In Windows, you will often use either Map Network Drive dialog or net use command to map a network drive. You can use that method with a shared folder trick to map a local folder as a drive too, as described here.
But there is an even easier way, that is more flexible in some ways. It is the subst command, and it basically tells your Windows system to refer to a folder as a drive letter. Its usage is very simple, for example:
subst J: "E:\some folder\J_DRIVE"
If you want that to show up as a ‘drive’ at each reboot, just put the above command into a CMD file and point to it from your Windows startup folder.
For your assistance, here is the path to your typical User Startup folder in Windows:
BIM documents andfiles are often linked into each other, such as consultant links in a contractor Revit model, or plain NWCs appended to a master NWF Federated coordination file. In each case, the BIM application will try to find and open the linked files when opening the host model.
However, this only works if the pathing is predictable (ie. ‘the file is on C drive in folder MODELS’), and the typical situation is that you are running a corporate LAN that gives secure access to one or more mapped network drives (J drive or H drive or L drive). The problem is that your corporate LAN isn’t typically accessible via the cloud. A number of products exist to try and solve that problem, such as Citrix ShareFile.
But what about Box? It has a reliable, proven infrastructure and apps for all of your main devices. Its scalable and essentially secure. But… What about the mapped drive problem?
As part of our work at Virtual Built, we come across problems and provide solutions for this kind of issue all the time.
Here is how you can shareBIM via the Box cloud andretain file pathing:
The first thing you will need is a common drive letter that can be applied to all of your computers and workstations. Sometimes, you may already have a secondary drive installed, perhaps with a drive letter of E. What we are going to do is point the BoxSync app at a subfolder of E drive, and then all the members of the team will use E:\BOX\BoxSync\ as the ‘root’ for all shared documents and models.
First problem: what if we don’t have an E drive (secondary hard drive or partition)? Well you can trick your system into thinking that you do…
On C drive, make a root folder called C:\E_DRIVE
Right click this folder in Windows Explorer and enable Sharing
After sharing is enabled, you can ‘map’ the local folder as a drive. When mapping, use the local computer name with two backslashes, followed by the folder name.
Mapped drive to local folder
Now, we install BoxSync 4. After install, you will have one opportunity at first run to set the storage location. We choose to use E:\BOXas the folder…
That is basically it! Now, BoxSync will sync your models and projects from the cloud. When you set up your models inside that root folder (E:\BOX\BoxSync\), then the Revit linksand Navisworks NWCs will all be able to ‘resolve’ properly on each system that you set up in this way. Then, when you save changes in that location they will then be synced back up to the cloud and down to your team, all automatically.
Aaron Maller provided some useful insight about how he paths RPC on a network location in the comments: “The .rpc library we have is 12.3 GB of stuff. Admittedly, thats not THAT much space, but i cant justify having it on the hard drives. Since our Material JPG’s are on the network as well (Additional render appearance paths) if someone is trying to render at home we have issues anyway, unless their machine has configured Offline Files, which we do with the libraries when people have to work off site. Then its local, but still pathed to the network. :)”
Note: one of the nice things about the recent updates to Archvision Dashboard is that it supports license login / logout, meaning you can logout of Dashboard in the office, then go home and login again without using an extra license. This would give you access to the cloud library of RPCs, which could be downloaded and used wherever you are.