Civil 3D Beatle

Adventures in Civil 3D and AutoCad Management

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Expert Texpert

A nice fellow I met at AU is getting ready to venture into the world of CAD wiki's as well and wrote me asking for some advice. I ended up writing a nice outline of how I set mine up and thought it may be helpful to others too. This one's for you Vince!

For the user access - everyone has read / write permissions to edit the text and put links in and add photos and stuff. Of course, if somebody creates a wiki page, they have the option of "Locking it down". For instance, here at our company the wiki is used for every department, not just CAD Management. So the head office admin for the engineering department has created her own "Engineering Homepage" with things that are relevant to the Engineering department (city contacts, website links, ect.). She has that main page locked down so nobody can go in and edit it.

Everyone has the option to lock a page down if they created it. As I have been creating my CAD Management wiki pages, I have chosen to not lock any of it down like some of the other departments and have chosen to do so for a few reasons...
1 - because I feel it defeats the purpose of the wiki a little bit
2 - it empowers the users and makes them feel like they own it more
3 - if I create a page and somebody edits it, I get an email saying it was changed and I can easily change it back

I work with only about 50 people who would ever want to change any of the CAD management content, so if it wouldn't be too hard to manage if there was ever a problem with vandalism or something like that.

The first project I did with the wiki was to create an archive of all of the existing CAD standards as they currently were. Simple text, bulleted lists and tables - nothing too fancy. After I was sure I had all of the content in there, I went back and embedded DWF's of some of the drawing examples that were in the old CAD Manual.

After the CAD standards were properly documented, I wanted to create a spot for the users to take over a little bit. There are so many smart users and they will always know the program so much better than me and many of them keep lists of tips and tricks that they use somewhat often. I created a place where they could start creating a directory of all of the tips they had. The trick is to figure out a way to get them to note it in the wiki rather than a piece of paper at their desk (which I still have trouble getting them to do, but that is a people problem - not the wiki).

After I created a nice spot for the users, I wanted to create a virtual library. There are so many white papers, videos and other electronic media out there about cad that is useful - but if it gets printed out its gets thrown away or forgotten or lost. Using Filezilla for my FTP interface, I upload documents / videos / add-ons to the wiki server and then create links to these files in the wiki. I now have a really nice collection of Videos, White papers, student workbooks and cad-related programs organized in a wiki table format that work really well. I even have it organize by discpline, so the surveyors and engineers don't have to look through long lists of stuff that doesn't apply to them.

Nobody except IT and myself have access to the wiki server via FTP to post programs and files. There is an interface in the wiki where users could post files and pictures, but they do not utilize it very much so I am not too worried about it. Again, if you have to deal with a greater number of users, you may want to disable some file posting abilities to increase security.

Other than that, I think you should be fine. I have a section for "Standards", a sections for "Tips and Tricks" and a section for "Digital Media". Inside the standards section, there are a few custom "step by step" instructions I have done with screen shots.

No comments: