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Microstation

Microstation is a CAD software package currently developed by Bentley Systems, Inc. It generates 2D/3D vector graphic objects and elements. Originally produced for VAX workstations, it has, in various configurations, found compatibility with UNIX (CLIX) and almost every Windows operating system; from 3.1 to NT to Windows XP.

Its native format is the .DGN (Design file) format, though it can read and write a variety of standard CAD formats including AutoCAD's .DWG and DXF as well as producing media output in such forms as rendered images (JPEG and BMP), animations (AVI), and 3D web pages in Virtual Reality Modeling Language.

At its inception, it was used in the engineering and architecture fields primarily for creating construction drawings; however, it has evolved through its various versions to include advanced modeling and rendering features, including boolean solids, raytracing, and keyframe animation. It can provide specialized environments for architecture, civil engineering, mapping, or plant design, among others.

Because it is customizable and it has the ability to link graphic elements to database tables, it is also used as the base-CAD-platform for running more advanced design software, like Intergraph's Plant Design System and CEA Technology's Plant 4D.

These various types of add-on CAD Programs have enhanced the usefulness of the 3D CAD model beyond mere drawing generation and 3D presentation. They can provide accurate materials lists for every item included in the design, a sequenced schedule for construction, check for interferences between objects, publish all drawings automatically on a public website, or provide a client/owner a detailed model of their entire plant including its virtual operation for training and testing.

Microstation was originally developed by Intergraph Corporation[?] in the 1980s and was later bought by Bentley. It remained closely linked to Intergraph until 2002 when Bentley decided to make major revisions to file format in version 8 (V8), causing Intergraph to seek other options for an engine for their suite of CAD systems. The V8 version brought the Microstation .DGN format to a closer compatibility to Autodesk's AutoCAD format. Autodesk, in turn, announced in 2003 a major departure from their previous .DWG format.

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