Dassault Systèmes Brings Italian Bridge Plan to Life

May 15, 2009

The Italian province of Piacenza has kicked off a major manufacturing project by developing a ‘virtual bridge’ with help from Dassault Systèmes.

The Piacenza province covers an area of 2,589 square kilometres, is located in the North West of Emilia Romagna and is two thirds mountainous. For around 30 years, the inhabitants of Piacenza have been waiting for the construction of a bridge across the Trebbia river.

The Dassault Systèmes project is expected to help the Piacenza authorities to anticipate work procedures, as well as to feed local curiosity. Once the three-year construction phase begins, citizens will be able to take virtual tours of the bridge through the Piacenza government’s Web site.

The Piacenza authorities provided Dassault Systèmes with the chorography curves from its geographic information system, as well as the architects drawings of the bridge. In addition, the composite model used satellite map imagery taken from Microsoft Virtual Earth, as well some onsite photographs.

The 3D terrain reconstruction was achieved using Catia Imagine & Shape, while the bridge model was created using standard Catia solid modelling. Finally, 3DVIA Virtools was used to combine the various sources of input to create the final virtual bridge. The entire project took around ten days from start to finish.

The resulting solution is highly interactive, enabling Web-users to virtually walk on the bridge, travel the bike lane and change the time of day to their liking.