Benefits of BIM and GIS integration in construction
How to exploit the benefits of the integration between the BIM methodology and the data collected in the GIS thematic maps
The integration between BIM (Building Information Modelling) and GIS (Geographic Information System) represents a great evolutionary leap in the construction sector, especially for the design and management of large infrastructure works.
In fact, by combining the power of location intelligence with BIM processes, it is possible to obtain a more complete and useful vision for the management of both public and private works.
Let’s discover together what are the advantages for the construction sector and how to manage the integration between BIM models and GIS thematic maps thanks to a BIM-GIS software.
What is BIM GIS integration?
The integration between the BIM (known as the process of managing the digital container of information relating to a work) and the GIS (geographical information system that allows to represent the events that occur in a given territory) is the process that generates a workflow capable of exchanging data from one system to another without loss of information, interrogating the data within a single database.
An approach based on the centrality of the data generates a more in-depth vision of the work and the urban and natural context of reference. This results is an informed decision-making process, greater involvement of stakeholders and faster and more effective processes.
Thanks to this new type of approach, GIS data enriches the BIM model with information and BIM in turn feeds data from GIS information systems.
The criterion of the digital twin applied systemically also for infrastructures allows to collect in a single container the geometric model of the work, the technical sheets but also the GIS data relating to the territory in which the infrastructure is located (weather information, seismic data, etc.).
There are many fields of application: the information in GIS maps can be exploited in a BIM process to improve environmental resource optimization, energy saving, security and much more.
Here is a concrete example.
By leveraging data entered in GIS thematic maps, such as building sizes, paved areas, permeable areas, etc., it is possible to identify the amount of rainwater that can be collected and consequently, design adequate and well-sized collection systems to irrigate public green, parks and gardens.
Or again, in the case of designing large-scale infrastructure works, such as a road system that also includes specific works such as bridges, service stations, etc., we would start from the BIM model of the road system and the various specific works, up to a complete cartographic database, thanks to integration with GIS data and maps.
All this information flows into a single digital container accessible by all, safe and always available and implementable over time.
One could even imagine creating a cadastre of public works, uploading this information all together and linking it to the National Information Archive of Public Works. This mechanism would also make it possible to monitor the state of management and conservation of the works themselves.
In summary, the parties involved in the analysis, planning and design phases will be able to better understand the projects in their context and predict the impact they will have on the natural and built environment.
The acquisition of these details in the initial phase of the life cycle of a project will also make it possible to foresee any problems and reduce risks and delays in deliveries.
What is the difference between BIM and GIS?
BIM and GIS are two methodologies that work very well together.
Today, in fact, more than talking about the difference between the two (BIM vs GIS), we tend more and more often to see them in terms of integration.
However, in some cases there is still someone who puts the two technologies in competition with each other rather than in coordination. According to this current of thought, the BIM must deal with the management of data relating to the building and the GIS of everything that surrounds the building itself but without a mutual interaction between the two disciplines.
In fact, it is believed that CAD integrates better with the GIS system and is more flexible to analyse and graph data referring to the urban scale.
This belief also stems from a not yet in-depth knowledge of BIM and the tools currently available.
It is only a matter of time, therefore, and the integration between BIM and GIS will lead to a change that is proving beneficial for everyone.
Online software to manage the integration between BIM and GIS models
To achieve this, we need a single system, a BIM-GIS software, that integrates GIS data and BIM models.
usBIM.gis is the GIS cloud service that allows you to:
- import, view, and edit GIS maps in .GeoJSON made with other applications
- create new GIS maps linked to BIM models starting with OpenStreetMap™, Esri.WorldImagery™, GMaps-Streets™, GMaps-Satellite™, GMaps-Terrain™
- insert graphic elements and notations such as lines, rectangles, polygons, markers, layers, and custom properties
- integrate BIM models and Google Maps
- connect documentary links from the cloud platform to create real thematic maps of the BIM model
- collaborate with multiple people and in real time on the same document
- export documents in GeoJSON format.
Basically, you have an integrated system that is configured as a cloud environment in which BIM professionals and GIS designers can collaborate throughout the life cycle of a work, integrating and updating GIS and BIM data over time.
Stakeholders can take advantage of digital information stored in the cloud, update data based on analyses conducted over time and make more informed decisions, also monitoring the impact of the work on the reference context.
By selecting an object from the map (imported externally or made from scratch directly on usBIM.gis), you can view its properties and manage them thanks to numerous editing features.
The integration between BIM model and GIS map can be completed by adding information to the map by associating links to documents already uploaded to the platform. usBIM is in fact also a solution for BIM document management with which to manage all documents in the BIM process.
How to operate with usBIM.gis
The interface of usBIM.gis is extremely simple and intuitive:
- on the left side of the screen there are folders for storing markers and polygons and dividing them into layers;
- at the centre is the map (satellite or vector);
- on the right side there is one of the three menus showing:
- users and messages (it is possible that several users are connected at the same time on the same file and there is the possibility to communicate in the integrated chat);
- properties of the selected objects;
- attached documents.
Once the project area has been identified, it is possible to draw directly on it with lines/polygons and combine them with markers.
You can at any time switch from a satellite view to a map.
By selecting an object, you can view its properties and edit them.
usBIM.gis also allows you to attach documents from your device or from an online folder on usBIM cloud.
The benefits of BIM GIS integration for the infrastructure sector
The possibility of simultaneously managing the BIM models and the territorial system of reference represents the greatest advantage of BIM GIS integration.
It is possible, in fact, to quickly acquire the data collected in the field and analyze them through GIS functions. What you need is the geographical bases connected to the 3D model as a reference.
In addition, all the information contained in the BIM model can be studied with a broader perspective than that of the individual work. This would define its application in urban and territorial design and planning.
Ultimately, this integration promotes the implementation of more sustainable projects and allows:
- a more informed and efficient decision-making process;
- the reduction of the costs of construction and management of the works;
- interoperability and collaboration between all the parties involved (technicians, clients, public administration, etc.);
- the development of “smart” cities;
- the reduction of the duration for construction works.