GIS and BIM: Integration of two Disruptive Technology

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By Ms. Soumya Das, Director – RIPL, RudrabhishekInfosystem Pvt. Ltd.

GIS (Geographical Information System) and BIM (Building Information Modelling) are two disruptive technologies that have massively impacted way traditional work was done. Both opened new avenues to store and analyze massive volume of data, made visualizing information possible like never before, changed the way projects were planned, saved time and thereby money. Both technologies operate at completely different scales.

GIS is a platform which is used to visualize, analyze, store and edit geographical information in the map. GIS helps in Spatial analytics, model and forecast, share information and aid in planning and designing large infrastructure projects. Traditionally which was done using paper maps and measurement tools few decades back.

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a software driven interface which provides the project delivery team with a 3D virtual visualization of the look and feel of the building that has to be constructed. The traditional building designs majorly depended upon two-dimensional technical drawing techniques (plans, elevations, sections, etc.). BIM extends this to beyond 3D, augmenting the three primary spatial dimensions (width, height, and depth) with time as the fourth dimension (4D), cost as the fifth (5D), Estimation as the sixth (6D) and Facility Management as seventh (7D).

While BIM offers detailed 3D visualization and the ability to organize huge volumes of data related to buildings and interpolate it with time and money to achieve most effective results, GIS is applicable for planning in large areas which might consist of a city, locality or multi-site environment, in a platform which is highly customizable, well equipped for analysis. While BIM is best suited for managing data related to the building itself, GIS is more applicable for everything outside buildings.

GIS information operates at city, regional, and country level, whereas BIM data applies to designing and building a specific shape or structure. GIS is used for planning roads, bridges, airports, rail networks, and other infrastructure in the context of their surroundings, BIM information is key enabler for the design and construction of those structures. By the integration of GIS in BIM, a layer of geospatial context gets mixed with BIM model. For example, GIS can provide insights about flood-prone areas and give designers accurate information to influence the structure design of the building, orientation and even construction materials.

It can be best said that BIM and GIS technologies rather being competitive technologies are more of complementary technologies.

Integration of BIM and GIS with time information, allows project participants to better understand the impacts of decisions before, during and after the construction of a project.Integration of BIM and GIS enables users to unlock the value in diverse data sets to enable applications including citizen engagement, sustainability analysis, disaster preparedness, and much more operational and management uses.

The strength of a GIS is the ability to work at any scale (and move between them seamlessly). It is for this reason that we see GIS gaining importance in the BIM and Facilities Management space. With the ability to scale, facilities managers and building contractors can have a common operating picture which delivers an appropriate level of detail based on the context. The real power of scalability comes with the ability to view data at both levels. This way, the questions around life cycle cost, carbon footprint etc. can be answered easily.

In ACE Industry, critical data gets lost between every stage. From planning, designing, construction till operation, there is certain critical data which gets lost. But with an GIS-BIM integrated platform the data loss is minimized. The information / data prepared in both GIS and BIM platforms can be are in cloud. Stakeholders of both infrastructure and building projects will be able to manage data from any part of the world. Integration of GIS and BIM will provide better designs and long-term savings.

When we talk about bringing these two technologies since GIS and BIM are originally being used for different purposes, numerous challenges are likely to be faced while integration, however when a geospatial context is given to the BIM process means the project will get better planned designs and hence will save the money. The integration of these two critical technologies can bring excellent results into construction industry.

The integrated GIS and BIM platform will bring about a reformative change in the infrastructure designs and construction scenario in India.

Corporate Comm India (CCI Newswire)