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El mundo al instante

5 Questions about BIM and GIS

fc717f7a454b0ad181340a2a8b6ae222387f7ebbQ&A with Chris Andrews, senior product manager 3D at Esri

BIM and GIS integration is often presented as the optimal solution for the movement of data throughout the asset lifecycle, but it is not so easy in practice. What are the biggest misconceptions?

One of the most obvious misconceptions when customers ask for the ability to use their design and construction data (BIM data) with GIS is that BIM models contain ‘all’ the data about assets. Typically, a BIM model is only a representation of what was built. Even the most accurate as-built BIM model will rarely contain the furniture and other unfixed assets that actually exist in the operational real-world structure. Another misconception is that BIM contains facility management information. For example, in architecture models we rarely see rooms, spaces or even a footprint of the building. These geometric properties are useful for building-asset management and space allocation, but they aren’t necessary for building construction. From this perspective, the BIM is often missing information. Lastly, everyone – including many BIM practitioners – forgets that BIM applies to multiple, diverse industries. Architecture, civil transportation and utilities all use BIM processes, but have divergent data and construction needs.

What is needed to further enhance the combination of BIM and GIS?

Critical to more efficient, resilient data interoperability between BIM and GIS will be the establishment of lightweight exchange formats and interfaces for access to data across domains. GIS is largely open. There is a robust geospatial open standards community. Esri publishes interface and format specifications for access to just about anything a system integrator could want to access in ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise or a geodatabase. While the BIM world has some similarities, we find that open-standard BIM exchange formats can be complicated and incomplete. There are also many proprietary BIM model formats that are black-box data stores with little or no ability to access their content. We understand that BIM content is complex, diverse and often contains proprietary algorithms or techniques, but the pressure to better enable use of BIM data in asset lifecycles is enormous and demands better access to BIM content.

Which steps could software vendors take in order to support GIS and BIM integration?

Software vendors on both sides can work together to provide better access to data, more transparent interfaces to connect systems, and even to use common access and authentication patterns so that customers can more easily combine and use the data that they already own. Customers want to do their work using the tools and platforms that were designed for specific tasks, and more open access to data eliminates attempts to do tasks using the wrong tools. We want customers to be successful with the right data in the right tools, knowing that ‘the right data’ is a task-appropriate view on the geospatial context and the design and construction detail that makes up our customers’ assets.

Data is at the core of the digital transition, but BIM data is usually much more detailed than GIS data. How can BIM data be integrated into GIS data workably?

BIM is perceived to be more detailed than GIS because, to construct a building or bridge, the details have to be specified in the design documentation. With the emergence of 3D as a core capability of GIS, customers are now discovering that 3D technology enables them to have more accurate geospatial models of plans, proposals and the real world around us. Although what we find is that not all BIM information needs to be captured in a GIS for design and construction data to be used for mapping and spatial analysis, GIS technology also needs to be improved to support many orders of magnitude higher-density spatial information than was necessary in the past. We are not simply working on filters or better translations of BIM to get it into GIS, but – as an industry – we are inventing new technologies to support high-density 3D information about the built and natural worlds around us.

As two essential pillars of smart cities, how will BIM and GIS shape smart city-related developments in the coming years?

The preponderance of data about cities and their inhabitants presents an overwhelming problem for planning, analysis, monitoring and response to world events, environmental change and economic pressures. The key to enabling access to data for any urban problem in the future will be to identify the specific location, things and timing of events and programmes in cities related to the people who will be affected. Simplistically, GIS supplies location and BIM processes supply details about things. A more seamless flow of information about location and spatial characteristics and the design and behaviour of things will be essential to enable government leaders to manage the timing and impact of events and programmes on citizens in our increasingly densifying cities.

About Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews is the senior product manager for 3D across the ArcGIS platform at Esri, based in Southern California, USA. He has focused on strategic innovation projects that have significant market impact in response to customer demand, such as the ArcGIS Earth effort, the Indexed 3D Scene Layer open standard and the Autodesk alliance. He leads a team of product managers focused on customers in the defence, urban and AEC domains.

Last updated: 05/09/2018
Miércoles 5 de Septiembre del 2018

EGNOS sparks quiet revolution in aircraft landings

News from the European Space Agency (ESA)

If you’ve taken a flight in Europe recently, then the chances are growing that you’ve been a pioneer EGNOS user. Satellites in orbit would have guided your airliner’s descent, rather than signals beamed from the ground. You wouldn’t have felt any difference — except for possibly a smoother ride.

Cockpit of a new EGNOS-equipped Airbus 350 XWB, on show during the inaugural EGNOS Day at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on May 7, 2015. (Photo: ESA)

Cockpit of a new EGNOS-equipped Airbus 350 XWB, on show during the inaugural EGNOS Day at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on May 7, 2015. (Photo: ESA)

More than 180 European airports have now been certified to make use of the ESA-designed European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service — EGNOS — for approaches to given runways. This includes approaches at major hubs such as Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Amsterdam Schiphol. Thanks to EGNOS, safe landings would still be possible even if an airport were shut down entirely.

Sharpening the precision of GPS satnav signals over most European territory, EGNOS was designed to make satnav reliable enough for safety-critical aviation employment, but has found a wide range of other uses, from agriculture to road, rail and maritime transport.

An EGNOS app is available from the Apple and Google Play stores, offering easy access to all EGNOS-related information, including the different EGNOS services, official documentation, historical and current performance data, support material and contact with the 24/7 EGNOS helpdesk.

An EGNOS V3 Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Station (RAIMS) being tested at the Santiago de Compostella site in Spain, designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space in Italy. (Photo: ESA)

An EGNOS V3 Ranging and Integrity Monitoring Station (RAIMS) being tested at the Santiago de Compostella site in Spain, designed and manufactured by Thales Alenia Space in Italy. (Photo: ESA)

EGNOS is based on a network of monitoring stations across Europe that perform independent measurements of GPS signals, so that corrections can be calculated to boost satnav positioning performance. These results are passed to users immediately via a trio of geostationary satellites.

The service is allowed just a one in 10 million chance of error. If this tolerance is exceeded, EGNOS users are informed within six seconds. The result is that EGNOS-augmented signals meet the extremely high performance standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Authority, adapted for Europe by Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.

EGNOS operations are the responsibility of the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA) of the European Commission and run by the ESSP, European Satellite Services Provider.

EGNOS is the European equivalent of the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which was the world’s first satellite-based augmentation system. The U.S. and European systems have been carefully designed to work together seamlessly.

Additional equivalent regional systems, fully interoperable with the existing ones are either in operation (Japan, India, Canada) or in definition or development (Russia, China, South Korea, West Africa and Australia).

Satellite-based augmentation systems worldwide. (Image: ESA)

Satellite-based augmentation systems worldwide. (Image: ESA)

Through the LPV-200 procedure, short for “localizer performance with vertical guidance 200 feet,” signals from space guide pilots through any weather down to within just 60 meters (200 feet) of the runway, at which point they make visual contact with the ground for a final go/no go landing decision.

EGNOS offers all-weather access to all certified runway approaches — each side of a runway requiring its own, separate, certification — without the need for expensive ground Instrument Landing System infrastructure. Satellite-based landing approaches can also be tailored to be smoother and more fuel-efficient.

Smaller airports unable to afford ground instrumentation draw the greatest benefit. Employing EGNOS means they get to operate in all weather conditions.

ESA retains the lead role in the future development of EGNOS, working with Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space and their subcontractors to design, develop, deploy, and validate and test the new design elements.

While the current system is solely reliant on GPS, the next-generation EGNOS V3 will combine the use of GPS with Europe’s own Galileo satnav system to boost EGNOS accuracy and reliability still further. It is planned to enter service around 2025.

Aircraft on final approach ESA PP

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