Common Myths and Realities about GIS-BIM Integration


CAD and GIS technologies emerged as competitive alternatives in the 80 and 90s for the professional working with spatial information mainly processed with the prevailing media of that time, such as paper. But during this period, the scope of computer-assisted technologies for writing and map analysis was limited due to the software intricacy and hardware capacity. With time the superimposed and specialized version of these technologies with digitalized workflows emerged as the hardware and software become more advanced with many innovations. Therefore, they appeared to be the integrated forms of high-tech digital tools working with information and geometries to deliver paper documents.

CAD technologies initially aimed at task automation from the manual drawing. BIM is a method sought to attain efficiency during planning and implementation has leisurely propped BIM and CAD tools from drawings to digital models of practical assets. Models created with new BIM tools are up to the minute that can find flaws in the early stages of designs and construction and generate high precession approximations of funds and resources. Likewise, over time, GIS has also hastened and boosted its capabilities. It handles billions of events from live sensors, makes 3D visualization, and performs prognostic, complex, and scaled analyzes on multiple processing nodes. With GIS services, the map on a paper as an analytical tool has been converted to dashboards to synthesize human interpretable analyzes.

The blending of GIS and BIM technologies support design and construction corporations to produce efficient designs by collecting accurate and valuable information necessary for project construction and management.

Common Myths

In 2018, at the European Transportation Summit in London, Chris Andrew presented 5 common myths and realities about GIS and BIM integration for acceptance.

  • Myth 01: BIM is only for 3D Building

In the GIS community, the role of BIM is misinterpreted. They conceptualize it for administration, visualization, and 3D modeling of Buildings only, but beyond these. Nonetheless, it may encompass some of these abilities, roles, and features assisting 3D building modeling.

 In “BIM,” The “B”  doesn’t stand for ‘Building the noun,’ but it stands for  ‘Building, the verb, so what it is for is directly relevant to driving the value of GIS data workflows in the BIM process.

Fundamentally, BIM spare time and cash and achieves precision output during the design and construction course. In the BIM design process, the 3D model produced is a byproduct of the requirement for coordinating a specific design, capturing physical assets as it as, evaluating destruction costs, and providing legal or contractural records of changes in physical assets.

The organizations involved in managing and building fixed physical assets have a keen interest in assuring that their design and designers, such as engineering contractors, utilize BIM processes. In the operational workflows for asset management, BIM data is potentially used to assist this ISO with established international standards for using BIM data in an asset’s full life cycle.

Focusing on the process, the blending of GIS and BIM becomes more complicated. To comprehend how information is castoff in GIS and BIM processes, one has to reconceive the building structure or a roadway concept and understand how various data is used in a geospatial setting. While focusing on the model, the more basic and simpler essential workflows are overlooked, for instance, the field data gathered on the construction site for location linking and model data for inspection, inventory, survey, and analysis.

Eventually, to achieve high-efficiency outcomes, working in collaborative teams brings diversity to problem-solving. Therefore the collaboration between ESRI and AutoDesk is a significant step to address GIS-BIM integration matters,

  • Myth 02: BIM automatically provides GIS features

Amongst the most challenging concepts, one is conveying it to ordinary BIMGIS users is that though the BIM model seems precisely like a building, it doesn’t have the geospatial characteristics making up its definition for cartographic purposes.

For in-building navigation and resource management, Esri users work with a new tool such as ArcGIS indoors. They have expected that using integrated tools of Esri and Autodesk Revit data could automatically extract geometries as rooms, spaces, floors, building structures building footprint, and how a human navigates through these structures. In spite of the fact that these geometries would be profitable for GIS application and resource management, none of these is vital to manufacturing the structure, and it is absent in the Revit model.

The operators and designers must define information before designing and constructing a structure to ensure that BIM models contain necessary GIS functions. Like in GIS-CAD conversion workflows, the CAD data is validated before becoming GIS. The BIM data and process must include information and characteristics used during the lifecycle management of a structure.

It is recognized that if BIM information is normalized through drawing approval devices, it tends to be methodically solidified into GIS.

  • Myth 03: BIM-GIS integration is based on the file format.

One format can be mapped to another format during classic corporation integration systems to transmit information between different technologies reliably. But this method is insufficient to handle information of the 21st century because;

  1. Documented information saved is difficult to transmit
  2. Data allocation through complicated domains is lossy
  3. Incomplete duplication of data mapping content through the system
  4. Unidirectional data mapping

With so many inventions happening at the moment, technologies, data gathering, and user workflows are changing swiftly that today’s interfaces don’t guarantee what will be needed tomorrow. SO, one data model can’t incorporate everything integrated into GIS and BIM processes. Therefore not one format can store the data and process entirely that could be retrieved quickly and efficiently.

  • Myth 04: BIM content can’t be used directly in GIS

It is often stated that BIM content is not reasonable and possible to be directly used in GIS because of semantic complexity, asset density, and asset sales, and the integration is concerned with file formats and workflows ETL ( Extract, Transform, and Load). But Esri users have offered to read the Revit file in ArcGIS Pro directly.

Esri is making efforts to publish a new layer of construction scene compatible with ArcGis Pro 2.3, allowing the user to capture geometry, semantic, and trait details of the Revit model in a scannable form of the GIS process.

On account of added bandwidth, cheaper storage, and processing, ETL is moved to ELT in Esri workflows. In the model, data is loaded to a system needed by it in its native form. It is gotten to for interpretation in a remote framework where examination is performed, taking out the dependence on handling at the source, and preserving the first substance for additional change when required with technological enhancements.

The ELT adjusts the conversation from the situations wherein clients must be connected out of GIS insight to look or counsel the whole model by stacking information legitimately in the ELT design, which isn’t yet conceivable today.

  • Myth 05: GIS is the flawless repository for BIM information

The BIM documentation is referred to as legal records as it incorporates all the business choices and consistent data recorded for development investigation, claims charge subtleties, and record of assets and supplies. GIS can become a record system for BIM information storage, but this will take years and decades.

Esri is trying to link GIS assets to BIM assets repositories to take advantage of the document management in the BIM world together with the asset’s mapped information in a geospatial context for analysis, communication, and understanding.

Integrating data across BIM repositories and GIS will be on a basic level retrieved by normalized data models that permit applications to associate data over both domains consistently. This doesn’t imply a solitary data model to catch the two BIM and GIS data. It is a contrast in how the information should be utilized. Yet, we should be certain that we create flexible innovation and guidelines that can oblige data utilization across the two stages with high fidelity and data content protection.


Modifications in hardware and software abilities provide opportunities to integrate diverse technological domains such as BIMGIS integration that support high efficiency and sustainability. One must adapt to changes in technology patterns to address the integration problems so that the workflow patterns are future proof aiding towards future technological sustainability.

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