CONNECT Edition - Reports: EC and DataGroup in the same report

AECOsim Building Designer’s DataGroup enables the creation, manipulation and reporting of business data associated with DGN graphic objects of various kinds, generally building elements or components. The DataGroups Scheduling tools can produce sophisticated schedules that are usually exported to Excel for presentation/delivery.

Other data about DGN elements/objects and file contents is stored as ECschema data and is not reported on by the DataGroup. V8i’s Items, Item Sets and Tags have been superseded in CONNECT Edition by Item Types as containers for storage of non-graphic data. This data is now reported on in CONNECT Edition by the Reports feature. As well as being placed in DGN files as Tables Reports can be exported to Excel.

Reports is a Power Platform feature that does exactly that, working in conjunction with Power Platform Tables to provide easy to use tabulated graphical reports. It has none of the data creation, editing and manipulation features provided by AECOsim Building Designer's DataGroup so is a useful complement to the existing scheduling tools, not a replacement.

But the good thing is...

Reports used in AECOsim Building Designer can include both DataGroup and EC data, here’s an example…

One of our users wanted to report the coordinates of cell origins along with the relevant DataGroup properties for the objects concerned.

I’ve placed an array of Compound Cell cladding panels then in the Reports Manager:

  • Create a ‘Building Envelope’ Category then a Report, ‘Cladding Origin Points’
  • Highlight ‘Cladding Origin Points’; under ‘Included Items’ it will say ‘(None)’, click the down arrow and look through the available Item Types, in this example for ‘Cladding_Panels’.

    Note that the Building DataGroup objects are presented as Item Types in this context, there is no need to create Item Types for these objects.
  • Alongside on the left, pick ‘Add Related Item’ and browse for ‘Cells’. Click OK.
  • The Columns and Sorting Rules options will appear, click on Columns and then on the left ‘Add Columns’. The available properties will be listed, select those required.

I’ve included some DataGroup properties and the Cell Origin EC property. Anything you can see in the Element properties panel for an element is and EC property accessible via this feature:

One of the differences between this feature and working with ABD's DataGroup is that the items that you select must be present in the DGN file when the report is created, the lists of items available to report upon are generated by the file contents. In the AECOsim Building Designer Schedules dialog new schedules can be created independently of the active file contents as all of the required properties are stored in the DataGroup.

Once you have created the reports that you want, they can be put in a dgnlib in a location specified by the MS_DGNLIBLIST configuration variable (at whatever configuration level) and they are then available for anyone whose WorkSet is configured to see that location. The standard locations are the Dgnlib folders at Organization, WorkSpace or WorkSet levels.

As well as appearing in the Reports manager dialog, Reports stored in configured DGNLIBs will also be listed in the Explorer > Resources panel where right-click options make it quick and easy to use them:

In the Reports Manager the same library features that we use in other library dialogs are available:

Note the icons:

  • 'Cladding Origin Points' has been copied locally but is the same as the library version indicated by the green tick.
  • 'Cladding Panel List' is only present in the library.
  • 'Untitled' is a local report indicated by the annotated blue book.

A blue triangle would indicate that the local copy is different from the library.

Exporting and downstream processing

From the Report preview dialog the data can be exported to Excel or CSV formats allowing the data to be manipulated as needed downstream.

One example of this is that at present, as shown above, we do not store the XYZ coordinates of the cell origin as separate values; resulting in each origin value being presented to Excel or CSV as a text string, e.g.:

"9225.13mm, 19573.02mm, 0.00mm"

In the CSV file, adding XYZ column headings to row 1 and removing the surplus " and mm characters from the values would present the individual coordinates.

The CSV in my example would need to change from:

ID | Asset Tag,ID | Number,Phase,Catalog Instance,Origin
BSUK_Tag_001,LP_01,New Construction,cpt-CLAD-xx-Panel-00,"9225.13mm, 19573.02mm, 0.00mm"


ID | Asset Tag,ID | Number,Phase,Catalog Instance,X,Y,Z
BSUK_Tag_001,LP_01,New Construction,cpt-CLAD-xx-Panel-00,9225.13, 19573.02, 0.00