Bentley's OpenDGN Initiative

MicroStation V8i

Bentley OpenDGN represents an unprecedented commitment to maximize Bentley users' return on investment in infrastructure content by encouraging and facilitating its re-use. It is the strongest statement of openness in the history of infrastructure and contributes to the interoperability of the digital information upon which architects, engineers, contractors, and owner-operators rely.

Bentley OpenDGN enables managed environments for infrastructure projects and operations—where tools leverage a unifying platform; where infrastructure information is securely shared and synchronized; and where people, regardless of location or discipline, have the right information to make the best decision for their task.

Bentley OpenDGN's scope furthers managed environments and ensures that the intellectual property a Bentley user creates belongs to them, enabling them to use, reuse, and share infrastructure content among the constituents they choose. Our interest in providing an open exchange of information and choices is extensive and includes:

Bentley i-models

A Bentley i-model is a container for open infrastructure information exchange and enables bidirectional feedback in dynamic workflows. An i-model can be information rich, reliable, and optimized for purpose. A key differentiator of i-models is “provenance,” knowledge of its origin and evolution – essentially this is an i-model’s change history.  

Bentley Navigator

Bentley Navigator is used by infrastructure teams to review and analyze project information. With highly versatile viewing capabilities, Bentley Navigator delivers a more intuitive user experience and improves the interactive quality of information. This alone enables greater project insight and helps avoid costly on-site errors. In addition, teams can analyze projects virtually - to detect and resolve clashes and to simulate project schedules - they can augment data by registering comments in i-models, and they can produce 2D and 3D PDFs for consumption by a wider audience.

Bentley View

Bentley View extends the accessibility of infrastructure data for MicroStation, AutoCAD, or hybrid projects. It is absolutely free for anyone to download and use. Designed for casual users, Bentley View enables the native viewing of DGN and DWG drawings and models as well as i-models. It combines easy-to-use viewing, measuring, and printing tools with the ability to review design history for DGN files and i-models.  

Bentley APIs and SDKs

Bentley application platforms provide developers (as well as users) with extension capabilities -- from easy customization to tight integration with other Windows applications. Developers who want to embed or extend functionality in Bentley products can easily do so with available Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Software Development Kits (SDKs). These include:

  • MicroStation and MicroStation-based product APIs and SDKs: These provide seamless integration of professional-quality applications with MicroStation and Bentley products. It is the recommended way to access Bentley DGN files with full fidelity. Applications can be developed to provide consistent functionality and capabilities across the products and product lines on which they run. MicroStation and Bentley application platform APIs can be used to develop simple utilities, customized commands, or sophisticated commercial applications for specific solutions. Bentley developers use the same APIs to incorporate modular functionality into MicroStation-based products. MicroStation can also host and interface with a variety of programs and applications written in C++, C#, and Visual Basic. Documentation for programming with MicroStation is included with the MicroStation SDK.

    MicroStation includes the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications engine. The MicroStationDGN object library is a powerful development platform to build upon, access, and integrate within your solutions. Information on MicroStation VBA is included with the documentation that is delivered with the product—see SELECTservices Online.

  • ProjectWise SDKs: Various ProjectWise SDKs contain the necessary libraries, documentation, and examples for organizations to customize ProjectWise Explorer and Web Parts and create custom solutions for ProjectWise Publishing Server and ProjectWise InterPlot Organizer and Server.

V8 DGN Libraries from the Open Design Alliance

The Open Design Alliance is a consortium that develops software libraries for members of that alliance to use to read and write V8 DGN files. Bentley is a supporting member in the Alliance—the first, in fact, of this membership category—and provides full documentation and technical support to the Alliance for its implementation, delivery, and maintenance of software libraries to read and write Bentley's format, V8 DGN.

Bentley does not contribute software code nor do we distribute those libraries. Support for those libraries is exclusively through the Open Design Alliance

V8 DGN File Format Reference 

Eligible Bentley subscribers can also request access to Bentley documentation and technical support for the V8 DGN format for internal enterprise systems integration. The contents of the V8 DGN File Format Reference are sufficient to allow a skilled programmer to interpret the data within the Bentley DGN file that Bentley products create and consume. To access the V8 DGN File Format Reference, certain conditions must be met:

  • Download the MicroStation V8 File Format Reference request form. If upon reading it, you agree to its terms, print it and fill in the information requested.
  • Mail or fax the completed form to the Bentley OpenDGN Coordinator:

    Bentley OpenDGN Coordinator
    Bentley Systems, Incorporated
    685 Stockton Drive
    Exton, PA
    19341-0678 USA
    FAX: +1 610 458-1060