MX is a software application for the Civil Engineering and associated industries, with the primary market being that of road design. Currently sold under the titles MXROAD and MXROAD Suite it was previously sold under a number of other titles (see below).
The origins of MX go back to conferences in the UK in the late 1960's for road design using computers, where engineers exchanged ideas on how to improve on the BIPS application (which used templates to design roads). An active group of Civil Engineers came up with the concept for string modeling: Gordon Craine from Durham County Council, Jeff Houlton from West Sussex County Council, and Eric Malcolmson from Northamptonshire County Council. According to Gordon Craine they got together at a pub in the evening of a Computer Science Society panel meeting in Maidstone, Kent in 1970. They discussed that what they wanted was to design the kerb lines in complex areas, not the cross section on simple lengths of road. Somebody drew on a beer mat what he envisioned. The drawing on the beer mat was the first software design specification of what was to become the future of MX.
In 1971 the three succesfully proposed to their respective County Engineers that they work together with common approach to development - but remotely - on a collection of programs that could communicate to a common database. The new package, named MOSS (Modeling Of Surfaces with Strings) used a unique concept of defining each feature in a road, or a survey, as an individual entity, named strings. A collection of strings defined a surface. Hence the concept of surface modeling for roadways was created at this time.
MOSS was officially launched at the Public Works Congress in 1974, and at a conference in Coventry in January 1975.
By the 1980's a number of organizations had purchased MOSS, such that there was an opportunity for an independent company to develop the product further and more effectively. MOSS Systems Limited was formed in October 1983 by Jeff Houlton, Gordon Craine, Peter Brock, Stuart Heatherington and Steve Robinson. It was quickly joined by other key staff who developed the product.
MOSS had been ported to a number of platforms over the years, starting with a batch mode only interface (no graphical user interface (GUI)). Early platforms included ICL and IBM mainframes; PDP-11, Prime, and VAX mini computers. The last "batch mode only" release of MOSS was version 5.4.
MOSS version 6 (released in 1985) used GKS to create a GUI, thanks to the arrival of workstations such as the Apollo, and Unix workstations such as DECStation, IBM RS6000, Silicon Graphics, HP9000 and Sun SPARCStation . Each progression was possible with smaller and cheaper computer hardware delivering the performance needed by MOSS. The next progression was to move MOSS to the PC but with more than a port: the GUI would be overhauled to be Microsoft compliant, and would work inside any of AutoCAD, MicroStation or a standalone Windows environment.
By the mid 1990's a worldwide network of resellers and subsidiaries were selling MOSS on behalf of MOSS Systems. In late 1996 the North American resellers, Infrasoft Corporation led by Rick Fiery, acquired MOSS Systems. One of the intentions was to aim the development of the MOSS product more firmly towards the needs of the North American market. Work had already begun on the creation of MOSS for Windows (as it was known then). With Infrasoft in control, the directive for MOSS to work inside AutoCAD and MicroStation was reiterated and MOSS was rebranded to MX. The last version of MOSS was MOSS V10.5 .
MX is not officially an acronym, but it led people to believe that it stood for MOSS Extended, MOSS Extra or similar.
In order to reach broader appeal, MX needed a simpler GUI than just the move to Windows and CAD. MXROAD was developed outside of the UK as a collection of Wizards that would work inside the MX application. These were focused upon roadway design and analysis, which was a departure from the toolbox approach that MOSS and MX had taken beforehand. MXROAD was launched in 1997.
MXRENEW was launched in 1998. It is an MX add-on application to design a road overlay that re-uses existing roadway and minimizes the amount of new material. It was a generational improvement upon PaveMOSS, with Ray Moloney being the creator of both.
MXURBAN was launched in December 2001 to allow the engineer to design a road and stay within the constraints of urban design.
MXSITE was launched in 1998 for the site development market.
MXRAIL was launched in 1998 for the rail geometry market.
MXDRAW was launched in 2000 for the simplified creation of final drawings inside the CAD environments.
In addition to the add-on applications, MX was also sold in a variety of flavours, such as MX Professional, MX Standard, MX Compact and others.
Since the acquisition of Infrasoft by Bentley in 2003 there has been consolidation of the Civil Engineering products offered. MX is currently available as MXROAD, and MXROAD Suite.
MXSITE users are encouraged to use PowerCivilMXRAIL users are encouraged to use Bentley Rail Track, which is a merging of InRail and MXRAIL, built upon the InRail foundation.