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Make sense of your BIM data by leveraging the Building layer

Now that we have geolocated our BIM model, we can start working on our BIM-GIS integration. For the first part of this blog, I am going showcase the workflow of reading directly from the BIM file workspace as a source. For part two, I will demonstrate the workflow of using a geodatabase dataset created from the BIM File to Geodatabase geoprocessing tool. These two workflows will give us the foundation to build more complex workflows later on, but before we can start working with the Building layer, we need to understand a few key concepts.

As a Geospatial user, I am starting to become familiar with BIM and have learned that not every user has the same data requirements. The client, engineer, architect, general contractor, or consultant may require access to different data from the BIM. For example, the general contractor needs access to certain layers or elements while other users, such as the BIM manager or client, need to see a comprehensive view of the data. Different design disciplines often create different parts of the model as individual BIM models. This means a single building may be made up of multiple BIM models.

Part 1: BIM file workspace as a source–Basic

I received a request from the inspection team that they need to view the architectural elements of the building (excluding furniture) along with the solar panels and the emergency and security elements such as fire extinguishers, exit signs, and outlets from the building.

To remove unneeded layers, complete the following steps:

1. Drag the BIM file workspace to the scene.

2. Select a layer or layers. Right-click the layer, and click the Remove

Remove the following layers:

3. Drag the Generic model layer from the Architectural discipline to the Electrical

Now that we have the Building layer the way that we need it, we will see if we have elements that we would like to remove from our layers. After a quick inspection of the Generic model layer, we discover that it has additional elements that are outside of our requirements.

4. Right-click the Generic model layer and browse to the Properties

The Layer Properties window will appear.

5. Browse to the definition query.

6. Click New Definition Query.

7. Turn on SQL.

8. Write the following query:

FamilyType = ‘MicroFingerprintReaderFlush’

9. Click Apply.

10 Click OK.

Repeat steps 4 to 10 for the LightingFixtures layer using the following query:

FamilyType = ‘LPX7-Green Letters- Universal-120V’ Or FamilyType = ‘GuideLed PL/BL NEN’

Now I can create a building scene layer package that is specific to the needs of the inspection team.

It is common for the design coordination and construction to represent a single building as multiple BIM models. In most cases, each BIM model represents different areas of expertise such as Structural, Architectural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Piping (MEP), or a subset of the design or project.

Part 2: Source feature dataset–Advanced

I received a request from the BIM manager to show a whole building as a single building layer that can be published so the client can view the progress.

Complete the following steps:

1. Open the BIM File To Geodatabase geoprocessing tool.

The Identifier field is optional. In my case, because this is a 50 percent deliverable, I am going to use that as my identifier through my dataset.

Now that we have the dataset that combines the multiple BIM model, we need to create a Building layer.

2. Open the Make Building Layer geoprocessing tool.

3. Open Local Scene or Global Scene.

4. For Input Feature Dataset, browse for the dataset created in step 1b.

5. For Output Layer, optionally, give the layer name the same name as the dataset.

6. Click Run.

Now I can create a building scene layer that is specific to the needs of the client.


Thank you to The Ohio State University Facilities Information Technology Services Team for sharing their BIM Data

About the author

David Alvarez

David is a product engineer on the BIM/CAD team and have been with Esri since 2018.


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