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Creating Gap-Filling Applications Using STEP Express, XML, and SVG-based Smart Figures - An Avionics Example


Russell Peak, Miyako Wilson, Injoong Kim, Nsikan Udoyen, Manas Bajaj, Greg Mocko - Georgia Tech; Giedrius Liutkus, Lothar Klein - LKSoft; Mike Dickerson - NASA/JPL; 2002 NASA-ESA Workshop on Aerospace Product Data Exchange ESA/ESTEC; April 9-12, 2002; Noordwijk (ZH), The Netherlands


Gaps often exist in the kind of knowledge captured by today's engineering design tools. So-called "dumb" notes and figures on engineering drawings and documents are evidence of such gaps. They are created for human consumption but contain little that is computer-sensible. Thus, these dumb notes and figures hamper life cycle activities that need to work with their content.

This presentation overviews how standards like STEP Express, XML, and SVG can be combined to create applications that fill such gaps. In this approach, we handle core STEP and user interface technology using an existing toolkit. We employ STEP Express for information models to form the structure for repositories and applications. These information models may be custom in-house schemas or standard schemas like STEP AP210. To create a given application, we use XML models to define the user interface. These XML models specify arrangement of user interface widgets, their behavior, and their connection to the Express-based information repositories.

To this core toolkit we are adding SVG-based figures to better depict the meaning of attributes. These figures supplement existing widgets that display CAD-oriented geometry intended for design detail. These figures capture idealized logical and quasi-geometric diagrams that are often found in engineering handbooks. Work is underway to make "smart" figures by connecting them to their associated attributes, and thus have them scale according to attribute values.

Prototype examples from the electronics domain are given, and their interaction with AP210 is discussed. Overall, this experience indicates a promising methodology for creating gap-filling tools that combine enhanced usability with information richness and standards-based infrastructure.


Slides: ppt