GIS and BIM Integration for Infrastructure and Environment



BIM is the need of modern world; it is recognized as an essential tool for AEC (Architecture, Engineering and construction) market all over the world. In 2015 the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) published the BIM-Decree to implement the BIM methodology for big projects in public infrastructure (BMVI 2015). The reason behind this decree is the efficiency BIM gives to its user in the form of cost, time, proper classification, and documentation of data.

Objectives can be wisely achieved with the collaboration of AEC stakeholders. Technologies like BIM & GIS can perform exceptionally well in construction industry if implemented simultaneously by integrating spatial data and the digital workflow design.


BIM and GIS – Authoring Systems, Infrastructure Lifecycle and Workflows

Putting together BIM and GIS technologies eases the hectic workflows of an engineering project, it increases the economic as well as qualitative benefits during lifecycle of a project.

Fig. 1:  BIM and 3D-CAD models as part of the digital spatial environment

Both technologies work on their own principles but combining them gives user the authority to utilize two different technologies in a common workflow to get the common goal of project efficiency

Fig. 2: BIM and GIS authoring Systems interacting in infrastructure lifecycle

A more comprehensive illustration of infrastructure lifecycle (Figure 3) shows how many BIM-related activities require spatial data for further solution (outer area).

Fig. 3: Infrastructure lifecycle

Figure-4 comprise of detailed workflows, they are frequently composed by activities of various disciplines and data sources.

Fig. 4: Selected GIS workflows in infrastructure lifecycle

An essential requirement for BIM-GIS workflows is the integration of BIM-models in GIS systems.

BIM and GIS Integration

The most applied concepts of integrating BIM models in GIS are as follows.

One is the transformation of IFC data with FME® (Feature Manipulation Engine, Safe Soft- ware Inc.), integrating BIM models in IFC-format into ArcGIS with ArcGIS data interoperability extension.

Fig. 5: Integration of BIM models in IFC-format into ArcGIS by FME®

The second way of integration is the direct read in of BIM-Revit®-models (Autodesk Inc.) by ArcGIS Pro. It is a first development to converge a GIS and a BIM platform by means of lean processes. Direct read requires specific software integration.

Fig. 6: Integration of Autodesk BIM models (Revit®) by direct read in with ArcGIS Pro

BIM-GIS Collaboration

Regarding practical aspects in Geodesign, collaboration is established since long for proposal design, approval, and implementation.

Digitization of collaboration processes requires technologically new methods and data management. In the digital context digital data play an even bigger role as before anyway (IoT).

Figure 7 illustrates BIM-GIS collaboration workspace from both sides BIM and GIS to design common digital workflows.

Fig. 7: Summarized illustration of digital process-based BIM-GIS collaboration model

Technology and Software Developed for Improved BIM-GIS Collaboration

In the following a few examples of integrated BIM and GIS work are illustrated. It shows that the tools for digital BIM-GIS collaboration already exist.

Based on platform technology it is possible to use geospatial data with the BIM system to support the design process of an infrastructure.

Fig. 8: IFC Quick Import of BIM model in ArcGIS

Fig. 9: IFC Import in ArcGIS with work- bench and data selection

Fig. 10: Direct read of BIM data (Revit®) with ArcGIS Pro

Fig. 11: Analysis of BIM model and display as webscene

Fig. 12: Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS, Use of geodata from ArcGIS online in Infraworks®

Fig. 13: GIS platform Esri (left) and BIM360 platform Autodesk (right) for collaboration

Discussion and Outlook

The ever-changing complexities of modern projects demand the tools of designing to be efficient enough to coup with tons of variable data. BIM enabled designs implemented on a GIS system proves to be an asset for our globalized world.

Utilization of consecutive digital data in all phases of project life cycle would make us able to design projects which could last centuries. They must sustain without losing their utility, strength as well as suitability to the habitat of human earth in terms of its implications on environment.

Incorporation of cultural, moral, and traditional aspects in the workflow of designing and its execution places us at a position where long lasting and deep-rooted structures can be casted. Combination of BIM and GIS is already helping us wisely but the extent to which they can be helpful is much higher than currently applied.

Multidisciplinary spatial analysis is one key for better understanding of complex impacts and to reduce exactly those impacts in ongoing infrastructure implementation.

The world is changing more rapidly than ever, things we witnessed in first decade of 21st century seemed impossible few years ago. We must equip ourselves with new technologies to get through the problems of modern world.



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