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Autodesk World Expands Opportunity for Microsoft Developers

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK) (Nasdaq: ADSK) today at the Microsoft Office and VBA Solutions Conference in London that it has begun shipments of Autodesk World(TM) Release 2 software in North America. The product is a desktop application for managing the spatial information included in 80 percent of all data used by businesses and governments.

"We are now seeing people using Autodesk World to integrate, analyze and visualize their spatial data, just as they use Microsoft Word for word processing and Excel for spreadsheets," said Joe Astroth, Ph.D., Autodesk(R) vice president for GIS. "Knowing where things are and how to take advantage of their location is a competitive advantage that organizations are now including in their IT solutions. As a result, there is a growing market for spatially-enabled applications in the Windows environment."

"Because Autodesk World incorporates Microsoft(R) Visual Basic(R) for Applications (VBA), the same development environment in Microsoft Office, developers can easily add a spatial component to customized solutions leveraging the skills they already have," said Neil Charney, lead product manager for VBA and Office Developer Edition at Microsoft. "Autodesk World is an outstanding development platform for managing spatial information and bringing it to life inside applications with thematic maps."

The software is the only geographic information system (GIS) that is Microsoft Office '97, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT logo compliant. Along with including VBA as its internal scripting language, it also incorporates the Microsoft Jet engine for data access, and an ActiveX Automation API.

A GIS dynamically links maps with associated information in databases, charts and graphs, and displays the information using maps. The geographical, or spatial, component can be in absolute terms, such as a customer address, a sales territory, or a crime district. It can also be in relative terms, such as all of the homes connected to each electrical transformer in a utility's service area. Standard databases are limited to computing which homes are serviced by which transformer. By contrast, GIS includes spatial relationships. Thus, if a utility is planning a power interruption to conduct routine maintenance, the GIS can display all of the home-transformer service links on a map so utility planners can determine how best to reroute power to the affected customers.

Spatial data is used in a wide variety of public and private sector organizations for infrastructure management, marketing, strategic planning, site selection and other disciplines. Key industries using spatial data include telecommunications, utilities, and state and local government.

"We've developed customized solutions using Autodesk World and VBA that let us maintain our infrastructure much more efficiently," said Robert Truter, GIS systems analyst at Rand Water utility, which is using the software to plan, manage and maintain its extensive water storage and distribution network in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Because of the familiar Microsoft environment, we can put GIS solutions on any desktop with minimal training required."

Autodesk World software is entirely compatible with the Microsoft desktop. Thus, developers can take advantage of linking and embedding, OLE Automation, standard interface conventions, COM-based development environments, and seamless integration with other Office products. Autodesk World's open architecture lets users maintain their data in the original format, whether they are connecting to an external RDBMS, inserting satellite images, or integrating vector data.

Release 2 provides full control of an organization's data through the API, which has twice the functionality of Release 1. The API provides access to the database itself, as well as graphic and spatial objects. In addition, Release 2 includes the display engine from ER Mapper, one of the leading desktop image processing programs.

As a result, users can process images in ER Mapper to take advantage of that software's fast processing power, particularly with very large images such as satellite photos, and then display the images in Autodesk World software with no loss of quality. Release 2 also enables GeoTIFF image and DXF(TM) support, and offers improved performance.

Availability and Pricing

Autodesk World Release 2 software will be available July 13 in U.S. and International English. Autodesk expects to ship French and German versions in August, and a Japanese version later this year. The suggested retail price in the United States and Canada is US$1,995. Users outside North America should contact local Authorized Autodesk Resellers for pricing.

About GIS at Autodesk

One of the leading PC mapping and GIS software companies, Autodesk is changing the GIS industry by providing easy to use, cost-effective software to help businesses and governments manage their assets and infrastructure. The company's award-winning family of GIS products includes AutoCAD Map(R) software, the Autodesk standard for CAD-based precision map creation and maintenance; Autodesk World software for integrating and managing spatial data in the Microsoft environment; and Autodesk MapGuide(TM) software, the most powerful Web-based GIS in the world. For more information, visit www.autodesk.com/gis.

About Autodesk

Autodesk is the fourth largest PC software company in the world and the leading supplier of PC design software and multimedia tools. More than three million customers use the company's 2D and 3D products for architectural design, mechanical design, geographic information systems and mapping, and through its Kinetix(R) division for film and video production, and video game and Web content development. For more information, contact any Authorized Autodesk Reseller, call Autodesk at 800-964-6432, type GO ADESK on CompuServe(R), or visit www.autodesk.com. Autodesk shares are traded on the Nasdaq national market under the symbol ADSK.

NOTE: Autodesk, the Autodesk logo, AutoCAD Map and Kinetix are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. in the United States and certain other countries. DXF, Autodesk MapGuide and Autodesk World are trademarks of Autodesk, Inc. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks are used solely for identification and belong to their respective holders.

SOURCE Autodesk, Inc.
 -0- 07/13/98


/NOTE TO EDITORS: Images available upon request./

/CONTACT: Andrew Carothers of Autodesk, Inc., 415-507-4794, or andrew.carothers@autodesk.com/

/Web site: http://www.autodesk.com/

(ADSK)

CO: Autodesk, Inc. ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT

JN-KP -- SFM038 -- 6889 07/13/98 08:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
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