Geographic Information System referred to as either GEO or GIS, is a computerized tool used to store, analyze and visualize data for geographical positions on Earth’s surface. It is a conceptualized framework that examines spatial relationships, patterns and trends. It can also be used to create maps that performs analysis, shares information and solves problems.
In the AEC industry BIM Services have already revolutionized the pre-construction process. Now by integrating GEOBIM, engineers and architects are planning to streamline the construction workflow. It aims to create a constantly updating building model that exists in 4D i.e. 3D with time. This model would be updated in real time allowing to come to solve problems as they arise during the lifecycle of the construction process.
Before moving ahead into this article it is imperative to note that GEOBIM is still in its infancy, though theoretically advantageous we are still far from it being a mainstream application. Below we will highlight its need and how can it be benefit the construction process.
1. The need for GEOBIM:
There are roughly about 200,000 people moving into cities each day, by that standards the number of people living in the cities is going to basically double over the next 30 years. It has taken us almost 6000 years to develop what we have today, and in order double that in the next 30 construction industry is going to need all the help it can get to fast track. It is not just the surge of the demand but also the changing priority of people’s need. The national governments and clients are now concerned with quality, safety and sustainability. GEOBIM will enable the construction industry meet these requirements by creating efficient workflows that would reduce waste, lessen mistakes and permit disaster management on site.
2. GEOBIM for supervision:
The current supervision process is more manual and creates a lot of challenges especially in large worksites. Traditionally, the site supervisor would leave his trailer and cover perhaps a small portion of site every day. With GEOBIM, LiDAR, Ariel images, drones etc. can be used to map the site on regular basis and updates the key stakeholders. This creates an ease in information facilitation, moreover any problem or error can immediately be noticed and consequently rectified saving resources, money and countless man hours.
3. GEOBIM for building permit process:
Any architect or an engineer would take environmental variables into account while designing a building. The municipality before giving building permission would check the building and its design’s impact against the environment, such as if it is below the maximum building height, its exposure to noise and solar radiation etc. They also check for visual building codes to ensure that the new building maintains the character of a built-up area. Compared to 2D cross-section drawings, the advantages given by GEOBIM makes the process of acquiring the permit faster and with more accurate visualization
4. GEOBIM for strong structural integrity:
Modern technologies like Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), multi-temporal satellite imageries etc. can be used to get the correct terrain conditions of any structural site. This ensures that the building foundation is correctly aligned with the topographic elements. It especially essential when construction on a slope or any non symmetrical surface. Geo-spatial technology combined with Structural BIM Services can be used for proper construction work-site safety assessment like ensuring the placement and strength of beams and columns, ensure that the construction is following all the building codes and standards etc.
The advantages of integrating BIM and GIS are plenty, however there are also certain significant challenges. The foremost being the differences between the two software like their purpose of data collection, the level of details, their open standards: (City)GML and LandInfra/InfraGML for geo and IFC for BIM etc. However, looking at its obvious advantages constant research is being done to overcome these advantages, and the future application of GEOBIM remains hopeful and bright.