Utilizing BIM for Sustainable Architecture

An analysis and continuation of my graduate thesis at the University of Texas at Austin.

Posts Tagged ‘GIS’

More support for BIM & GIS

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on October 19, 2010

Here is more support for the integration of BIM and GIS at Spatial Roundtable.  Shelli Stockton views BIM as a tool primarily for design and construction, whereas GIS is a tool primarily for ongoing facilities management.  Both tools overlap and should ideally “plug” into one another, but each has its area of appropriate application.  The next step in supporting integration, however, is determining the technical interoperability and data-sharing methods between BIM and GIS.  First, it is important to ask:  What is the future of BIM & GIS?  Should there be emphasis on overlap or separation between functions?  Will a third-party tool be developed that can bring together BIM data and GIS data OR will there be a import/export file type between databases?

To date, there appears to be evidence towards keeping BIM and GIS tools in their respective realms of application.  Futhermore, it also appears that integration and interoperability will occur through import/export file type(s).  There has been some research performed involving the export of BIM data through IFC data schema and imported into ArcGIS.  This case study summary by Mikael Johansson and Mattias Roupé demonstrates that building geometry done using Revit can be successfully imported to ArcGIS with correct spatial parameters intact.  buildingSMART International has been working on integrating data transfer protocols between BIM and GIS platforms through it’s Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data schema.  The latest IFC 2×4 release has new features including the ability to “connect the BIM/IFC schema to information held in GIS databases.”  I’m assuming this means that GIS data can be imported into BIM tools and vice versa.

While this research and development is encouraging, I am curious how future development of IFC will handle both BIM and GIS data interoperability.  One challenge I foresee (beyond the difficulty of translating/interpreting data between tools) is in the management of file sizes and data permissions/ownership.  I’m sure there are more, but I’m waiting to hear from other experts out there…anyone?

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Thesis Excerpt: BIM & GIS

Posted by Justin Firuz Dowhower, AIA, LEED AP on August 7, 2010

A second area of research involves combining or linking information between BIM and GIS.  Most counties and cities in the U.S. have GIS data, which typically include topography, vegetation, utilities, building footprints, streets, land-use, zoning, plots, and demographics.  This information is very valuable for gathering statistics and for development planning.  BIM on the other hand is also valuable for gathering specific information about building components and local site information.  GIS is certainly a macro-information tool and BIM by comparison would be a micro-information tool, however, each tool tends to reference information that is represented in the other.  There has been increasing interest in how GIS and BIM databases might link and share data between platforms.  Considering the current challenges in trying to achieve a usable exchange format even among proprietary BIM companies (IFC or otherwise), it seems unlikely that an even broader exchange format might be developed between these same BIM platforms and various GIS platforms.  Nonetheless, the potential benefits of merging information databases could have enormous long-term benefits for city planners and developers.

Source:  Dowhower, Justin Firuz.  Adapting Building Information Modeling (BIM) for Affordable & Sustainable Housing:  Chapter 7:  Future Research.  Austin, TX:  The University of Texas at Austin, 2010.

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