Successful Integration of ArcGIS and BIM Renews Future of Sydney's Circular Quay
Positioned between the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the Circular Quay precinct is one of Australia's signature attractions, drawing 50 million visits per year, a figure forecasted to grow to 80 million by 2041. Moreover, this bustling locale generates $126 billion in tourism. Circular Quay, both a recognizable landmark and an essential entry point for Sydney's northern Central Business District (CBD), is undergoing a transformation based on a multi-billion-dollar public and private sector investment.
Given the rapid, exponential growth, Circular Quay's transport infrastructure and public domain were not fulfilling the district's potential as a global location. In 2015, the New South Wales (NSW) Government announced it would reserve AUD$200 million through the Restart NSW Fund for upgrading the Circular Quay ferry wharves.
The first stage of the renewal project required investigation of all assets and infrastructure above ground and what lies beneath the surface of Circular Quay, including accurately mapping all assets and informing stakeholders of the location and conditions of those assets. Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) engaged Coffey and Norman Disney & Young (NDY), both partner companies within the Tetra Tech global consulting and engineering group, to document all above- and belowground assets. For the first time in Circular Quay's 174-year history, assets such as utility services, electric, gas, surface water and sewer drainage, associated underground pipe networks, maintenance holes, and more were documented. NDY's digital delivery integrated two core technologies—building information modelling (BIM) and geographic information system (GIS) technology—to create an asset information model (AIM) that can support current and future infrastructure planning of the Circular Quay precinct.
Being one of the world's busiest tourist destinations, including the site of the world-famous Vivid Sydney festival, the Coffey/NDY project team had a tight window of three months to carry out site investigations and a further two months to finalize the delivery of a comprehensive AIM to stakeholders. Not only would site team members need to operate in a short period, but they would also need to adhere to the restrictions of the transport interchange with minimal impact on local residences and businesses—all while capturing the investigative data using the latest technologies.
For a successful investigation, the Coffey/NDY team also enlisted the help of project surveyors. Coffey would provide the 3D geotechnical ground model and geotechnical interpretative reports (including engineering properties and parameters covering both land and water areas) to highlight the data on existing ground conditions. Project surveyors provided 3D point cloud scans, service detections, Revit modelling, and site surveys of assets. NDY provided the GIS-BIM integration, compiling all 3D models from various authoring tools and linking the asset data and associated reports to the AIM, and managed the delivery of the models to mobile devices to assist site investigations.
New South Wales Government and Transport leveraged ArcGIS and BIM integration creating a real-time asset information model to use for Sydney Circular Quay infrastructure development.
New South Wales Government and Transport
In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the NSW Government and Transport for New South Wales are in the process of investigating options for upgrading the famous Circular Quay ferry wharves. The first stage of this renewal project included creating a digital replica of Circular Quay and the surrounding precinct areas into an impactful asset information model for collecting and reporting on the existing conditions as well as assist in future infrastructure planning.
Coffey and Norman Disney & Young (NDY), partners in the global Tetra Tech group, worked together for the delivery of the investigation works and leveraged ArcGIS Online to showcase an interactive, layered model that stakeholders could use to get a complete picture of Circular Quay as it stands while also having the ability to access individual parts of the investigation.
The NDY team created an exemplary GIS-BIM integration, resulting in a real-time asset information model of the Circular Quay precinct. This living replica meticulously maps out all above- and belowground assets in Circular Quay, and its data will be a vital resource for future infrastructure development, as well as the ongoing management of the precinct for years to come.
The investigation's detailed assessments, drilling data, reports, surveys, scans, side-scan sonar data, and various 3D models resulted in large amounts of data that NDY needed to synthesize into a singular, impactful Circular Quay AIM that stakeholders could engage with.
NDY turned to ArcGIS Online, a geospatial platform that would digitally manage the AIM data and provide an engaging, interactive visualization for stakeholders and the project team. In providing the project team with access to the model on desktop and mobile devices, the team could communicate and address issues in real time. This capability enabled stronger collaboration among team members, coordination, and on-site validation. Also, ArcGIS Online provided the opportunity for GIS-BIM integration, allowing the team to build multiple layers and establish a direct connection (via links) to all reports and specific documentation related to the project delivery. As the project timeline progressed, input at various stages was required from the investigation team to develop efficient workflows and introduce new processes for developing models and managing the associated data.
"With this level of a project, I wouldn't want to deliver it in any other way," says John Benstead, senior associate BIM and data services manager at NDY. "ArcGIS allowed us to visualize and present to the client and project stakeholders key pieces of information that previously would have been buried deep in a multi-thousand-page report. Rather than looking at reports or spreadsheets, they're looking at Circular Quay."
Using ArcGIS and the AIM, stakeholders can now visualize essential information quickly and have direct access to every detailed assessment, report, or model related to the project's investigation.
"What we have done is capture the existing conditions of Circular Quay as it is now, including its structural information, down to each individual pile and beam. Each of these elements has a report that is linked to the corresponding model element," continues Benstead. "Now our client has a resource where it can see the current status of all elements, which can assist with planning future works."
Moreover, ArcGIS and the AIM provides users a simplified approach to seeing a comprehensive image of Circular Quay as it is and as it can be. Benstead adds that this technology offers an out-of-the-box opportunity to develop with time.
"This kind of resource can be sustained by continuing to update any changes over time into the model, creating and maintaining a digital twin for a significant iconic area of Sydney," Benstead says. "From our point of view, we see this delivery methodology becoming the norm on all major projects; and we are focusing our efforts in this area of delivery, ensuring that we are capturing not only design and construction information but that the data captured is fit for purpose and can be used for the ongoing project life cycle. The question becomes what can the AIM not be used for, and ultimately, the sky is the limit."
According to Benstead, the AIM can be used in a variety of ways including recording/monitoring vehicular and pedestrian traffic in and around Circular Quay, gathering data on environmental conditions and pollution (air quality, dust, noise, etc.), business development, emergency service planning, future design planning, construction planning, logistics, planning ferry movements/timetables, tracking/monitoring repair work, or feeding information into mobile applications to assist tourists visiting Circular Quay. The AIM's foundations can be used for years to come in developing various facilities for a wide range of users.
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