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January 23, 2012

AutoCAD Map 3D 2012 software from Autodesk Inc.

AUTODESK INC.

An example of Autodesk Inc.’s AutoCAD Map 3D 2012 software. The computer-aided design and building information modeling vendor has entered into an alliance with Pitney Bowes Software, which makes MapInfo line of geographic information systems products.

Autodesk software alliance with Pitney Bowes aims to combine engineering design, mapping software

Computer-aided design software maker Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) has announced an alliance with Pitney Bowes Software Inc. (NYSE:PBI) that will bring geographic information systems (GIS) from MapInfo to Autodesk users.

With the alliance, the companies are aiming to provide software to infrastructure professionals that will provide GIS, building information modeling (BIM) and asset management through all phases of projects.

Autodesk software is useful for aggregating data from DWG files (the format for AutoCAD drawings), survey data and GIS, said Rich Humphrey, director of the civil infrastructure business line at San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk.

“We’re good at aggregating that in the BIM environment and editing that GIS data to do some analytics,” said Humphrey.

“But, where we had a weakness, is where Pitney Bowes’ strength is, which is how do I take all that data that has been aggregated by the Autodesk, in an engineering-friendly environment, and use it to do much more detailed GIS and business analytics so people can make better decisions leveraging that data?”

Pitney Bowes Software is a division of Pitney Bowes Inc., whose core products include postage meters, copiers, scanners and barcode products. Its current software includes technology from Troy, N.Y.-based MapInfo Corp. (which it acquired in 2007) and Lanham, Md.-based Group 1 Software Inc., which it acquired in 2004.

James Buckley, Pitney Bowes Software’s senior vice-president and general manager for customer data and location intelligence, said his firm and Autodesk plan to integrate their products so there is “better data flow” and they plan to target the transportation, mining, natural resources industries, plus local governments.

“Our teams will work together on making that user experience much better than it would be and productized in a way that it wouldn’t be if you just went out and bought all the products independently,” he said.

Buckley added that in the long term, the companies may collaborate on new software “but short-term, it’s really how do you put the products together in a way that’s compelling and adds value to the customers?”

Humphrey said the firms will probably allow Autodesk users to launch web content services from Pitney Bowes and have a “clean download” of data into Autodesk software.

He added they are working on a workflow product for the mining industry that would allow users to pull in data during the exploration phase.

“Autodesk is really good at taking the next step and saying, now that I know where the resources are, how do I go and design and then construct the mine development and the construction of the infrastructure and plant and conveyance systems around that?’” he said.

“It’s very representative of the BIM story. Instead of losing data fidelity as you go from one phase to the next, you actually get into the construction phase, which with a mine is really a large land development project,” explained Buckley.

“The contractor will be able to leverage all that information that was early on in the exploration phase, environmental planning all the way to detailed design.”

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