First infrastructure standard based on a common BIM/geospatial model released


January 23, 2015 by Geoff Zeiss 

There are several initiatives underway to develop multi-disciplinary interoperability standards for the convergence of BIM, 3D and geospatial.  The first BIM standard based on a common conceptual model shared between the BIM and geospatial worlds has just been released for public comment by buildingSMART.  Simultaneously the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has just released the OGC LandInfra Conceptual Model, the first draft of the InfraGML conceptual model for land parcels and the built environment.

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are the open and neutral data format standard for the exchange of building information models (BIM).  The IFC standard was developed and is supported by buildingSMART International and is  registered with ISO as ISO16739.  IFC is widely used in the construction industry in many countries and is mandated in some such as Finland.

However, the current versions of IFC are intended for buildings (vertical BIM).  buildingSMART has initiated the IFC for Infrastructure project to extend the IFC standard to support linear transportation infrastructure (horizontal BIM or BIM for Infrastructure) such as rail, road, bridges, and tunnels.

The first IFC for Infrastructure extension project is the IFC Alignment project. It is intended to provide the data model for geolocation information for 3D and 2D alignments and has been developed in concert with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).  The objectives of the IFC Alignment project is to enable the exchange of alignment information through the full infrastructure lifecyle from planning through design and construction to asset management. 

The IFC Alignment project will also provide a conceptual model of road alignments that will be used in both OGC and buildingSMART standards for roads, railways, tunnels and bridges. A common conceptual model (typically represented in UML) is extremely important because it is a first step in developing full lifecyle models for infrastructure from planning through design and construction to operate and maintain.  OGC standards focus on planning and operation whereas design and construction are buildingSMART’s focus area.  A common conceptual model will enable IFC alignment models to be mapped onto InfraGML (a standard being developed by the OGC) models.  The OGC has just released the OGC LandInfra Conceptual Model, the first draft of the InfraGML conceptual model for land parcels and the built environment.  (The document was submitted by Bentley Systems, Inc, Leica Geosystems, Trimble, Australian Government Department of Communications, Autodesk, Vianova Systems AS, and buildingSMART International.)

BuildingSMART International has just released drafts of the IFC Infrastructure Alignment Conceptual Model and the Candidate Standard for IFC Alignment and is asking for public comment.  Once it is finalized and becomes part of the IFC standard, it will be submitted to ISO/TC 59/SC 13 to be incorporated into ISO 16739.

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