Mapping the future of smart cities
Craig Evenden explains what geospatial information and visualisation can contribute to the planning, construction and management of more connected urban environments
Where GIS meets BIM
Geographic Information Systems (GISs) are playing a pivotal role in the ecosystem of tools that enable the BIM process and, in particular, in facilitating the movement of data through the BIM lifecycle from planning and design to build and operate. Companies are adopting GIS as part of their BIM strategies, in order to drive efficiency and support digital handover processes.
GIS software fulfils the BIM requirement for data to be shared between different contractors, working on different areas of the project, to streamline project lifecycles right from the outset. The technology allows project managers to instantly visualise layers of each building and call up relevant project information – including from mobile devices they use on site. Relevant and focused information can also be shared with all stakeholders through apps and dashboards.
With both smart and conventional building structures, it isn’t just bricks and mortar that need to be considered. Transport infrastructures, for instance, need to be taken into account, too, because businesses will need to determine whether proposed buildings will be accessible to the people that need to use them.
3D mapping is increasingly being used in a variety of innovative and interesting ways, across numerous industries. The smart city projects being undertaken around the globe all start from mapping existing buildings, utilities and transport infrastructure, and in government projects, we see it being used for everything from CCTV planning to analysing the potential impacts of flooding.
As the technology matures, 3D mapping has become more of a critical component to planning, with huge benefits for visualisation and analytics, because it supports even more informed decision-making than was possible before. 3D mapping doesn’t just provide a dumb visualisation, but also a layer of both data and intelligence.
GIS adds context to a building, while understanding the surrounding geography is crucial to connecting smart cities. We can no longer build in isolation; we must plan, design, build and operate infrastructure within a much wider framework that takes into consideration not only structures already built, but also the natural environment and how this fits into the wider picture.
The interactive visualisation of datasets has enormous benefits for AEC businesses. It allows for a more holistic view of the information they have at hand and, perhaps most critically, it gives project managers the opportunity to assess and deal with any issues in the planning phase, before construction gets underway.
As ground-breaking work by organisations like Skanska, Crossrail and Highways England demonstrates, a coherent BIM strategy, incorporating GIS digital mapping as an essential part of the tools ecosystem, is now the standard for delivering cutting-edge construction projects.
Do you want to become a geo-decisor maker and get the skills and competences to take decisions in a territorial level? Learn more about the Global UrbanTIC® and Smart Cities Certification Program.