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Integrating GIS in BIM


The advancements in the field of information technologies have made tremendous developments in the construction industry. BIM is an already established tool that is used widely in the industry to manage construction projects and enhance construction planning and design efficiency. The integration of GIS (Geographic information system) with BIM has  a huge potential in managing construction project activities. That is why itself, BIM technology is used in many of the construction projects.

Geographic Information System (GIS) is an appropriate technology that integrates locational and thematic information in a single environment. It can ensure clarity to all phases in a construction industry such as creation and management of data, integration of information, cost estimation etc. It also improves the coordination among the planners, designers and contractors and thus makes the decision-making more effective. The planning and design phases of a construction industry need large number of data, which are stored in various forms like diagrams, tables and charts. GIS can help the industry by sorting all these data properly. Its mechanism of rapid retrieval of data will enable the related parties to use them when needed.

We all know that BIM is a method in which all the building objects that combine to make up a building design coexist in a single database and it helps all the participants in a project to understand the entire life cycle from a single point of view. It also makes the comprehensive analysis of financial and environmental cost of a building project. Now let us look how GIS will help BIM. GIS can help store all the data in a central repository and relate them with a common geography. Moreover, it enables the assessment of a project at any scale, which is the main point that makes the importance of GIS in BIM. As GIS is able to scale at any level, the building contractors and facilities managers get a common picture that gives an appropriate level of detail based on the context. It also enables to answer the queries on life cycle cost, carbon footprint etc.

The benefits of GIS in BIM are several. Spatial analytics is one of the main capabilities of GIS that enables the designers and project managers to analyze the impact of their design in the conceptual stage, which is called Geodesign. It can visualize and analyze the natural and built environments and their impacts on infrastructure systems like transportation, land use, water resource and the life of the people etc. GIS can forecast and model the actual construction and the particular instances like emergency situations. Enhancement of information sharing is the most important advantage of GIS in BIM. As it standardizes data and processes, the various organization or departments can share information more clearly and easily.

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