Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

AEC Firms Commit to Deliver Process Improvements and Technical Excellence

Integrate GIS and BIM

At an ever-growing rate and pace, AEC industry leaders seek technology solutions that help them deliver projects efficiently and sustainably.  


And yet, there is a critical need to integrate GIS and BIM – strong connections of the tools, data, and people are the secret to successful and repeatable project delivery. GIS and BIM are often kept separate, but when these components integrate, projects and teams thrive.  

Gare du Nord station – BIM content placed in GIS scene providing context and details for wider access and exploration.

Reducing internal silos between disciplines, streamlining workflows, and increasing productivity – these are differentiators in the marketplace. GIS-enabled interconnections help deliver services more competitively while increasing the AEC firms’ ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders.

BIM-based water treatment plant model with all geometry and properties accessible in ArcGIS Online – Hazen & Sawyer.

The integration of GIS and BIM is not new. However, adoption by AEC professionals is reaching a tipping point. Designers and engineers provide insight into detailed infrastructure assets. They transform complex data into valuable understandings, enabling clients to maximize performance and fulfill a site or facility’s strategic vision. Their focus on problem-solving begins with a wide field of view to meet these goals but quickly drills down to address the details.

Urban planning scenario exploration comprised of LiDAR, BIM, CAD and various GIS layers.

Using a variety of 2D and 3D drafting, modeling, and visualization technologies, designers and engineers create important digital and hardcopy project artifacts. They manage the creation of complex visual and non-graphic models to maximize efficiency and deliver their client’s expectations.

From planning through to operation, these models allow the AEC industry to reap benefits at all levels – from enabling entire supply chains to collaborate in connected, shared sources to managing the operation and performance of assets over their lifetimes, thereby reducing costs.

BIM-based light-rail stations and terminals with elevated track presented in ArcGIS Online with multiple GIS layers and snapshots.

The real-world context from GIS combined with details from BIM enables AEC professionals to grow their business while meeting society’s growing needs. Our world is becoming so much more interconnected, projects (small and large) are increasing in complexity, and GIS is essential for AEC firms that deliver the projects that allow our built and natural world to thrive.

To learn more about the benefits, ROI, and industry trends related to GIS and BIM, download a recent global report.


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GIS creates high-quality maps, dashboards, and animations communicating information in a compelling and informative manner. GIS is a system for analyzing spatially data and a set of operations for working with the data. And GIS provides ways to engage with users of all skill levels and roles in the project.

Oracle Primavera P6 data presented in an ArcGIS Dashboard field data and multiple GIS layers.

Architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals practicing their vocation today must become aware of the impact that GIS has on the industry. Around the globe, on projects of all size and types GIS is being combined and interconnected with CAD, BIM, IoT, LiDAR and other AEC tech, empowering surveyors, architects, designers, engineers, builders, consultants, and infrastructure owners to deliver the physical projects our world demands.   

Multi-modal transit station with BIM-based station and rails aligned in an ArcGIS Online web scene.

Their approach to project delivery becomes more transparent. The process of planning, design, construction, and operations improves by interconnecting people, data, and applications. 

But, getting the most value from new, highly connected capabilities requires GIS professionals and designers/engineers to work together. 

GIS professionals provide insight in a broad context. They analyze data beyond the site’s physical location by considering geography, time plus other spatial and non-spatial aspects. By using inputs beyond traditional CAD and BIM data, GIS experts help their AEC peers and their clients to visualize information tied to specific locations. 

New Walk Bridge – BIM content placed in context with IoT sensor data presented in an ArcGIS Dashboard – HNTB

GIS allows teams to have a shared understanding through visualization, analysis, and data collection from many sources into a shared and connected environment. GIS teams combine planning through operations data from different AEC disciplines to create robust representations that generate engagement and inform stakeholders. 

Urban planning – Scenario and design exploration using game engine combined with GIS – Houseal Lavigne.

GIS helps create understanding amongst clients through delivering project information that present insights and quickly convey complex information. 

Interested in learning more – Fill out this contact form and an Esri expert will reach out to schedule a meeting.

About the author

Marc Goldman is the Director of AEC Industry at Esri. He works with a global team to define and deliver the strategy for Esri’s solutions serving architecture, engineering, and construction. He is a leading expert in BIM, GIS, Digital Twins, and their impact on the industry. Marc began his career in the first days of CAD, he led some of the earliest BIM efforts, and he has contributed nearly thirty years defining, developing, and delivering services and technologies for design, engineering, manufacturing, and construction. He works with an international network of AEC executives creating joint ventures, partnerships, and customer relationships. He is the Vice Chair of the NIBS Digital Twin Integration Subcommittee, the co-Chair of the Digital Twin Consortium AECO group, and supports buildingSMART International on the Steering Committee for the Infrastructure Room, the OGC+bSI Working Group, and the Digital Twins Working group. Marc studied Architecture and Engineering at Tulane University. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Lynne a veterinarian, and way too many animals.


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