back in to the Navisworks file. Here are some general grab bag thoughts and resources you can use.
This is a really powerful addition to the Navisworks solution. Having the ability to embed straight up data into the model should open a lot of potential opportunities for leveraging existing data in other formats.
The connection to your Excel file is live, as far as I can tell. Every time I made a change in Excel and then saved it, that change was immediately reflected in my Navisworks property (or at least I had to deselect the item and then select it again, and then I saw the new data). One thing to remind you about: watch out for your cell data type on the Excel file. If the column is “General” and you put a number in, Navisworks might add some decimal places to it. And a weird hiccup is when your entire column is all numbers except for a single cell. That cell’s value won’t get applied in Navisworks. It’s like one of those cells defines the data type and if it finds one that doesn’t match, Navisworks ignores it. I don’t have a lot of proof for this theory, but so far it holds up.
These connections can be exported and imported if you set it up once and need to export it around. I imagine you would have to be careful about the ODBC driver settings hopping from one PC to another, but it is an option.
And you can use any other ODBC connection that you want. MSSQL obviously comes to mind, but so does MySQL, and I’m confident many other web based data sources can expose their data through ODBC. Frankly, as a nerd, i’m getting excited about the possibilities.
A quick link here to W3 School’s SQL page, if you want to start diving into refining your SQL statements; there is a lot of power and potential there that you could do when you are building your data links. My example is a very specific one to one link, but you could easily make a connection that populates data for all your windows, or all materials of a specific type. You just need to adjust your SQL statement and make sure the data in your data source fits.
I hope you got some good information out of this series, and if you are using a Navisworks data link to pull in some data that is useful and exciting to you, we would love to hear about it below.