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How BIM and GIS support land use planning

How BIM and GIS support land use planning

Land-use planning strategically connects human activities and spatial arrangements. Learn how BIM and GIS support this process

If you are a professional in the AECO sector, you know that when designing a construction project, one of the aspects to consider is its context. In other words its insertion in the territory. It is essential, in fact, keeping always in mind the connection that exists between construction, urban planning and landscaping in relation to social or economic needs. Thus placing the property in its context, in other words: in the territory in which it will be inserted.

The task is certainly delicate but fortunately there are specific BIM GIS software that help us to geolocate our models in GIS maps. Therefore obtaining a more complete vision of the construction project. Thus its urban and environmental context of reference.

What does Land-use planning means?

Land planning is an interdisciplinary field in the engineering and social sciences that studies the general space layout of the territory. But what exactly does it mean to study the general space layout of the territory?

It means analyzing and designing a strategic integration between two aspects:

  • distribution and spatial levels;
  • the human activities that will be carried out at the various levels.

Within each spatial level, various elements will coexist:

  • residential building;
  • commercial facilities;
  • environment and landscape;
  • infrastructures, roads and parking lots;
  • human, environmental, economic and social factors;
  • etc.

The task of Land-use or spatial planning is to analyze the specific needs of the place and study the best integration between the elements and factors just listed. The objective is to support and promote sustainable and equitable development at all territorial levels.

Land-use planning

Land-use planning

How does the land-use planning process work?

In order to guarantee a balanced, homogeneous and environmentally friendly development of the territory as well as social needs, land-use planning follows a process that includes the following steps:

  1. objectives identification– in this first step we analyze the social and economic needs related to human activities that will be carried out in the territory in order to meet these needs while at the same time limiting their territorial and environmental impact;
  2. cognitive framework drafting (QC) – once the objectives have been identified, we draft a cognitive framework of the social, economic and environmental aspects. For this, as mention, we had to previously analyze the territory development’s needs and requirements.
  3. strategic plan identification – at this point we have sufficient information to carry a study and plan. In other words a framework of strategic actions that will lead to balanced and sustainable territorial development at all levels;
  4. monitoring – the last phase consists of monitoring the effects of the strategic plan previously planned and implemented. Based on the monitoring, we’ll evaluate the level of implemented actions effectiveness. As well as any carried out improvement plan effectiveness.
spatial planning process

Spatial planning process

What is the difference between land-use planning and urban planning?

Territorial and urban planning are often spoken of as if the two terms indicate the same thing. The reality, however, is different and although there is a close correlation between territorial and urban planning, the two terms indicate different approaches and spheres of action.

The substantial difference between spatial planning and urban planning lies in the different spatial scale of intervention.

Land-use planning intervenes on a much larger scale than the urban scale by dealing with various factors and sectors that coexist on the territory. Thus intertwining with their own social, political and economic management. The Land-use approach allows a governance of civil, social and economic life, with a view to sustainable development, creating and managing correlations between various disciplines of civil life, including:

  • regional economy;
  • geography;
  • public policies analysis;
  • economic planning;
  • social analysis.

Urban planning, on the other hand, is concerned only with urban space, acting on a smaller scale than the territorial one. Urban planning therefore does not provide for the management of the interaction between the various disciplines of civil life that are left to the competence of Land-use planning.

However, the two disciplines are strongly interrelated and share programming methods. Mostly aimed at defining accurate plans for design, approval, implementation and subsequent monitoring.

What are the BIM and GIS tools to support Land-use planning?

Spatial planning makes use of a number of more or less classical tools. The most commonly used tools for land use planning are:

  • the urban plan that defines all the general directives for planning municipal land;
  • the territorial coordination plan through which all activities – public and private – economic, social and territorial development are coordinated;
  • the landscape master plan for the management of all landscaping attraction sights;
  • the Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which includes specific policies in the sustainable energy field.

In addition to these tools, Land-use planning may also rely on the synergistic interaction between BIM (Building Information Modeling) and GIS (Geographic Information System).

The enormous potential of BIM methodology is related, among other things, to the amount of data that a model may include. This data package can in fact extend to higher scales than those of the individual building, up to embrace the large scale of urban projects and Land-use planning.

When BIM begins to interact with GIS, the potential of IFC data interoperability with the BIM model expands in correlation with available GIS databases.

The cooperation between these two worlds, BIM and GIS, allows among other things:

  • integrating GIS maps into the BIM process;
  • obtaining a shared database and a new level of information on the construction site and of the building digital twin;
  • create, view and edit GIS maps online;
  • create a shared and collaborative work environment;
  • connect GIS data with BIM information and obtain interactive maps;
  • geolocate BIM models on a thematic maps.

Clearly, in order to take advantage of the advantages provided by the integration between BIM and GIS, it is necessary to use specific BIM GIS software. My advice is to try it now for free and start appreciating the advantages of a geolocalized BIM model integrated with GIS maps.