GIS BIM integration: the future, a challenge and many opportunities

Can you define in a few words the GIS and the BIM?

To put it briefly, a GIS (English acronym for Geographical Information System), integrates software tools and large amounts of complex data referring to realities that can have spatial referencing, mostly territorial in nature, providing structured information storage and powerful tools for modeling, analysis and publication. The GIS, then, is a combination of information, technology and management models.

Similarly, the BIM (Building Information Modeling) combines a collaborative work methodology for the creation of construction projects, and does so by centralizing all project information in a digital information model created with computer tools that allow the management of the buildings throughout their life cycle.

So, the GEOBIM concept, what would it consist of?

As I said, both environments have common characteristics (they involve data, models, tools), although the BIM focuses the planning, construction and maintenance of buildings while the GIS allows to manage the territories (cities, regions, countries) in which all assets built, infrastructure, environmental and socio-economic realities are located. Therefore, both environments, from their respective specialization, are called to integrate sufficiently to be efficient in themselves, provide benefits to the concomitant scope and provide value to the whole. Thus, GEOBIM would be the space where both processes must meet and cooperate, sharing data and workflows in a kind of continuity of specializations.

¿Is the integration of GIS and BIM a reality or something to come?

In the first place, I think it is more appropriate to talk about hybridization than integration, since what is going to be produced is going to be a new, more complex reality by combining the two preceding ones, without losing their idiosyncrasy and functionality. This confluence is beginning to occur, it is not yet a consolidated reality, but its evolution is still very fast since it constitutes a great business opportunity for the agents of the technological sector. These are investing heavily in the development of new tools and in the interoperability of environments.

Can you specify it a little more?

Yeah sure. The reference in this regard is the collaboration agreement between Autodesk and Esri, which in recent months is giving us a growing interaction and two-way data exchange between the ArcGIS and Revit. Currently, for example, we can already analyze the geographic, environmental, demographic data of the area where a building is going to be built to make context decisions, visualizing the MDT data and 3D maps in the Revit model. Or we can perform an analysis in GIS of the repercussions and interactions between the projected building and its territorial environment: flood risk, impact of surrounding traffic, involvement of underground infrastructure, solar radiation …)

What can be the difficulties and the keys to success of this symbiosis between BIM and GIS?

I believe that what will determine the good progress and implementation of these paradigms will be, above all, the adaptability of companies and public institutions, both when promoting and adopting them. Organizations should update and plan well the strategies to follow in the face of the challenge of the new framework, which by definition is disruptive but that can bring great advances in quality and productivity.

And how to face this situation of change?

In situations of technological or organizational leap, users often turn to experts to assist them in defining the plan to follow, help them implement the tools and accompany them in the transformation of their work processes.

As reference partners of Esri and Autodesk, world leading manufacturers respectively in the GIS and BIM segments, we perform systems and data audit tasks, we collaborate in the design of transition plans, we provide the necessary software products, we train staff that will use them and in general we get involved in the success of the process.

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