As Autodesk® Navisworks® becomes more common in the AEC community; I thought I would touch base on the basics of the differences of the various Navisworks® products. If you are venturing into the world of Navisworks®, hopefully this will help get you started.
The following products are listed in order of capability and price, starting with the most basic:
This is a free viewer for native Navisworks® files with the NWD extension, as well as for 3D DWF files. It will allow the user to view the 3D model hierarchy, object properties, and even animations for a single file. However, it is a viewer only and does not allow editing or markup capabilities.
This is a good product to provide to people who need or desire to see the result of many different files brought together into a combined project model in Navisworks®. Someone with one of the other Navisworks® products can publish an NWD file that is shared with someone with Navisworks® Freedom.
(Note that when loading a DWF file, it must be a 3D DWF that contains 3D information, or the file will not load into Freedom.)
This product can be downloaded at the following Autodesk site:
This product will allow you to assemble different 3D model files into one combined project model file. It allows you to assemble files from not only the various Autodesk® products, but also files from MicroStation®, SketchUp®, and many other file types.
After assembling the various files into one combined file, you can perform 4D construction scheduling with the model. A nice aspect is that you can utilize your Microsoft® Project information to drive your Navisworks ®4D scheduling analysis. You can also create animations and renderings with the model for visualization purposes.
The price of Simulate is approximately $2,500.00 per seat.
A drawback to this product is that it does not perform interference checking, which is what most people desire.
Manage is the most expensive of the products, but the one that most people will want as it includes not only the Simulate capabilities, but also performs interference checking. Interference checking is a huge aspect of why many people look at utilizing Navisworks®. The clash detection and interference checking provides the ability to detect not only hard clashes between objects, but also check for items that interfere with required clearances around objects. Reports can be generated and tracked for the detected problems enabling all of the project team members to be made aware of problems.
The price of Manage is approximately $10,000.00 per seat. While the cost is high, it can be purchased as a network license, so anyone in the company can utilize the seat as long as only one person uses it at a time.
I realize that the above information is not detailed, but it is a brief explanation of the products. Pricing is also the standard pricing from Autodesk and you might be able to get better pricing.