WisDOT Greenlights Vault Use

I just returned from my first live Vault Collaboration demo. It went well. Thankfully one of my data management guru coworkers was there when the talk went all into the SQL mumbo-jumbo.  Y'know, the mumbo-jumbo that makes it all go.

If you are one of the consultants working with WisDOT on the I-39/90 Project, you may recall a note in the project documents that read something along the lines of "Don't use Vault, please."  I'm paraphrasing, of course. The first question people asked was "What is Vault?" After understanding what it is and what the benefits are, the second question was, "It sounds good. Well, why can't we use it?"  

Workflow-wise, there is no problem interacting between a Vault and a non-Vault scenario. Of course, going from Vault to non-Vault is something you should only do when the project is changing hands completely.  This is not something you want to do every day. 

Once a file is detached from Vault, you don't need anything special to view or work with it.  As long as you have all the file dependencies, Civil 3D treats an un-Vaulted project very similar to a project that uses data shortcuts.  In fact, Vault uses the exact same Project Templates that Data shortcuts use. 

Fast-forward to this week. WisDOT has formally changed its stance on Vault.  Here is an excerpt from an email they sent to the I-39/90 team: 

Vault is an Autodesk developed data management tool that works with native Civil 3D data and allows for collaboration on live data sets across geographic boundaries such as different office buildings.   Vault will also manage non-Civil 3D file types, similar to other commercial document management software tools.  We put the Vault restriction in place to ensure WisDOT’s ability to fully utilize consultant developed Civil 3D data.  WisDOT presently does not use Vault, and at the time the C3D usage requirements were drafted we had no knowledge of a workflow to allow us to get full utilization of Civil 3D data developed within the Vault environment.  Since then we’ve been working with Autodesk to identify a workflow, and have tested sample Vault data for use in our environment,  and we are now confident that we’ll be able to get full utilization of data developed in a Vault managed system.

If a consultant would like to pursue a Vault implementation, WisDOT will not be able to offer help.  We don’t have any Vault expertise to offer, but we can help them connect with knowledgeable resources.  Also, if a consultant chooses to implement Vault, Methods Development would like to be a passive participant in the implementation. We’d like to monitor the situation to protect our interests and to increase our knowledge of Vault.  In 2008 we opted not to implement Vault at WisDOT, but that is a decision that can be reversed if there is enough reason.

When you are talking about professional-level Vault for use with Civil 3D, you are really talking about Vault Collaboration AEC.  Vault Collaboration The link above has more information on the Vault family of products.

So Vault on, good people of Wisconsin!

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