Dear Readers!

We all live in an era of information overload, but on the other hand, we sometimes miss important things. I believe that this newsletter will fill in some gaps, especially if you are using CGS Labs software in your daily work for infrastructure design. Actually, we created this newsletter for Plateia, Ferrovia, Aquaterra, Autopath and Autosign users with the hope that we can share interesting and useful news about our company and products.

CGS Labs has 30+ years of history and experience in the field of software development, nevertheless our products remain fresh and contemporary. We enjoy discussing how to improve our engineering software products or create new ones. The CGS Labs team is passionate to develop unique, user friendly and powerful software products that will save your time in designing roads, railways and other infrastructure.

We are heading toward the future with confidence that Building Information Modeling (BIM), Digital twins and the Internet of Things are the technologies that will dominate and enable even faster collaboration and sustainable design. We are looking forward to being a part of it, and we will be very happy if you join with us!

Matjaž Šajn,
CGS Labs Director

Those are our building blocks for the future, which we are creating with digital twins, with transparency and open data, by including sensor networks, AI, IoT and other advanced technologies and through the usefulness of our solutions.

This is a short extract from the CGS Labs company brochure, published last year (2020) when we celebrated 30 years since company establishment. In the year 2017, Matjaž Šajn, civil engineer and original co-founder of the CGS company, made the second important step in his professional career and established CGS Labs company, focused on creating its own software solutions for the infrastructure and transportation field. CGS Labs means a new, professional approach to software products, made in Slovenia, with the main focus on customer satisfaction. Through these changes, products Plateia, Ferrovia, Aquaterra, Autopath and Autosign gained new momentum, and we could also say a revival.

Alenka Šajn Slak, Matjaz´s sister, joined CGS company in 1990. Since 2017, she has been co-owner and co-founder of CGS Labs. Alenka holds a Ph.D. in biology and is significantly contributing to company development through her activities in infrastructure maintenance and operations, with special emphasis on environmental and sustainability aspects. Our main products in this field are the road-weather information systems, used by several authorities and agencies in SE Europe.

We are proud to be an independent, unique software development company in times when globalisation brings global products and when the monopolists are a threat. We are the ones that fight for software democratisation and the openBIM approach. We want to give our customers an alternative choice, with the promise to deliver best-in-class products with a personal touch. We are a laboratory of ideas; we enjoy creating something new and competing with “big boys”. And yes, we are successful in doing it!

We look forward to and imagine our company and products 10, 20, 30 years from now. There are so many new opportunities in the field of built environment digitisation! We not only dream about the digital twins of our roadways and railways, but we create them. With the proper balance of knowledge, business and human skills, we believe that we can leave a recognisable historical footprint in the field of civil engineering software products of the 21st century.

You are welcome to join us on this exciting journey!

Face the challenges

Almost the entire length of the route was planned on supporting or retaining walls

Project name: Construction documentation G2-108 Hrastnik – Zidani Most and road deviation G1-5 Rimske Toplice – Zidani Most – Radeče

Project num.: 17_622

Design objects: 9km deviation roads, 4 railway overpass, 2 railway underpass, 4 bridges over river, supporting and retaining walls

WHO: PNZ, a leading infrastructure design office in Slovenia (40+ designers, 60+ years of experience) with partners.

THE GOAL: The main goal of the new transport connection is to improve the poor condition of the main road situated in a steep and narrow corridor in between railway tracks and the Sava River.

SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS USED: Civil3D for DTM editing Plateia for road alignments, profile and cross section calculation and analysis Ferrovia for railway alignments, profile and cross section calculation and analysis and many other special software applications

RESULTS: design team and software vendor close cooperation significant improvement of the road safety and service

PNZ is one of Slovenia’s leading civil engineering companies with a history of more than 60 years. From designing the first motorway in the former Yugoslavia to the most cutting – edge development strategies for transport infrastructure, they are constantly building their knowledge base and experience, so they can cope with the biggest challenges in construction. One of their recent major projects was designing the roadway connection between Hrastnik and Zidani Most.

The main goal of the new transport connection was to improve the poor condition of the main road situated in a steep and narrow corridor in between railway tracks and the Sava River. Its position and the surrounding space made two-way traffic impossible.

The biggest issue was transporting children by normal buses and delivery of construction materials by larger trucks. The aforementioned section was hazardous for road users and for the local residents, not to mention a hindrance to this area’s economic development. This project is also a part of the Third development axis, which will establish a traffic connection from the north to the south-eastern part of Slovenia (from the Austrian to Croatian border). The length of the main road section was approximately 9 km. In addition to the main roads, it was necessary to enable extremely difficult connections of local (connecting) roads with unique overpasses crossing the railway line, which would greatly improve road safety.

Due to the cumbersome geological conditions, almost the entire length of the route was planned on supporting or retaining walls. The design of four bridges crossing the Sava and Savinja Rivers was also a big challenge. In addition to the above, the project members also had to tackle pedestrian areas and bus stops, while numerous utility lines and anti-noise measures had to be installed in the area of intersections and approaches.

PNZ’s planners and designers used different special purpose software applications. At the beginning, they made the base terrain with Civil 3D. Then they started drawing axes using the Plateia program. Due to the complexity of the relief and the location, quite a few repetitions and corrections of the axis and axis elements were made, so that axes would comply with road design rules and conditions.

They also used Plateia for drawing longitudinal profiles, cross sections and intersections. The design of the railway tracks at the railway station Zidani Most was performed in the Ferrovia software. Ferrovia enables drawing track alignments with the stick method. Also, two curved switches (turnouts) were designed using Ferrovia. This made the work easier for the designers, as the track axes are designed very atypically – without transitions, because of space constraints and small horizontal radius. Some shortcomings of the mentioned software also appeared during the design. Due to the large number of axes and the size of the 3D terrain model, it was very difficult to read the data. In addition, a large number of designers participated in the project, which was a challenge to coordinate, and to make it even more challenging, they used different software tools (Plateia, Civil 3D…). This demanding project was not only a huge challenge for the design team but also for the software developers, as we all wanted to ease the end users experience to the highest possible level.

Section of the narrow and dangerous road, where only one - way traffic is possible.

Visualization of planned railway and road junction in Zidani Most.

Plans for the new road junction in Zidani Most, made with Plateia software.

Road Weather Information System implementation in Bosnia

During the winter period, many countries experience severe winter conditions. In particular, snow and ice make transport difficult and present several challenges for the winter maintenance service. Optimisation of maintenance locations, timing, types and rates have an important impact on road efficiency and safety. Weather information is an important input data for traffic management systems and traffic infrastructure management systems: providing safer roads, reducing winter road maintenance costs (i.e. salt consumption, work hours) and reducing the environmental damage from over-salting.

We are proud that CGS Labs Road Weather Information system (RWIS) was chosen and implemented this winter on the main roads in Bosnia within the framework of Road Modernisation Programme in FBH, which was carried out by Roads of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo.

The project was the result of many years of good cooperation with the company Alem Sistem d.o.o. from Sarajevo, which was the applicant for the tender and which installed 13 road weather stations (RWSs) on the main roads. Beside the RWSs data, weather forecasts of the national weather service FHMZ are used in RWIS. The heart of the system is a physical model that produces a local road forecast: road surface temperature (RST) and road surface condition information (i.e. dry, wet, ice, snow) 12 hours in advance. Forecasting road and driving conditions a few hours in advance leads to reliable expectations regarding dangerous driving conditions and thus effective preventative spreading, which is important from an environmental as well as economic point of view.

CGS Labs Software Solutions recent development overview

CGS Labs stands for “laboratory of ideas”, but behind that there is a knowledgable team of engineers and programmers with many years of experience in developing and implementing engineering software. CGS Labs Civil Solutions stands for a family of civil engineering products that enjoy a strong reputation among professional designers.

We celebrated the “Plateia 25 years” anniversary in 2020. Plateia, our roadway design solution with tradition, remains the best selling product in our portfolio. Autopath for swept path analysis is our second most popular product, selected by many engineers due to it´s simplicity and efficiency. Autosign, a traffic sign and road marking software, is gaining more and more attention due to it’s BIM capabilities. Ferrovia, which is used in many large organisations, is one of very few products on the market that requires very special features for detailed railway design. And last but not least, Aquatterra is our solution for river regulations, channel designs, irrigation projects and similar.

Let’s do a quick overview of the latest development over the last couple of years.

CGS Labs Civil Solutions 2020 & 2021 enhancements and new features overview

CGS Labs Civil Solutions recent development cycle overview resulted in five (5) published releases over a span of two years, all bringing important new features and enhancements. An important recent topic is BIM functionality and data exchange. All CGS Labs Solutions have benefited from new capabilities in this specific area, ranging from:

  • IFC 2×3 and 4.2 Import & Export capabilities added
  • Property Sets definition with user custom Property Sets and attributes definition
  • Property Set Filter with filtering between different materials and other options
  • Clash Detection analysis within the drawing
  • Civil 3D and Urbano pipes data exchange interface
  • Civil 3D and CGS Labs alignment/profile seamless conversion tool

A further development focus in recent years was dedicated to enhancing the process of bringing spatial data directly into drawings, which includes:

  • Raster imagery insertion at a click,
  • Elevation data insertion at a click,
  • Street View options within the drawing
  • And Export (3D solid objects) to Google Earth capabilities for fast visualisation purposes.

We support growing and updated coordinate systems for a number of countries worldwide to deliver data effortlessly, precisely and in a time-saving manner.

CGS Labs software also continues to extend its digital terrain modeling support, now ranging from our own proprietary DTM model to industry standard models.

Supported digital terrain models in CGS Labs solutions:

  • CGS Labs digital terrain model
  • 3D Face surface
  • CGS Labs surface defined by CGS Labs points (survey points inserted)
  • Civil 3D surface
  • BricsCAD surface

Significant emphasis was placed on improving labeling options, especially in layout and profile view, where projection elements, speed changes and station changes along the alignment are now labeled and updated in profile views. Plus, dynamic update of profile data labeled in the layout now offers data label consistency.

All above features are well implemented in the latest Autosign Ultimate – BIM solution for traffic sign design and management, road marking design and 3D object insertion (gantry, light posts, etc.), coloring options, parking lot design and more. Every entity designed can be represented as a full 3D solid / BIM object with dedicated Property Set data attached and exported to IFC 4.X format for open data exchange possibilities.

A number of other changes, fixes, enhancements and subtle user experience improvements give users better and time saving tools for coherent and contemporary design and analysis of roads, railways, river channels and traffic signs.

Success Story

StudioARS had significant sales growth of Plateia in Croatia during the Covid-19 situation

Part of CGS Labs’ international success is our partners, resellers in many countries worldwide. Croatia, a neighboring country of Slovenia, is an important market for CGS Labs. CGS Labs’ products Plateia, Ferrovia and Aquaterra are market leaders in Croatia when it comes to road design, rail design and river regulations. The excellent cooperation between CGS Labs and Studio Ars, a Croatian company located in Rijeka, is crucial for this success, which began more than 25 years ago.

Both companies, CGS Labs and Studio Ars, are software developers. StudioARS is the developer of Urbano, a well-known pipe infrastructure design software for civil engineering with the large customer base in the European market. Urbano is a flexible, powerful and modern software package aimed at supporting civil engineers in designing the pipe infrastructure of tomorrow. Urbano is compatible with Plateia and Ferrovia; it is also BIM software that creates BIM models that can be represented in various BIM viewers.

During this very long-lasting cooperation, StudioARS managed to promote CGS Labs’ Plateia as indispensable and must-have software for road design on the Croatian market. StudioARS strongly believes that Plateia and Urbano will improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of civil engineering projects. With a powerful sales portfolio that consists of Plateia, Autopath and Autosign software developed by CGS Labs and locally customized for the Croatian market by StudioARS, there was an opportunity that had to be turned into success. StudioARS has been working with the largest and most influential road design companies on the Croatian market on implementing Plateia as a road design solution and enabling them to become satisfied customers of CGS Labs software. The pinnacle of StudioARS efforts is also the fact that Plateia provides commands and tools to support the entire design process from preliminary to detailed design, from initial input of survey data to complex 3D road models with analysis tools and documentation and publishing features. Some well-known design companies that joined the family of satisfied CGS Labs customers in Croatia in 2020 as new users of Plateia are Rijekaprojekt d.o.o, AT Consult d.o.o., Nord-Ing d.o.o. and PGT Škunca d.o.o., and many more like HEP (Croatian Electrical Company) purchased a significant number of Electra network permanent licenses. StudioARS has intensively worked on implementation and education for CGS Labs software customers, which has enabled them to become very competitive on their market.

One of the crucial success factors is popularisation of BIM. It has been part of StudioARS activities in Croatia, and many StudioARS customers are grateful for the possibility of implementation of BIM into their workflows. BIM is very important in civil engineering and can bring many savings in terms of issue resolution in the early stages of projects. StudioARS is a significant BIM influencer on the Croatian market. BIM implementation by StudioARS in the Croatian Roads government agency can be highlighted as one of bright examples of its smart benefits.

For many road, railway, river, water and drainage design companies, it is a well known fact that when it comes to support, StudioARS is the first place to turn to. StudioARS support engineers have more than twenty years’ experience in supporting real civil engineering design projects and assisting in solving the most-complex issues. Many Croatian companies have decided to leave the competition’s road design solutions to join the satisfied family of StudioARS customers due to their uncompromising, always on-time delivered and well-performed support. StudioARS is always enabled and equipped to help engineers in their designs.

StudioARS is always looking towards future opportunities. During the COVID-19 situation, StudioARS has adapted and reorganized services to be as efficient as possible. StudioARS support services are now completely adapted to personal contact limits and support and education are mainly done over the internet.

StudioARS is strongly focused on future development and investments into support and education technology for the civil design engineering field. StudioARS employees are looking towards aiding future customer success with StudioARS and CGS Labs software.

CGS Labs receives a »Tap water certificate«

Slovenia is one of the most water-rich European countries, and it also boasts potable water of incredible quality. Nowadays, clean tap water is a true sign of prestige. In Slovenia, however, we can enjoy it every day. Considering that we have enough clean water, we also need to be responsible to protect the country’s water sources.

That’s the reason CGS Labs joined the campaign initiated by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS) and signed a commitment that CGS Labs will offer drinking tap water in business activities and events.

The entire life cycle of bottled water uses fossil fuels, contributes to global warming and causes pollution. Generally speaking, bottled water is no cleaner, or safer or healthier than tap water. On the contrary, bottled water is often of lower quality, because it is not stored properly and is exposed to heat or the sun.

That is why we would like to encourage our employees, our customers and our partners to drink tap water. We would like to raise environmental awareness. As it is written in our CGS Labs brochure: “Without responsibility, there can be no excellence. We are aware of the impact each action has on the environment and the community.”

Sebastjan Zupanc, director of Chamber of Communal Economy, Alenka Šajn Slak and Matjaž Šajn at the award ceremony (due to Covid, in CGS Labs’ office )

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