Smart Diagrams

In BAA’s experience, visualization tools, such as P-diagrams, FMEAs, and boundary diagrams, are critical to the engineering process. These tools often provide a much-needed high level view of data relationships which is difficult to achieve when using an abstract database. However, while these tools are useful they often lack a meaningful connection to the data they strive to represent. Our solution to this complex issue is to convert the standard representations into “smart” diagrams.


A smart diagram is a graphical representation of data in which the composite shapes can store data and communicate with each other or outside sources. In a database a user can manipulate the data with tools such as filters and queries, but they typically cannot effectively view data relationships. Graphical representations on the other hand are quite effective at displaying relationships but lack the ability to be filtered or efficiently searched. A smart diagram combines the benefits of both by visually representing data relationships in a format that can be quickly queried or filtered.

The smart diagram examples below are in a boundary diagram format which is a graphical illustration of the relationships between the subsystems, assemblies, sub assemblies, and components within the object as well as the interfaces with the neighboring systems. The boundary diagram identifies the flows of information between the system and external influences. The entire systems and relationships can be shown as a single visual representations.

What is the iVRT?

One type of visualization tool mentioned above is a boundary diagram, which is used to display the high level sub-system interactions of a larger system, such as the air flow between the Air Intake and the Head in a Diesel engine. BAA has developed a Microsoft Visio Add-On which allows users to build smart boundary diagrams from scratch as well as convert older diagrams built in Visio. The integrated Visual Relationships Tool (iVRT) provides the user with a host of convenient features including the ability to filter relationships and sub-systems, query specific data fields, highlight information, automatically create data relationships, and connect to the customer’s requirements database, PTC Integrity.

Benefits of the iVRT

  • Time saving automation features:

    • Data migration/synchronization

    • Old diagram conversion

    • Shape relationship formation

    • Initial diagram creation from structured data

  • Visualization assists in identifying gaps in requirements

  • Drag/drop stencil makes diagram creation/modification simple

  • Shapes can link to PTC Integrity

Visualize It.            Actualize It.              Optimize It.

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