Annotations or Markups on Engineering Drawings and Documents - Methods, Processes and Practices

Annotations Or Markups

Annotations / Markups on Engineering Drawings - Definition, Methodologies & Practices 

Annotations - Annotations are essentially marks that are created on a document - weather physical or electronic - to gain attention. The purpose of gaining attention can be for its importance,or for discussion or for suggesting change etc in the said document.Normally in text based documents - Annotations will comprise of underlining, cross-outs, insertions etc. In case of Engineering documents - that comprise of lines and joints etc, Annotations comprise of area elements as Circles, Ovals, Rectangles, Clouds etc.Annotations are particularly important when the documents are to be reviewed by different parties involved in the document creation and review cycle - which are common in AEC industry.In the paper based documents, the annotation were made by using different color pencils (with color being specific for each discipline).Now with the advent of Electronic file formats and electronic interchange of documents, increasingly people are adopting annotations on electronic files themselves.The method of doing annotations can vary and some of the important methods are as follows:

Annotations using utilities as provided by the softwares that are able to create/modify the said file formats

All the authoring softwares do come up with some type of annotation abilities. 

Example - For MS Word - the track mode. Similar type of annotation abilities are also available in PDF, DWG, DGN File Formats and their authoring applications. It is also customary to release the file in un-editable formats - as PDF. The Abode PDF Reader, Standard and Professional come with varying degree to annotations.

Annotation using visualization Software

There are several file visualization utilities that are available in the market that can read and display a file. Some of them can even do so in a web-browser. Example of such utilities include Brava, Autovue etc.

These applications enable the file to be visualized in the web-browser itself and offer annotation abilities using which the person can draw artifacts and give his comments without modifying the original file and without need of any software on his machine. Being based on web-browser, it can be visualized across operating systems. Once the annotations have been made on the files, these are stored separately and relationship is maintained between the files and its annotations. This however creates an issue when the native file along with the annotations needs to be send to external agencies. In such cases - either the external agency comes to the web-application to view the annotations or else the base file on which the annotations are done along with the annotations are exported into a neutral file format as TIFF, PDF etc and then resulting file is sent to the concerned external agency.

Normally - there are no issues in the export of such files along with annotations into say PDF - however the fidelity can't be guaranteed - particularly when there are many closed space lines or structures as in sieve which are to be exported.

Due to the above constraints - its better to use the annotation abilities as are available in native softwares as PDF as there is No possibility of loss of information (besides the fact that they are FREE - as Abode Reader).

tBits CollabWrite is integrated with Autovue and Brava.
In casethe customers want to avail the facility associated with online markup, then they can directly purchase the autovue or brava from concerned OEM's