Concepts

Concepts

The following section describes the major concepts of using DMS-LMS. This is required reading for all users of DMS-LMS.
Generally speaking, a Cad user checks-out a managed drawing, updates it and checks it in. Allowing the changes to be publicly available to the online users of the system.

DMS-LMS-Structure-01.png

Structure in DMS-LMS

Data-Structure

DMS-LMS gets all of it’s data and rule-bases from the current connected Accordant Instance. For this to function correctly, DMS-LMS relies on a very strongly type structure which represents floors data. This starts with Estates (containers for Buildings). Buildings (containers for Floors). Floors (container for Rooms / Space). Room / Space (containers for Locations). Rooms / Space and Locations are created by the DMS-LMS Cad Extension.

Rooms / Space

Rooms / Space are Cad polylines on specific layers. The layers are derived from the Room Type. Each major Room Type is linked to one or more Cad layer. So when the drawing is being processed by DMS-LMS and it’s layer is one linked to a Room Type. A polyline is considered to be space object.
Rooms / Space due to the fact they are derived from poylines (and own space) are considered to be the owners of Locations (objects inside the space). If there are no space objects on the drawing, each location is owned by the default RCOPS (Remaining Chargeable Open-Plan space) space object. The default space object is consider to have zero space.

Locations

Locations are Cad Block-Table-Records (Inserts) with a specific attribute attached. The attribute tag is defined in the instance variable object table (Variable ‘LOC_TAG’). So when the drawing is being processed by DMS-LMS and a BTR (Insert) with an attribute tag the same as the variable ‘LOC_TAG’ is read, it is considered as a Location object.

In Cad

So inside CAD: Polylines on certain layers and Inserts with specific attributes add and synchronize data with an Accordant instance. In addition to this Room types and Sub-types add character to space objects and Location types and (Managed) symbols as character to Locations.

DMS-LMS-StructureDMS-01.png

DMS share structure

Drawing Management over the Internet

When an Accordant instance is created, it is allocated a main document share and a symbol library document share. There is NO public access to these areas. The only way to populate them with drawings is via DMS’s check-out and check-in methods. These methods are only available from inside the DMS-LMS Cad Extension.
A DMS share is a special file system the understands the need for a document to be either top-copy (Master) or a managed, project-based copy (Schema). Once a document has been created, the user can not:

  • Rename it
  • Move it to another location
  • Make unmanaged copies of it.

This is not a bug or an omission. By design DMS does not let you do any of these typical file operations. DMS is only interested in managing a top-copy version of the drawing. It will record a full history of activity:

  • Who (and where) a drawing was check-out to.
  • When and why it was checked-in.

This is essential for the operation of DMS that each drawing can only be accessed via the check-out and check-in methods. Allow additional method of access, such as FTP, will lead to unmanaged access of drawing information and then critical system errors.
All Managed documents regardless of type are checked-in to commit changes to the Accordant instance. A checked-in drawing will copy the previous checked-in version of itself to a system roll-back folder. Users can at anytime revert to any available rolled-back version of the drawing.
If a user requires it, more document shares can be created under an Accordant instance.

Check-out

Checking-out a drawing will download it from a DMS share and store it on the CAD users local drawing Cache area. The drawing will be locked against the user and the workstation.
Once a drawing is downloaded and locked it CAN NOT be fully-accessed by another user.
Out of interest, if a user checks-out a drawing on a specific Workstation, He/She can not access in on another Workstation. The Checked-out drawing is specifically locked again the user AND the PC.
Other users can download the drawing as a read-only overlay and use it as a ‘backdrop’ to their current drawing.
From the Cad application, the user requests to check-out in one of three methods:

  • Check-out a Master drawing
  • Check-out a Schema drawing
  • Check-out any other drawing

Master drawings are the ‘top-copy’ version of a floor-plate discipline. Schemas are managed copies of master drawings. Any other drawings are non-floor plate discipline drawings.
Drawings remain checked-out to the user indefinitely. So the Cad application can be closed and re-opened without losing the check-out status. Only three things can change this:

  • If the user successfully checks-in the drawing and closes it.
  • If the user discards the checked-out drawing
  • If the system administrator breaks the check-out lock.

Users of DMS can check-out a drawing from anywhere they have a valid Internet connection.++++ Check-in
Checking-in a drawing is the only way a CAD User can change information on an Accordant instance. It this the main thoroughfare for adding complex graphics and data objects to a production system.
Users could have a drawing checked-out for several days to work on and only by correctly checking-in the drawing are those changes make public. If a check-out is discarded, the changes are not added to the system.
Typically a check-in will do the following in order:

  1. Do Floor discipline specific data synchronisation
  2. Upload drawing
  3. Save Roll-back and update DMS history
  4. Return control the the user.

Each Floor discipline has it’s own rule-base which is DMS’s why of maintaining qualitiy control over the check-in.

Check-in

Checking-in a drawing is the only way a CAD User can change information on an Accordant instance. It this the main thoroughfare for adding complex graphics and data objects to a production system.
Users could have a drawing checked-out for several days to work on, and only by correctly checking-in the drawing are those changes make public. If a check-out is discarded, the changes are not added to the system and are lost.
Typically a check-in will do the following in order:

  1. Do Floor discipline specific data synchronisation
  2. Upload drawing
  3. Save Roll-back and update DMS history
  4. Return control the the user.

Each Floor discipline has it’s own rule-base which is DMS’s way of maintaining qualitiy control over the check-in.

Roll-back

Roll-backs are previous checked-in versions of a particular drawing. Each roll-back is stored in a special system folder under a DMS share (./_chki/) and remains available as a roll-back as long as the system administrator maintains the folder (Disk-space could become an issue and the system administrator reserves the right the archieve older roll-backs.
A user can ONLY roll-back a drawing that is currently checked-out to them.
As with all types of check-out, a roll-back is downloaded from the DMS share and written over the currently checked-out drawing on the users Local Cache. The Accordant Instance is NOT updated or rolled-back in anyway. The only way to synchronise the older drawing with the instance is to check it in. This, obviously will require it to pass the drawing specific Floor discipline rule-base for the check-in.
Typically users check-out a drawing, and then ‘step-through’ each roll-back (downloading in the CAD application each time) to review the previous version of a drawing. By design this does not roll-back the Accordant instance. Only check-in can do that.

Re-check-out

A Re-check-out is a simple variation on a roll-back. It allows a locally checked-out drawing to be overwritten with the ‘top-copy’ version on the DMS share.
For example, a user may have checked-out a drawing and worked on it for several days. The proposed changes are only contained in the locally Cached copy of the drawing. The scope of work changes and the user realises it would be easier to start the changes again from the top-copy. The Re-check-out directly copies the top-copy from the DMS share, overwritting the Locally Cached version.

Drawings and Floor disciplines

Drawings and their relationship with floor disciplines is a major concept within DMS-LMS. This is how the system organises information to allow the most multi-user productivity while using CAD.
A drawing is a single file. For both AutoCAD and ZwCAD, this is a DWG file type. By definition, once a user has access to a drawing, He/She can fully change it’s contents. In a floor-plate this may be a risky situation. The following issues are typical:

  • The user may inadvertently delete ‘hidden’ data from a different discipline.
  • A queue of users may form, waiting for a file to be available to edit.
  • If a DWG become corrupt ALL the information from one floor-plate is lost.
  • Users end up adding schema (What-if) information to the drawing as hidden layers.
DMS-LMS-Floorplate-01.png

Floor-plates in DMS-LMS


To resolve these issues DMS-LMS introduces the concept of Floor disciplines.

Floor-plates

Floor disciplines take the idea of a floor-plate (coordinate-aligned floor-specific information) and breaks it into several workable drawings. Each drawing contains a set of information that is commonly edited together.
By having one discipline in the ‘foreground’ and several in the ‘background’ as overlays, the overall image is one of a completely rich floor-plate with lots of coordinated information.
The ‘foreground’ discipline is the only one available to edit.
Each disciplined drawing (Masters) has the ability to spawn many managed copies (Schemas) in the Move Manager system.
So to summarise: a discipline drawing is a common grouping of drawing objects, specific to one floor, encapsulated inside one DWG file.
Discipline drawings share the same origin point, scale and orientation, making it possible to easily overlay them to produce one complete picture of the floor-plate.
Users can create there own disciplines.
The following are standard to DMS-LMS:

  • Core
    Static structure of a floor-plate. Typically the shell and services.
  • Furniture (Primary discipline)
    Typically Furniture, Storage, Screening and Partitions as componentized symbols.
  • Space
    SPLAN polylines organised to represent the space usage of a floor-plate
  • Above
    Reflected ceiling plans and Air-conditioning systems.
  • Below
    Floor grid and data / voice access points.

The primary discipline is ‘Furniture’. This is because Locatable objects are generate here. If a user wishes to start out in a simplified fashion, they can just begin with one drawing file, based on this discipline. This can contain all the information for a floor-plate (Core, Furniture, Space and so on) and is an easier way to start populating the Accordant instance with information. They can always break the drawing file into different Floor disciplines at a later stage or as more users require access.

Code Description
C2 Core Master
FM Furniture Master
SM Space Master
AM Above-Floor Master
BM Below-Floor Master

Master drawing types

Master drawings

A Master drawing is a Floor discipline base on top-copy, as-is information. It is considered to express a view of the a particular floor is as it currently is in real-life.
The standard discipline-types types are as follows:
Master drawings generate a variety of data for an Accordant instance related to a given floor-plate:

Building Grid (FM Only)

This is a 2 Dimensional array of columns and rows. The Building grid defines the position in CAD coordinates of every floor under one building. Typically users create this to show the ‘best’ layout of the floors under a building, but more expert users align this grid to the structure and layout of the building as provided by the Architectural drawings.

Element Meaning
Floor Floor prefix (ie 22 = 22nd floor)
Zone Unique code for the area of the floor (ie N = North zone)
X-Tile Number of X-tiles along (ie 25 = 25 tiles along)
Y-Tile Number of Y-tiles across (ie 11 = 11 tiles across)
Region Tile-base character (ie A = the A position on the tile region).

Breakdown of location label

Location Grid (FM Only)

A Location Grid is a rule-base for generating location labels. Essentially it is a series of named Zones (Closed boundaries) each with a mini 2D grid attached which will generate a location label. The label is organised to read for left to right becoming more meaningful and localised to a position as read. Location Grids as like postcodes. A given position of a symbol will generate a positional location label. If a Locatable symbol is moved from one position to another it will generate a new location label. If it is moved back to it’s original position it gets the original code. There are lots of variations on this, but typically the anatomy of a label is:
So based on this, the location label would read 22N2511A. A Location Grid can exist in one of three ways:

  • In drawing
    As a series of polylines and attributed symbols. This is the easiest method of attaching a grid to a floor. The grid only exists inside the drawing and is ever actually published on the Accordant instance. The downside of this method is that it is easy for the grid to be altered
    by anyone who has access to the drawing.
  • Floor
    Published in the Accordant instance. This grid is available to only to the FM drawing on this specific floor. It is fixed and only can’t be easily changed.
  • Building
    Published in the Accordant instance. This grid is avaible to all FM drawings associate with a specific building (Unless a Floor level grid override one floor).
DMS-LMS-ExampleFloorImage-01.png

A typical 200 x 200 floor image

Scaled Floor image (FM and C2 only)

A 200 x 200 pixel GIF image of the floor which also embeds CAD origin and scaling information to allow various online applications to overlay dynamic information.
DMS-LMS ‘fits’ the FM and C2 drawing information found within the Building Grid onto a standard 200 x 200 pixel GIF. Because it uses the Building Grid as a layout, all the images from one building, when displayed together, appear aligned and at the same scale.

Fastcore graphics information

All Master types. To represent a CAD-style graphics in the Accordant Locator online system several considerations have to be met:

  • The majority of online users will be ‘CAD’ illiterate.
  • CAD drawing files tend to be large with lots of unnecessary complex objects.
  • The DWG format is closed and would require a specialised web plug-in to view.
  • Most CAD drawings tent to be in 3D. Even without the authors knowing.

One of the greatest success’ of the Accordant Locator system is the fact the it can easily (and speedily) present floor plans with accurate and simplified graphics. General users find this view intuitively easy to understand with a very tiny learning curve.
This is because drawing information is publish in Cadm’s Fastcore format.
The Fastcore format strips out all the unnecessary information for the CAD drawing while maintaining what the user needs to see to visual cue a floor plan. It is designed to run of low to medium specification systems (Not like DWG files) and replaces technical CAD concepts (such as layers and scaling) with generalised web concepts like Google maps-style navigation. Because the Fastcore is designed to be stored in the ODBC compliant database and run inside the Java environment it does not need a specialised Browser plug-in. The Fastcore is a true thin-client delivered web-service.

Space data (SM or FM Masters only)

SPLANs describing the measured space framework for a floor-plate are synchronised with the Accordant instance. A SPLAN is a polyline on a specific layer. The space framework lays out the overall NET space, vertical penetration, Fixed shared and chargeable areas.

Locations (FM Only)

Locatable objects are managed CAD symbols with Location Labels. DMS-LMS publishes these and links them to Location Types via Managed Symbols. A Location stores the 2 Dimensional space the object absorbs in building units.

Managed Symbols (FM Only)

A Managed Symbol is the type of CAD symbol the Location Label is attached too. Typically Managed Symbols are repeatable throughout an Estate so the CAD symbol defination is uploaded to a special DMS share so it can be reused in other floor-plate or by other users.

Master Schema
FM Furniture Master FS Furniture Schema
AM Above-Floor Master AS Above-Floor Schema
BM Below-Floor Master BS Below-Floor Schema

Masters and related Schemas

Schema drawings

A Schema drawing is a managed copy of a Floor discipline Master. It is considered to express a view of a particular floor UNDER a project driven set of proposals.
There can be many Schemas based upon one Master Floor Discipline.
Schemas allow users to take live data ‘offline’ and radically alter it without impacting on live situation. Typically this is primarily done in the Furniture Master Schema, but most Master types have Schemas make from them.
The standard discipline-types for Schemas are as follows:
By default, the data in a Schema drawing is read-only. The Move-Manager system allows the user to open-up rectangular areas on the floor-plate to expose it’s contents to changes.
These area are called ‘Areas of Interest’ or AOIs.

DMS-LMS-Checkin-SchemaFM-02.png

Areas of Interest (AOI)

Areas of Interest (AOIs)

AOIs are user-defined rectangles, placed over a given Schema which indicate where changes are planned. These are expressed in Building units.
A Schema can have more then one AOI.
Each AOI opens a ‘window’ into the floor-plate. This is where DMS-LMS scans for changes on Check-in of the drawing.
There is nothing to stop a user creating a ‘100%’ AOI (A rectangle which is effectively the same size as the Building Grid). This is easier and less time-consuming to do. But this will make the system perform poorly on large floor-plates and add additional and unnecessary data. The best practice is to open up AOIs which DESCRIBE the planned areas of change.
In the online Move Manager, AOI can be assigned to Move Monitors and coordinators. These will give the DMS user a method of having their changes checked and reported on automatically.
Schema drawings generate a similar variety of data to their Master counter-parts. They publish lists of Locations (marked as either deleted or new) and revised fastcores (graphical floor-plate information showing the latest arrangement).