QikLink

Winner
2003 Consensus Software Awards

Judges' Citation

QikLink Version 7.5 from QikDraw Systems Pty Ltd

QikLink is an exceptionally lightweight, flexible documentation and presentation package with almost limitless possibility. The package allows for many document types to be rapidly related with textual and graphical information joined in a highly visual form. Building sites, for example, can be documented 'on the fly' with detailed CAD or survey information compiled with the surveyors notes, council submissions, visual impact, environmental studies etc. Other uses are purely educational and the package can be used as both a teaching and learning tool by students documenting a project, for educational material delivery by teachers/lecturers or as a design training system. It has both professional and amateur use: consulting engineers would find this just as useful as a consultant graphic artist, or service bureau, as any product or project can be presented via a 'walk through' presentation.

Product Description

QikLink is a computer-based documentation and presentation package that has the ability to readily access and retrieve intricate information, especially graphical information.

Graphical information such as drawings and photos can be combined with textural information and displayed on a page. “Hot Links” can be set up on any items linking to another page, or request the opening up of documents on any program. There is no limit on the size of the page or the number of pages.

The system has the ability to link together virtually a limitless range of data. It could be construction records, patient data such as dental records, legal documents, minutes of meetings, photographic records, complex (including three dimensional and animated) drawings, scientific data, zoological data, building records, maps, company and financial data, web links, sound, movie clips … and so on. The quality of the records is not compromised with the ability to record high-resolution photographs and precise vector drawings.

The amount of annotation required is minimized when information is linked together graphically. When an arrowhead on a plan drawing opens up a photo, the location and direction of the photo is automatically documented. 

Documents and photos are stored in their original form such that they can be readily amended. Drawings can be easily imported. The QikLink graphical database is very compact. File sizes are minimized.

The completed electronic folder of linked documents can be perused during discussions with colleagues or presented to an audience with dazzling effects.

Presentations become ‘alive’ as the presenter or lecturer can manipulate the presentation to suit the actual moment. The presenter can move around the screen at will, readily zoom to points of interest, write on or over what is on the screen, move back and forward between screen pages in order to explain issues and so on. Thus the presenter takes central stage and the system becomes a tool rather than the fixed slide show of pictures (although this mode can be activated if required).

Most importantly, the documented project can be archived onto a CD-ROM together with the relevant program ‘drivers’. The project can then be run up on any Windows computer without need of installation. Each page of drawings and photos can be directly printed when required. 

 Product at a glance

Product type

Application

Target Industry Sectors

Banking
Commerce
Education:
Manufacturing
Mining and resources:
Research
Transportation
Utilities

Fault tolerance

General consumer

Innovation indicators

Business Advantage
Breaking new ground
Earth shrinking
Expanding horizons
New Business

Performance indicators

Customer support
Standards and codes compliance
Fully supported product
Professionally executed design
Real world design
Beta tested
User benefits
New benchmark

Potential indicators

Wide agency support
Structured for growth
Global design
Identified potential markets
Award recognition
Successful track record

Contact for more information

Peter Chan, Managing Director

Innovation

QikDraw Systems Pty Ltd and its predecessor Chan Computing Services Pty. Ltd. have been Australian suppliers of CAD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) and CAD related software since 1984. In 1987, QikDraw Systems won an Australian Design Award. In 1988 QikDraw Systems won the AITA award as the Computer Graphics Program of the Year.

QikDraw Systems Pty Ltd is 100% Australian owned and all the QikDraw/QikLink software is 100% Australian developed.

There are more than 3000 users of QikDraw around Australia and Overseas. A large number of Schools and Educational Institutions are using QikDraw as the vehicle to teach students in the subjects of Technology Studies and Graphics. Most of our users will testify positively to the ease of use and powerful features of QikDraw as a CAD program. QikDraw was an innovative CAD program at its conception, and still can compete effectively on the technical front against the market leaders.

While there are many innovations relating to QikDraw as a CAD program, it is the use of QikDraw as Documentation, Presentation, Data Acquisition and Management tool that we believe to have immense potentials.

The development of this product stems from the Adelaide University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s need to document the construction of their Engineering and Mathematical Science Building, aiming to produce a CD containing an electronic folder of information including drawings and photos. Detailed descriptions of this development are outlined in the document www.qikdraw.com.au/QikLink.doc.

A positive review (by now out of date) of this development was published in the May 2001 issue of the MultiCAD magazine. 

The product we call QikLink has evolved since the Adelaide University Building project began in 1998. While built around the QikDraw CAD engine, QikLink addresses a variety of user requirements - amongst which the ability to produce high quality models and drawings is only a minor subset. QikLink provides the user with an easy means to produce and maintain an electronic folder of information that can be hot linked together and navigated around freely. The information can include drawings, photos, movies, spreadsheets, minutes of meetings and indeed any type of files. These files can be processed either in QikLink or by other programs.

QikLink can provide the user with: -

a) A Data Acquisition Tool – Digital Photos can be attached to pointers positioned accurately on a plan, with associated text entered as linked text files or on the same screen as the photos. With the help of a notebook computer, this can be processed on site; eliminating time delays and introduced errors.

b) A Documentation Tool – By organizing the information sensibly in the electronic folder, the user enjoys the benefit of knowing that all the necessary documents are appropriately stored and can be readily accessed.

c) An Archival/Distribution Tool – The electronic folder can be archived onto a CD with a version of QikLink incorporated on the same CD. We can then operate the electronic folder directly from the CD on any computer without installation. Drawings and images can be selectively printed from the CD at will. The archival and distribution of project information becomes an easy task.

d) A Presentation Tool – With the ability to zoom and pan at will, high- resolution graphics can be adequately presented. Screens can be hot linked easily so that navigation does not have to follow any predefined pattern. The same set of information collected for documentation purposes can then be used for presentation to colleagues, committees and the wider audience.

e) A DeskTop Manager - With all information set up in appropriate subdirectories, we can easily access the required bits through a Title or Index Page. This would normally lead to various branches relating to one or more projects and maintained by the individual. The branches can then be peeled off (archived) when no longer required.

f) A Management Tool – With each member of the project team producing his/her set of branches and Title Page, the manager can access the member’s Title Page via a local area network and check on progress without having to have personal contact with the member. It is even possible for him to go deeper into that part of the project to extract information he urgently needs.

The last two application areas come to light recently, when our client Ringwood Designs in Mount Gambier, South Australia began to use QikLink for those purposes. The effectiveness is astounding.

Users of QikLink can be trained in one day.

The system would be of immediate great benefit to business enterprises large and small. In the not so distant future, we can foresee the average home user using QikLink (or its derivative) to manage his/her documents of importance as well as the family photos and family trees. Provision of service/training in these areas gives rise to franchising opportunities.

Performance

QikLink has been effectively implemented to document a large variety of projects. QikDraw Systems has produced two CDs to provide an insight into some of the projects documented using QikLink. These are titled “QikLink Business Demo Showcase” and “QikLink Educational Demo Showcase”. Written words (See www.qikdraw.com.au/QikLink Business Demo Showcase.doc and www.qikdraw.com.au/QikLink Educational Demo Showcase.doc) can hardly describe the impact of perusing the projects on the CDs.

In 2001 and 2002, Civil Engineering students at the University of South Australia were taught QikLink techniques. In one semester, they learned to produce 2D-drawings, 3D-models and were asked to produce a presentation combining vector drawings, digital images, schedule of study (usually done in Excel) and a weather report (usually HTML files). The students readily embraced the QikLink concept and the variety and quality of presentations produced with minimal training have been a most pleasant surprise for all the parties involved with the project. The scope of the teaching to UniSA students will be extended in 2003.

In addition, QikLink techniques were used to document the final year design project for the UniSA Civil Engineering students.

The compact file sizes means that we can pack a large number of project or sub-project onto a standard size CD or indeed a mini-CD. Each of these sub-projects contains all the relevant information and is portable across computers.

There is no longer the worry of losing pieces of project information.

Potential

QikLink is the complete graphical documentation/presentation package. The use of a CAD engine allows for the effective handling of vector-drawings in combination with raster-based images (and other documents) with no limitations on page size. Files in the electronic folder are kept in their original form (e.g. .JPG or .MPG files) and can be replaced simply by replacing the file. Thus, the overall file size is minimized while portability is maximized.

Lecturers using QikLink to present their lectures found it far superior to the uni-directional presentation tools such as Power Point. Being able to navigate freely and bringing up other programs where necessary makes it so much easier to explain the finer points. The ability to zoom and pan at will means that it is easy to ensure vital pieces of information can be read by all.

More importantly, the archival requirements for a project can now be merged with the presentation needs. A single electronic folder can be produced for the complete project with subsets being used for various purposes: - discussion amongst colleagues; presentation to committees or wider audience; distribution to clients or associates.

The ease of learning how to operate in the QikLink environment means that users can produce professional looking documents in a fraction of the time taken to do so using Multimedia Authoring tools. 

QikLink transforms QikDraw from a powerful and sophisticated CAD tool, of appeal to a fair but selected section of the community, to a General-Purpose tool that can and should be used by every computer use.

While many products on the market can address various parts of the QikLink functionality, a tool that can seamlessly perform everything outlined is yet to be found. The real innovation is in the ease with which users can learn and master the system.

Much of the QikLink strength has its origin in the years of research and development (as well as user testing) undertaken by QikDraw. 

The ability to support high quality drawings, whether done in QikDraw or imported from other CAD systems, is second to none. Another derivative of QikDraw, marketed as a CAD Viewer, has been praised by a Denver based US IT support company as the only product on the net that lives up to promises in the area of import and display of CAD drawings. The same company is setting up the CAD Viewer as the drawing display engines for all of its more than 500 clients.

The ability to hide or expose bits of information, as the user desires, derives from the layering facility implemented for the CAD engine. The sophisticated inline zooming and panning can hardly be found outside of CAD systems. In addition, the macro sequencing ability of QikDraw leads to the ease of defining display sequences in QikLink, including the interactive display of animated moving parts.

This is why competitors will be hard pressed to provide an alternate solution within the near future.

With suitable marketing efforts, we can see huge potentials for the usage of QikLink around the world. With the ease of customization of the system (all software developed locally), we are uncovering the tips of many application areas. On the “QikLInk Educational Demo Showcase” CD, we have included a segment on letter formation – teaching very young children how the letters (e.g. a) are written. While there is a significant market for this functionality, the scope is magnified many times when we apply the technique to cater for the teaching of scripted languages such as Chinese.

Other information the judges should know

A QikLink evaluation CD will be supplied to every judge

For more user endorsement, please refer to the document www.qikdraw.com.au/Now_where_is_it.doc  

Web-site: www.qikdraw.com.au 

QikLink

Peter Chan
Managing Director

QikDraw Systems Pty Ltd
ABN: 58 008 149 862
158 Gouger Street
 ADELAIDE SA 5000

qikdraw@qikdraw.com.au

(08) 8231 1888

www.qikdraw.com.au 

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