BIM in infrastructure is closely connected to GIS. Every infrastructure project begins with gathering of existing information (surveying data – digital terrain model of existing ground, parcel data, existing pipe infrastructure data, other infrastructure data like phone and power cables, etc.). The main purpose of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is to reduce project costs and to increase project quality. One of the most important input parameters for achieving these goals is existing GIS data. If existing data is correct, up to date and easily accessible to every designer, coordination problems can be detected early in the design stage of the project, before the construction begins. By detecting coordination problems on time, project costs can be reduced significantly. Other benefits of BIM include data rich 3D models where each model element has its own property data which further describes it. Such intelligent 3D models can eliminate the problems that happen because of the wrong interpretation of 2D data by designers or other project members.
Every “BIM ready” software should have these three main characteristics:
- Possibility to create 3D model;
- Possibility to create data rich model with any amount of property data;
- Possibility to communicate and collaborate with other software using some of the industry standard file types (IFC, LandXML, etc.).
StudioARS Urbano Software satisfies all the above requirements. Urbano can create an intelligent, data rich 3D model by converting plain AutoCAD objects (lines, polylines, texts, blocks with attributes…), by importing data from various SQL databases (e.g. Microsoft Access Database, PostgreSQL Database…), ESRI Shapefiles, or plain TXT files. Besides that, Urbano can communicate directly with Autodesk Civil 3D (import-export functionality for Gravity Pipe Networks).
For hydraulic modelling of water distribution networks, Urbano can import and export INP files (standard file format for hydraulic modelling software like EPANET, Bentley WaterCAD, etc.). This is especially important because such modelling software can’t produce data rich 3D models, nor detailed designs (profiles, cross sections, earthwork quantity take-offs) and plot them for construction purposes. Urbano can, efficiently and easily. When detailed design is done, you can export your model with all hydraulic data and input parameters back to INP file. For sewage networks, Urbano offers export of entire network with all the hydraulic data and input parameters to EPA SWMM Software.
In addition to detailed design functionality, Urbano also supports standard GIS functionality such as queries, thematic mapping, flexible data tables, etc. that can be useful in design process as well.
In Urbano, data rich 3D model can easily be created by applying 3D style and assigning property data. It is important to say that Urbano 3D model is not a separate set of 3D solid objects, but just one of the possible views of the model in 3D, where the dynamic behavior of the model is fully retained. Such model can be exported to IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) – standard file format for communication and collaboration in BIM process. With IFC you can go to various Autodesk products including Navisworks, Revit, InfraWorks and any other BIM ready software. Besides IFC, Urbano also supports LandXML file format (import-export functionality). Through LandXML, Urbano can communicate with Civil 3D and InfraWorks among other software. Urbano has also direct communication with Autodesk Navisworks through Navisworks native NWC file format.
When detailed design, BIM model and the construction process are done, it is very important to store “as built” model properly for whole life cycle asset management. One day that data rich BIM model may become GIS input data for some other future project. From Urbano you can go back to standard GIS file formats like ESRI Shapefiles, various SQL databases or other software like Civil 3D.
Head of development at StudioARS
Urbano works on Autodesk AutoCAD, Map3D and Civil3D 2015-2020.
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