Technical Graphics and the ODA

In its attempt to rebrand itself the ODA appears to have coined a new term to describe what they do – Technical Graphics. I have been keeping a close eye on the language used by the ODA in its press releases and even on its web site. There has been a liberal use of terms like “technical graphics applications”, “technical graphics solutions” and even “technical graphics industry”. One press release went to the extent of saying “While SaaS may be relatively new to the technical graphics and CAD industries“, thereby suggesting that technical graphics and CAD are two different industries. So I was not surprised to see the term “technical graphics” used again in today’s press release announcing the open registration of the ODA World Conference 2010 to be held in Orlando, Florida on May 4-5.

I believe this is deliberate. A while ago, Arnold van der Weide, the ODA President, told me that he wanted the ODA to expand into areas other than CAD. In fact, I believe that conversation was the first time I heard Arnold mention the term “technical graphics”. The ODA is using the term to cover a broad range of technologies. Recent announcements coming out from the ODA give a good indication of the direction the organization is headed.

Due to years of blindly following Autodesk’s footsteps and cloning their technologies, the ODA has now found itself in possession of some pretty powerful technology of their own that they have called the ODA Platform. The platform comprises of DWGdirect and DGNDirect as its two core product lines which are shaped along the lines of Autodesk’s DWG and Microstation’s DGN technologies. I believe the plan is to add more product lines over time and grow the platform to cover areas outside of CAD, and hence the use of the term “technical graphics”.

As a Sustaining Member of the ODA, I am quite pleased by these developments. I attended the first ODA World Conference in Leiden, Holland, last year and hope to attend the second one in May as well. This year will see the introduction of the “ODA Technology Exchange”, basically small workshops where members can directly interact and collaborate with each other. I hope these turn out to be similar to the COFES round table discussions. Once you put a bunch of passionate people in a room and make them talk about the things that they are passionate about, sparks begin to fly, ideas begin to form and you start to get the sweet small of opportunity.

You can get more information and register for the ODA World Conference 2010 here.