Multimedia in Civil Engineering

by Jorge A. Vanegas, Assoc. Prof.; Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Civil Engineering, Atlanta, GA,
Nelson C. Baker, Assistant Professor; Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Civil Engineering, Atlanta, GA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 5, Pg. 71-73

Document Type: Feature article


Multimedia inspires so many claims and hype that it can be hard for engineers to figure out what's real and what's not. The truth is that multimedia holds great promise to change many aspects of an engineers practice, particularly any involving communication. By taking many different forms of data, such as text, spreadsheets, videotape and sound, and then presenting them together on the screen and through the speakers, multimedia can integrate the various forms of information about a project, giving the user a more complete, overall understanding than was previously possible. For example, the blueprints and project description of an apartment complex can be viewed simultaneously with an audiotape of the neighborhood and an animated walkthrough of a computer simulation of the finished building. Other applications for multimedia technology include highlighting design problems, marketing a firm's services, interactive training for new employees and bringing real-world projects into a university classroom. Taking advantage of these opportunities, however, will require money, time and an understanding of how this new tool can be used without drowning the user in an incoherent flood of information. Used properly, however, multimedia can open new horizons for the use of computers in civil engineering.

Subject Headings: Project management | Multimedia | Claims | Professional development | Spreadsheets | Residential buildings | Residential location | Computer models

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