Geobuild (Geospatial+BIM) track at Geospatial World Forum focuses on convergence

Geobuild (Geospatial+BIM) track at Geospatial World Forum focuses on convergence


At Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva this year the GeoBuild track, which was very well attended, included 15 presentations followed by a panel discussion. The presentations covered a broad range of topics, but all involved geoSmart construction, the integration of geospatial and BIM in its broadest sense. The presentations are available here. Photos are available here.


As Editor-Building and Energy with Geospatial Media and Communications I was the Chair for the track. I provided a short introductory presentation to provide context for the presentations.

Productivity in construction Geobuild GZeiss

Urbanization and environmental challenges means massive investment in infrastructure of many trillions of dollars over the next decades. Many industries are experiencing the challenge of an aging workforce. Simply put this means more to do, and fewer qualified people to do it. In addition Governments increasingly are devoting their tax revenues to social services so that more and more of the investment required must come from private sources. Both of these trends puts increasing pressure for improved productivity in the world’s construction industry, estimated to amount to over $7 trillion worldwide. This is turn drives investment in technology including building information modeling (BIM) both vertical and horizontal, 3D, geospatial. The world‘s leading construction firms are breaking down the silos that have traditionally separated engineering design and construction and GIS and finding that the convergence of all three enables solutions to the challenges of sustainable design and construction that were not possible or even conceived of previously. This is not only transforming construction, but enabling the intelligent 3D modeling of entire cities with enormous benefits for urban planners, first responders, utilities, and transportation agencies as the world moves forward with an increasingly urbanized population.

BIM isn’t Geospatial…… Or is it?

Dr. AC Kemp Director BIM Strategy and Development ATKINS UK

Silos of technology Photo Anne Kemp speaking

Major projects require multidisciplinary engineering infrastructure design project managing enabling works, site clearance and remediation, environmental impact assessment. Examples include Crossrail, Riyadh Metro, and M25 DBFO. These projects require being information intelligent. Information must be viewed holistically, balancing appreciation of technologies with the capabilities of the people.
Information is the product of the contextual understanding and interpretation of data. It is the essential medium through which knowledge, expertise, judgements, emotions, and decisions held by individuals is expressed, shared, and communicated with others. Using Revit does not mean you are working in BIM. BIM is derived from the process and rigour we put around data-centric information and the collaboration of this information within multiple disciplines including CAD, BIM, and GIS.

BIM and Geospatial information

Leif Granhom Senior Vice President Tekla Finland

LeifGranholm Integrated technologies

The geospatial community is becoming increasingly aware of 3D technology. It is used for 3D cadastres, digital terrain models, architectural and engineering design and modeling entire cities in 3D. To support this trend new standards are being developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) such as CityGML and IndoorGML, InfraGML, KML and 3D services in collaboration with web3D (webGL, X3D). And at the last OGC Technical Committee meeting, the Charter Meeting for a new Urban Planning Domain Working Group (DWG) was held. Leif described some of the standardization initiatives that are underway to support the integration of BIM, 3D and geospatial. A fuller description of these initiatives can be found here.

Mass Data Collection

Andrew Evans Applications Development Manager Topcon The Netherlands

BIM is about open structured semantic standard information Mass data - all data combined TOPCON

The traditional method of surveying involves capturing one point at a time. The process is slow, error prone, and selective. Today customers are demanding more, they want a faster process with visual feedback. The younger generation has been brought up in a 3D in-line environment and this is what they expect from modern surveying. Mass data collection involves integrating a number of technologies, terestrial, mobile and airborne laser scanning, photogrammetry, and accurate surveying using total stations. It included scan to BIM to create a BIM model for existing buildings and structures as well as creating digital terrain models and 3D representations of the area surrounding the building. For example, terrestrial laser scanning can be used too capture the inside of a building, a UAV can be used to capture photogrammetry that can be processed of the surrounding area, mobile laser-scanning can be used to capture engineering grade information about access roads, and airborne laser scanning with a UAV to capture the outside of a building. Integrating all of the information from different sources enables a complete representation of a building that can be used for a variety of purposes including sustainable redesign, visualization of the building inside and out for prospective customers, and as a historical record of a landmark for archiving.

The Roads and Highway Management system of Switzerland MISTRA

Christoph Kaeser Section Leader MISTRA Bundesamt fuer Strassen ASTRA Switzerland

The presentation gave a short introduction to the tasks of the Federal Roads Office FEDRO of Switzerland. A special focus is given to the topography of Switzerland and its impact on the infrastructure, traffic volume and road safety. The Management Information System for Roads and Traffic (MISTRA) is introduced with its main components BS for base system, DWH for data warehouse and the applications KUBA for bridge and tunnel management, TRA for road management, VU and VUGIS for accident management, VMON for traffic monitoring and so on. In the third part the application TRA is more detailed overview with screenshots of map and cross section views as well as graphs of road axis and data list are given. Then the creation of maintenance objects, their simulation as well as the different possibilities for reports and statistics are shown.

Importance of Confidence in Information

Andy Rhoades Head of Service Protection Knowledge & Information Management Technical Standards and Assurance, Heathrow Airports Holdings Limited,UK

Andy Rhoades Heathrow would you like to dig here

Heathrow is like a small city with thousands of km of underground infrastructure. Heathrow has 13 different service types, some of which are unique to the airport environment, with over 50 different owners. It is essential for passenger, staff and contractor safety that we know precisely where all of our underground infrastructure is. At Heathrow Information Modelling is a co-ordinated set of processes and information requirements that add value by creating, managing and sharing the properties of an asset throughout its lifecycle. The same principles apply whether it is a building, a gas main or an AGL light fitting on a runway. Information Modelling provides a platform to enable asset management across the entire lifecycle acquisition, operate, operate, maintain and disposal, where everyone involved works collaboratively sharing information in a common way so that the transition from architect, to designer to constructor to client within the acquisition phase happens seamlessly. A key aspect of the information maintained by Heathrow about underground facilities are “Confidence Codes”. Confidence codes are a measure of how confident the surveyor is that he has pinpointed the service he/she are surveying. There are a number of technologies for detecting underground facilities including electromagnetic, ground penetrating radar, acoustic, seismic and others, but they all require interpretation. Therefore Heathrow’s confidence codes are a way of classifying the results of underground utility detection, verification and location undertaken by different survey methods. As a result of the measures implemented by Heathrow service strikes due to inaccurate information about underground infrastructure have declined by a factor of 6 since 2002. A fuller account of Andy Rhoades presentation can be found here.

Advanced InSAR Techniques for Urban Infrastructure Monitoring

Warren Cartwright, Product Manager, MDA Geospatial Services Inc.

MDA change detection by yearUrban infrastructure monitoring is a critical problem for rapidly growing cities, and this presentation presents surface displacement results for urban infrastructure monitoring applications derived from MDA‘s RADARSAT-2 based SAR interferometry. MDA‘s analysis uses a novel InSAR method, Homogeneous Distributed Scatterer (HDS)-InSAR that exploits both persistent point and distributed scatterers by using adaptive multi-looking of statistically homogeneous pixel neighbourhoods. The adaptive filtering reduces the noise of smooth, low-backscatter areas such as asphalt and bare ground, while optimally preserving the spatial resolution to increase both the accuracy and geographic precision of the deformation result. HDS-InSAR captures urban infrastructure including buildings, bridges, tarmac, and roads. HDS-InSAR solutions use high-resolution spotlight data to detect seasonal deformation and potentially hazardous long-term deformation trends of urban infrastructure at high accuracies and dense coverage. Of particular importance is the separation of temperature-correlated displacement (estimated using meteorological data from Environment Canada) that is anticipated in infrastructure design from long-term displacement trends which may pose a hazard to infrastructure.

Data Acquisition in Building-Construction

Soren Aage Normolle, Partner/Head of Office LE34

Data acquisition in building construction LE34

Ideal data acquisition means maintaining one consistent,verified and comprehensive data package during the entire lifecycle – plan, design, build, and operate and maintain. It includes ortho photos, cadastre/parcel file, pipelines and topographic, UAV scanning, interior scanning, and BIM geometry from a design package. Soren expects that in the near future we will see a one-stop shop including data update with instant data access to all data across the entire life cycle from data acquisition to BIM.


Generating 3D data from Any Type of Imagery

Christoph Strecha CEO Pix4D SA Switzerland

PIX4D Mapper ConstructionPix4DMapper enables generation of orthomosaics, digital surface models and point clouds from aerial and oblique imagery using any camera and lens, including multi-band images to achieve survey grade accurate output with centimeter-grade, LiDAR like 3D precision.

GIS in Infrastructure Management – Opportunities and Challenges

Dr. Rade Hajdin, President and Founding Partner, Infrastructure Management Consultants Ltd, Switzerland

Integration of BIM and geopatial in highway managementThe importance of civil infrastructure to the society cannot be overestimated and is often related to the enormous investments in its construction. The benefit of these investments is reflected in the economic growth and increasing life quality. Maintaining it on the long run in economically efficient, environmentally friendly and socially reconcilable manner is the fundamental task of infrastructure owners or operators. In fulfilment of this task they face threats that are driven by ever increasing demand, deterioration, climate change and stiffer economic environment. The decision on sometimes costly measures to maintain or increase the benefit of civil infrastructure has to be carefully balanced between technically feasible options. The optimum measure is the one, which ensure the maximum long term availability of existing infrastructure at the minimum cost. The quest for such measure can be markedly facilitated with the use of GIS. GIS is the ideal platform to integrate all data necessary to simulate the long term behavior of the infrastructure components and evaluate the consequences of the possible courses of actions. In particular the interdependence of different infrastructure stemming from their geographic proximity can be adequately modeled in GIS. Similarly, the parts of infrastructure affected by natural hazard can be assessed by judicious use of GIS. The talk gives the overview of the opportunities and addressing the challenges that have to be mastered in the future.

Extended Use of 3D City Models with a Cloud Based Platform

Hakan Engman CEO Agency9 AB Sweden

Agency9 City investment planningThe development of technology for capturing and analysing 3D spatial data has been remarkable the last few year. Still many customers have difficulties in making investment due to lack of viable business case. Finding viable new use cases that leverage the benefits of 3D is important. But also simplification of use and making access wider available across organisations can change the perspective on investments. This presentation showed examples of use cases and on-line demonstration of real projects.

Integration of Airborne, Mobile and Static Terrestrial LiDAR for High Accuracy Highway Mapping

Dr. Julien Vallet CEO Helimap System SA Switzerland

Highway capture combined data SwitzerlandSwiss highways maintenance planning (U-Plans) requires a complete mapping of the existing lanes, related objects and a buffer of 50-100m at each side of the road. Since 2009, Helimap System has been involved with federal authorities to provide a non invasive technique to provide such type of data with high level of accuracy: 2cm in Z and 3cm in XY. Based on low altitude airborne mission (<100m AGL), it was possible to achieve such accuracy level with a point density of ~150-200pts/m2 and orthoimagery with pixel size of 2cm. If airborne data is really suitable for Swiss alpine environment (alpine), it is not possible to map tunnels or lower part of bridges. That has to be done after by static which require road closure. The following paper describes how we fill this gap using the 3 Lidar techniques to provide a complete set of data combining the best of each on an existing highway. High bridges are scanned with static stations, lower part of bridges above or below highways and details of the pavement and objects (signs, electrical boxes…) are scanned with mobile scanners and Airborne cover all the rest and serves as reference to fit mobile in poor GPS sections.

3D Modeling of the Aerial Elements of Tramway AND Trolleybus Lines of the Public Transport System of Geneva

Ing. Jerome HENRY Directeur HKD Géomatique SA, ONEX Switzerland

Tram and trolley aerial lines TPGThe Public Transport System’s (TPG) problem was that there were serious deficiencies in the existing records of TPG’s aerial lines. They were primarily 2D Autocad drawings with geometries and associated attributes as text. They were the original as-builts and most had not been updated to reflect modifications since they were built. Furthermore, in some areas there were no records at all. The challenge was map all of the aerial facilities to 20 cm rapidly and at a reasonable cost. The first attempt tried to combine traditional survey techniques with aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry, terrestrial laser scanning, and an early mobile laser scanning system. This was unsuccessful, and they turned to the Trimble MX8 Mobile Mapping System which provided an integrated system combining GNSS positioning, two mobile laser scanners and four optical cameras mounted on a vehicle. This allowed them to capture for the entire 70 km of tramway and trolleybus lines:

  • 3D points clouds – intensity + RGB information at a density of 500 pts/m2 up to 30m on a vertical plane parallel to the trajectory organised by 50mx50m tiles
  • Four RGM images RGB 5 MPix georeferenced each 1.5 m with camera orientation parameters

In total 400 GB of point clouds and over 326,000 pictures were captured. Extracting model elements were made in 3D using Trimble Trident-3D Analyst. Each element has been accurately positioned in 3D and classified according to a data model previously developed by HKD in collaboration with TPG. The model will provide TPG’s service groups a powerful tool to manage all their aerial facilities. This complete and complex project is an excellent example of solutions modern geomatics can provide to infrastructure managers.

Landslide Susceptibility Mapping along PLUS Expressways in Malaysia using Probabilistic Based Model in GIS

Norbazlan Mohd Yusof Manager, Database Management Department, Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Berhad Malaysia

Landslide susceptibility jelapangPLUS Berhad is responsible for 987 km of toll expressways in Malaysia, the longest of which is the North-South Expressway or NSE. Acting as the ‘backbone’ of the west coast of the peninsula, the NSE stretches from the Malaysian-Thai border in the north to the border with neighbouring Singapore in the south, linking several major cities and towns along the way. North-South Expressway in Malaysia contributes to the country economic development through trade, social and tourism sector. The stability of slopes at some locations is of most concern as any instability can cause danger to the motorist and potentially disrupt traffic flow for extended periods. In 2011, PLUS took the opportunity to embark in a collaborative effort in landslide research initiative with Malaysia Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA). The locations chosen for the research project are comprised of undulating terrain with steep slopes where landslides are common and the probability of slope instability due to human activities in surrounding areas is high. A combination of twelve (12) landslide conditioning factors database on slope stability such as slope degree and slope aspect were extracted from IFSAR (interoferometric synthetic aperture radar) while landuse, lithology and structural geology were constructed from interpretation of high resolution satellite data from World View II, Quickbird and Ikonos. All this information was analysed in geographic information system (GIS) environment to generate a landslide susceptibility map using probabilistic based frequency ratio model.

Automatic Extraction of Direction Information in Road Sign Imagery Obtained by Mobile Mapping System

Ing. Junhee Youn Senior Researcher, Korea Institute of Construction Technology

Road signs are critical infrastructure for safe and smoothly-flowing traffic, since they provide useful information for drivers. For the systematic management of road signs, developing an intelligent road sign database and implementing a road sign management system are essential for local government. The presentation described the automatic extraction of direction information from road sign imagery obtained using a mobile mapping system. The research confirmed that direction information can be extracted automatically from digital images of road sign imagery.

Innovative Practices for Effective Management of Building Production Processes within Urban Centres

Laura Pinfold Lecturer Cape Peninsula University of Technology South Africa

BIM and location-aware technology South Africa 1 BIM and location-aware technology South Africa 2

The continued growth of inner city construction coupled with the mounting costs of land in the urban centres puts pressure on inner city construction management. The complex nature of construction in urban centres requires innovative methods for site management.

The confined characteristic of construction sites in urban centres makes location awareness critical. Location awareness technologies can improve manual processes and support important decision-making tasks in the field. This paper investigates the competitiveness and willingness to innovate of construction firms operating in urban centres within the Cape Town metropolis South Africa and the extent to which construction companies find location awareness technologies and geospatial data useful for construction management on confined sites. The research supports the hypothesis that the use of location-aware automation and integration technologies improves construction productivity in confined sites.