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BIM – The Next GIS Frontier

As the megatrends of data, analytics, mobile and cloud increasingly challenge us to rethink industry and business models, the GIS storyboard neatly fits into the wider ‘information’ agenda. After all, isn’t GIS just another form of data? And isn’t ‘everyone’ and ‘everything’ somewhere? GIS and big data seem to be a natural fit in terms of subject areas. With 2.5 gigabytes of data created on a daily basis from 1 trillion devices, the topic of location has been provided with a wonderful springboard to become centre stage

So why isn’t it happening? Is there a disconnect between business leaders who see the value of location data, and the people on the ‘front line’ who have difficulty operationalising these ideas?

If that’s the case, is it premature to already be considering the ‘next big thing’ – Building Information Management, or BIM.

Increasingly clients are looking to digitalise their property management, both above and below ground such as in the metro systems, to optimise maintenance and running costs. As clients do so, they will increasingly push the task downstream to their supply chain who will be forced to increasingly embrace BIM. This will affect both public and private construction, new build and repair.

Construction projects will not only need to be digitally designed but an accurate digital record will need to be taken for the ‘as built’ state, recognising that design changes occur during the works.

And of course, all digital buildings have a location element – not only for the building unit as a whole but also for each of the building components. The location of pipework, alarms, sprinkers will all have a location or GIS dimension.

As industries seemingly struggle today to come to terms with this relatively new capability of GIS, isn’t the advent of BIM likely to make the subject of ‘location’ become even more mainstream?