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GeoBIM enabling digitalization for Ajman Municipality

Are you one of the many municipalities that is struggling with a manual, long, and inefficient building design validation and approval process? Are you trying to start your journey towards a BIM-based design validation and approval process in an easily accessible and seamless environment? Is a lot of legacy building design information still handled in paper format or as independent CAD/PDF files?

Discover how the implementation of a GeoBIM for the Municipality of Ajman enabled the digitalization and automation of the submission, validation, and permit process by integrating Building Information Models (BIM) and geospatial technology to derive business value out of legacy building plans!



The Client: Building Permit department of Ajman municipality in the UAE

This project was executed for the Building Permit department of Ajman municipality in the United Arab Emirates. This department is responsible for the issuing of Building Permit Approvals as well as the management and maintenance of building plan / permit drawings. They partnered with Avineon to investigate their existing processes and, ultimately, implement a Geo-enabled Building Information Model (GeoBIM).

The Challenge: Digital integration of information

Digitalization is currently driving the entire society. It is manifesting itself in many process-oriented fields, including urban planning, building permission, and emergency management processes, characterized by a high number of involved stakeholders, both from the industry and authority side. In order to increase efficiency of these processes, it is necessary to digitally integrate information, both between stakeholders and between processes.

The building permission process is, to a large extent, a continuous process where much information is still handled in paper format or as independent CAD/PDF files. With digitalization comes the potential to automate the submission, validation, and permit processes by adopting / integrating Building Information Models (BIM) of planned buildings and geospatial technology – allowing a 3D visualization of the building, and thus making it easier to check if the building complies to building permission regulations and city master plan requirements.

Many entities are still struggling with a manual, long, and inefficient building permission process. The Building Permit department of the Ajman municipality in the United Arab Emirates particularly faced issues in terms of receiving building plan drawings in the form of 2D CAD drawings, which did not facilitate the municipality to visualize building elements in a 3D environment or easily validate plans against building standards. In addition, the 2D CAD drawings also complicated the execution of standard building data analytics based on certain defined criteria.

The Solution: An interactive BIM viewer application

Avineon partnered with Ajman Municipality as a consultant to study their existing processes, investigate the CAD templates currently in use, and perform a gap analysis with respect to Building Information Model (BIM) standards and readiness to adopt – all in effort to build an enterprise application that enables:

(i) converting 2D CAD files to BIM
(ii) converting BIM to GIS
(iii) develop an interactive BIM viewer application.

The municipality wanted to reap the benefits of an enterprise geo-enabled, BIM-based, 3D building model, that can virtualize a building; starting with the geo-location of the building, over to the validation of building code guidelines for CAD/BIM drawings, and also including the execution of analytics across buildings and regions.

In addition, the municipality wanted to convert existing buildings from archived CAD drawings to a geo-enabled BIM environment to enable a seamless view and analysis.

Avineon worked with Ajman municipality to perform the following tasks:

  • The development of BIM data standards, specifications, and a GeoBIM data model
  • The development of a CAD template, standards, and specifications to be adopted for future CAD drawings submissions by consultants, developers, and designers
  • The development of tools to convert 2D CAD floor plans to BIM, and convert BIM to GIS
  • The conversion of close to 15,000 legacy building floor plans from paper/CAD to BIM
  • The re-engineering of the business process for design review by the municipality. This was done by generating a Revit model from CAD, by using automated tools, and the loading of this model into the 3D GIS application
  • The development of a 3D GIS application for viewing and analyzing BIM models along with query, search, filter, and analytical tools. In addition, this 3D GIS application was integrated with the existing GIS systems and database
  • While providing consultancy to the municipality, Avineon also focused on developing System Architecture and IT infrastructure sizing to enable system performance.

The Result: A digitalized building design validation/approval process

The digitalization of the building permit process does not only set standard templates and specifications to enable multiple stakeholders to submit building designs in BIM up to LOD 500, but also enables to visualize buildings in GIS before approving designs.

The Geo-enabled BIM helps engineers with the handling of the building permit process, as it allows them to view integrated designs, including utilities, in a seamless web environment. In addition, the Geo-enabled BIM enables the execution of certain analytics, like cooling demand of the building, built-up area vs. parcel area, shadow analysis, Gate level, borewell data (soil analysis), and other analytics which are vital to check before permitting the construction.

For more information on our product & services, contact us:

GeoBIM enabling digitalization for Ajman Municipality2021-01-11T09:41:04+00:00

GeoBIM: Converging GIS and BIM


Mr Ramana Reddy Pulikallu
Sr Vice President-Consulting & Technical Solutions, Avineon India

Enriching engineering design with a geospatial perspective comes with major advantages.

Geo-engineering and Geo-design require engineering and geospatial professionals to cooperate closely, bringing together data, technologies, and processes.

Information modelling, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) in particular, has become one of the key concepts in digital construction, particularly regarding engineering design visualization and validation, since it typically addresses key design data in the engineering space, focused on discipline / aggregated design for individual buildings.

Levering on both geospatial data and technology capabilities, Geo-enabled BIM thus unlocks new capabilities for Geo-engineering or Geo-design that go beyond individual buildings, and thus enables critical design considerations and validations across a larger area (Aggregated buildings across an area or Aggregated engineering discipline models in a large building)

Geo-BIM: key decisions to make

Traditionally, BIM is only used for the design and construction of individual buildings or constructions during the design and as-built stages of a project. It is seldomly used after the as-builting stage and only accessed by limited users. In other words, organizations are, today, not fully utilizing the potential of their BIM data.

GeoBIM can help organizations to make better use of their BIM data in business processes like emergency management, the identification of building code violations, the visualization or analysis of new building designs (including a holistic view on the surroundings), the integration with enterprise systems, etc. Apart from Geo-Enabling BIM for large buildings/constructions spread across large campuses, GeoBIM can be implemented at a large scale by organizations or agencies responsible for municipal or city administration and / or agencies administrating townships. Let us consider the 2 illustrative scenarios for decision making here below.

Scenario-1: The implementation of GeoBIM for all legacy buildings and constructions that city agencies manage today. Based on the importance of the buildings, the following legacy formats can be considered:
Option 1 – 2D CAD designs to BIM to GIS
Option 2 – Paper designs to BIM to GIS
Option 3 – Existing BIMs to GIS.

Scenario-2: The implementation of GeoBIM as part of the digitalization of the building permits process for new / proposed buildings, including the online submission and automated design validation.

With many agencies still managing their designs in 2D CAD drawings, another key question relates to whether to mandatorily enforce BIM submissions for all types of buildings and contractors, or whether to allow the smaller consultants and contractors(say managing small residential constructions) to still submit 2D CAD designs, and let the administrative agencies take responsibility to validate and/or convert the same to BIM using automated tools and templates.

Some of the COTS GIS technologies are enhancing GIS/BIM integration capability by providing functionalities to directly read BIM models. However migration of BIM models to GIS database is necessary for better utilization of BIM data like publishing over web or executing custom analytical tools across multiple models etc.,

What to convert to GIS

BIM holds a lot of engineering components and details, like structural, architectural, MEP, and Elevational, according to Level of details (LOD 100 – 500) represented in the model. It is therefore important to decide on which objects or features to migrate, especially in legacy data conversion or migration. An important driver in this decision naturally is the organizations’ vision and thought process related to the intended use of the Geo-BIM datasets.

For example, if an organization envisions to integrate BIM to Facility management or Asset management, the conversion and migration of all mechanical / electrical / plumbing components will be needed. On the other hand, if an agency, for example, wants to use GeoBIM for the validation of certain building codes, the creation of use of space statistics, general energy demand calculations, building visualizations, or emergency response management, it might be sufficient to migrate key architectural components and features.

Both options have their own advantages and return on investment.


Geo-BIM: Data modelling and technology considerations

The GeoBIM modelling approach does not require to migrate all engineering discipline BIM models to GIS with all features / information. Based on the migrated elements / objects and the level of details captured, the GIS data model can adopt the BIM Institute standard data model and customize it to GIS technology requirements for the relevant BIM objects identified to be migrated to GeoBIM.

Maintaining unique feature IDs helps in integrating GeoBIM objects to external databases or in establishing feature relationships. In addition, maintaining floor relationships while migrating is important for locating, analytical purposes, bill of quantities etc.

Modelling complex elements, like stairs and railings, in a GIS system is more complex compared to BIM systems, as BIM technologies maintain these objects as complex/grouped elements. To address this challenge, and facilitate GIS databases to treat these complex elements as one, custom data models, relevant 3D GIS objects like multi-patch geometry, feature ID relationships must be used. In addition,

customized ETL tools need to be built to migrate such complex elements from the native BIM formats to the customized GIS models.

A carefully considered approach to identify the required attribute datasets, that will enable spatial analysis or integration with asset management
applications, is required when establishing the GIS for MEP elements. For a pipe, for example, the following attributes can be considered:

    • Flow stream
    • Diameter
    • Area (cross section)
    • Material
    • Length
    • Insulation
    • Lining
    • Air flow properties like

– Status
– Pressure
– Flow rate
– Flow velocity
– Pressure drop

Integrated GeoBIM and 3D city model: As you may have read in Avineon ’s article on “GeoBIM: Data Formats & models for converging 3D GIS &BIM” Read more
city GML objects/buildings with real texturing can be migrated to a GIS database and published as map/scene services using GIS server technologies. 3D city layers can be overlaid on GeoBIM layers and custom applications, like roof Solar potential calculations, can be developed.

The integrated data model for BIM and 3D city models uses CityGML and 3D Vector Scene objects in GIS and can enable a high-quality visualization of textured building overlays on top of Geo-BIM models.

Geo-BIM: Conversion approach

Legacy designs: CAD, Paper, BIM format

Avineon typically adopts the GeoBIM approach illustrated in figure 1. We have identified the constraints / limitations in various COTS technologies and augmented our approach with custom tools to achieve an efficient and automated CAD->BIM->GIS conversion without any data loss while maintaining data/feature integrity.


Standardizing CAD design templates is key to an efficient GeoBIM conversion process that continues to allow CAD design submissions from contractors. To enable an automated conversion, CAD templates must address attribute and BIM capture requirements, like object library (families) definition, and unique geometry capture requirements.


BIM / GIS conversion tools/technologies

Various COTS ETL tools convert BIM models to GIS with a certain level of completeness and accuracy. Open formats, like IFC, can be used to convert BIM models to GIS. However, there are constraints/short comings in terms of loss of attribute data, slow performance in data loading/reloading, publishing etc.,
We have observed that, when loading large numbers of BIM models (say a few thousands) in case of city-wide Geo BIM databases, COTS software has limitations in managing complex elements in terms of performance/speed using front end loading tools. This becomes a challenge when there is a need to load BIM models multiple times or load changes to the GeoBIM models.

As illustrated in figure 2, Avineon has derived a unique hybrid approach by utilizing COTS tools for their strengths and by developing both custom ETL tools, to load complex elements to datastores through backend procedures, and procedures to load changes / deltas separately, ultimately providing flexibility, a higher speed and lesser downtime.

Avineon also developed/adopted custom tools to load complex elements, like stairs/ramps/railings, and attributes that got lost during COTS ETL based migration, while maintaining GIS data model integrity requirements.

GeoBIM: Web enabling

Publishing geospatially located 3D models or datasets over web is an effective way to communicate designs to a wider audience, as design options can be evaluated easily by using switchable level structures. This is one of the key purposes of GeoBIM.

GeoBIM provides an opportunity to overlay all the underground utilities and terrain data available in GIS as web services with a new building model. The integrity of this data is critical to ensure no interferences occur during construction.

Client/Server based GIS technologies provide dynamic and flexible data sharing/visualization/ analysis/ hosting/access options, avoiding license overheads and software installation overheads.

Powerful APIs of GIS technologies empower decision makers with ample opportunities to develop custom tools to address various user needs and integration needs.

Ex. GIS technology APIs provide an opportunity to develop geolocation-based network tracing in the 3D space and identification and visualization tools for facility management and maintenance.

Specialized tools like Virtual Reality views, Heating / Cooling demand, Solar potential calculation, Material dashboards, Volume vs Footprint, Building code validations, Shadow analysis etc., can be developed using Geo-BIM models and aggregated over spatial regions like administrative boundaries.

Figure 3: GeoBIM integrated with 3D city model providing BOQ for a selected building over web


Figure 4: GeoBIM integrated with 3D city model providing solar potential for a roof over web


  • Avineon has developed and implemented an end-to-end GeoBIM strategy for converting a large volume of legacy buildings for a municipal authority and brings proven and referenceable experience to its customers who aspire to develop a GeoBIM strategy to meet their business goals.
  • Avineon has developed an efficient and automated approach for converting and migrating legacy CAD designs to GeoBIM databases and publish over web, with all the web portal functionalities to view, query, analyze and maintain the database and to successfully deploy the datastores in a LIVE environment. Avineon’s web-based GeoBIM viewer and custom-built value-added tools can quickly provide the targeted business value that clients aim to achieve from their GeoBIM strategy.
  • Avineon also provides consultancy services to define and establish BIM standards, CAD standards, and data capture specifications, which are key for developing a successful ecosystem between suppliers, contractors, and end-users to seamlessly create and maintain GeoBIM databases and meet the organizational business and functional requirements.
GeoBIM: Converging GIS and BIM2020-12-11T16:29:39+00:00

GeoBIM: Data formats & models for converging 3D GIS & BIM


Debashis Das
Vice President-3D Services, Avineon India

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a significant transformation in the AEC (Architectural, Engineering and Construction) industry.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a significant transformation in the AEC (Architectural, Engineering and Construction) industry. The interrelationships between building information modeling (BIM) on the one hand, and geospatial, or geographic information system (GIS), technologies on the other hand, have been gradually increasing. By integrating GIS and BIM, planners can generate digital twins to visualize projects from any perspective, improving stakeholder communication and participation. Thanks to this digital twin representation, stakeholders can easily see what the project will look like in “real life” – not only taking into account the terrain, but also the surrounding infrastructures (including underground infrastructures), and the overall general environment in which the project will reside Read more

Collating inputs from various disciplines makes the models even more realistic, enabling better solutions for planning and designing that allow the construction, operation and maintenance of large-scale geographically spread infrastructure in a sustainable manner. In addition, costs decrease because costly, and time-consuming, errors are avoided.

However, to fully exploit and reap all the benefits of GeoBIM, it is important to understand the related Geospatial (GIS) and BIM concepts. Here we briefly explain the concepts behind 3D GIS and BIM, based on open standards and vendor neutral technologies.

CityGML and IFC

In most cases, two standardized data formats, from the two most prominent semantic 3D modelling formats for buildings, are used in the AEC industry: (i) City Geography Markup Language (CityGML), used in the field of 3D GIS, and (ii) Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), an open data model for Building Information Modeling (BIM).

In 3D GIS, CityGML is an open standardized data model and exchange format to store digital 3D models of cities and landscapes. It is published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC, and defines ways to describe most of the common 3D features and objects present in cities, such as buildings, roads, rivers, bridges, vegetation and city furniture, and the relationships between them. It also defines different standard levels of detail (LoDs) for the 3D objects, which allow the depiction of objects for different applications and purposes, such as simulations, urban data mining, facility management, and thematic inquiries.

In BIM, the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC, data model is a neutral and open specification that is not controlled by a single vendor or group of vendors. It is an object oriented file format, with a data model developed by buildingSMART, to facilitate interoperability in the AEC industry. It is a commonly used format for collaboration in projects related to Building Information Modeling (BIM). IFC models everything – from the individual components up to building. CityGML, on the other hand, defines five Levels-of-Detail (LoDs) for building models, where each level then describes what geometric and semantic representations are expected.

  1. Concept of Level of Detail (LoD) in CityGML

Level of Detail (LoD) is an important concept in 3D city modelling that defines the degree of abstraction of real-world objects. It is primarily designed to optimize the amount of details of real-world objects by considering specific user needs, computational elements, and economical aspects. CityGML provides a standard model and mechanism for describing 3D objects with respect to their geometry, topology, semantics, and appearance. Based on these parameters, it defines five different levels of detail as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The five LODs of CityGML 2.0.

Description of LODs in City GML version 2.0

Both the geometric detail and the semantic complexity increase from LOD0 up to LOD4, that contains indoor features.
In all LoDs, it is possible to map textures onto the structures.

Table 1: Level of Detail


    2.Concept of Level-of-Development (LOD) in BIM

In IFC, the Level of Development (LOD) framework is used to specify how much a BIM element has developed. They are helpful for communication and coordination since they can be used to indicate stages or milestones.

The acronym Level-Of-Development (LOD) (capital ‘o’) in BIM, that indicates the state of development from conceptual (LOD 100) to as-built (LOD 500), is therefore not to be confused with Level-of-Detail in CityGML. As mentioned before, LoD in City GML defines the degree of abstraction of real-world objects.


Figure 2: Level of Development in BIM

As the LOD increases, the level of detail and the information contained in BIM elements increase as well. The features of building components at each LOD stage are listed below.

Table 2: Level of Development

    3.Differences between City GML and IFC data

Despite apparent similarities between CityGML and IFC formats at a high level, there are major differences between the two. The conversion to CityGML involves both geometric calculations and the mapping of semantics. While IFC models are built using mostly primitives and swept solids in combination with Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG), CityGML only uses Boundary-representation, as illustrated in Figure3
B-rep, CSG and Sweep volumes

Figure 3: The three possible approaches for representing 3D objects in IFC

  • B-rep – B-rep represents a solid body by planar faces that are located at the boundary of the body and completely enclose the body. Each face acts as the border between what is inside and outside the body.
  • CSG – CSG is used to create solid bodies by one or many Boolean operations on base solids. A Boolean operation between two geometries generates a new geometry which can, for example, be the union, difference or intersection, as illustrated in Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 4: Boolean operations between a cube and a sphere

  • Sweep volumes – Sweep volumes define a solid body by a 2D profile and a path. The geometry of the body is computed by moving the profile along the path. The 2D profile can be a primitive shape, such as a disk or a polygon, and the sweep can either be a linear extrusion or a rotational sweep, where the path is defined by an axis and an angle.

The geometry of the latter two types are stored implicitly, meaning that the geometry is generated by calculating parameters. An IFC viewer/reader must apply the sweeping and CSG computations before being able to visualize or use the objects. Figure 5 illustrates an example of this for implicit CSG geometry. The figure also depicts how, at the same time, the relations between a door and a wall are stored.
Figure 5

Figure 5: An example of implicit geometry: the wall is cut by the opening element using the Boolean difference. The door is then placed within the gap in the wall

Calculating the explicit B-rep geometry does not yield a unique solution. For e.g., a disk should be converted to a regular polygon, but the number of sides of the polygon depends on the converter. For the purpose of creating valid CityGML geometries, it is sufficient to have the geometry correctly representing the original model. Although there are three geometric models, in practice, most IFC models are built using sweep volumes and CSG.

One difference between IFC and CityGML is that in IFC, implicit geometry refers to the geometry that is implied by the parameters stored in the IFC file and the definitions in the IFC Object Model specification. In contrast, according to the CityGML standard, implicit geometry is geometry that is stored once, as a template, and can then be reused multiple times by referring to it.


To successfully integrate GIS and BIM, and thus fully reap the benefits of GeoBIM, a good understanding of the related GIS concepts on the one hand, and the related BIM concepts on the other hand is key. Thanks to our experience, knowledge, and expertise in the domain of GeoBIM, Avineon has built this understanding. We help your project planners, designers, and developers generate the digital twin that they need to visualize their projects in the real world, allowing your organization to experience the benefits of more sustainable and cost-effective project planning and execution.

For more information on our product & services, contact us:

GeoBIM: Data formats & models for converging 3D GIS & BIM2020-11-27T13:43:25+00:00

Location matters! GIS: more than “just maps”

Uncovering relationships in your data and gaining insights

More than ever, geospatial knowledge is critical to get the insights you need from your data. Although maps are an important data source in GIS, and a way to visualize the results, GIS is about so much more. It is about understanding the dynamic relationships between big volumes of data. It is about being able to geographically track the process of your data measurements in the real world, and in real time. It is about algorithms, data, and models. It is about developing a new way of thinking – a “geospatial way of thinking”. In other words, GIS can help you understand why location matters for your specific business, ultimately helping you to manage your business more efficiently

Uncovering relationships in your data and gaining insights

Rooted in the science of geography, a Geographic Information System (GIS) integrates many types of data. By using maps and 3D scenes, a GIS analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations. A GIS can use any type of information that includes a location component, allowing its users to compare locations of different objects and discover underlaying relationships and connections. For example, by using a GIS, a single map could be created including, on the one hand, sites that are causing pollution (such as factories), and, on the other hand, sites that are sensitive to this pollution (such as lands and rivers). Such a map would be helpful in terms of determining the risk factor of water supplies.

In addition, GIS technology sometimes allows its users to access more detailed information about specific areas on a map. If so, users can get more information about a specific location by just pointing to a single spot on the digital map – the additional information stored in the GIS about that location will then be displayed. This allows, for example, GIS uses to discover how many residents are there in a particular area, what are the facilities available in the area like restaurants, shops, schools etc.

Finding new data sources

Although maps can be great way to output spatial data, they may not be the best input. One of the most common quality issues related to spatial data is the accuracy of locational georeferencing. This is because maps, which are an important data source, represent reality at specific scales – the smaller the scale, the less accurate the location information, and the fewer features that can be represented. To overcome this issue, and thus improve data accuracy, alternative data sources are increasingly being used as input data for GIS. GPS, for example, can provide more accurate geographic referencing, while digital imagery represents a more objective (less interpreted) view on reality. While it is clear that wireless services are going to contribute to location knowledge in many communities, the way in which these communities will use that information, and whether they are already using GIS, will vary.

Developing a “geospatial way of thinking”

Although maps are an important source of data, and a way to visualize results, they are not an organizing principle of geospatial work. Geographic principles need to be applied to algorithms, which can happen in different types of models – whether it concerns analyzing societal behavior or performing a risk analysis, geospatial knowledge is often critical to get a good and clear understanding of the problem. Our way of thinking in terms of data representation is changing, putting “geospatial thinking” at the forefront in our point of view. Algorithms, data, models, etc. should easily be added to any analysis, even without using a GIS-centric system

We used to think in terms of layers of information, stacked and integrated, to form a map. Now, our perspective has changed towards a more “modelling reality” point of view, meaning that we focus more on the relationships between data, which are interrelated and dynamic. With time, and in order to fully integrate GIS into mainstream business applications, we will need to move away from the “map paradigm” that has been the basis of GIS for many years – automating maps has been the primary way in which spatial data have been handled traditionally in GIS. However, new tools are allowing to gather data with more precise locations. In addition, wireless technologies, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the ability to handle big volumes of data allow to geographically track the process of whatever data that is being measured, whether it concerns stream flows or issued building permits,  in the real world and in real time.

Discovering why location matters

Spatial data have been managed by companies for an awfully long time. Even long before GIS, spatial data where managed for intents and purposes like determining where to drill for oil or monitoring environmental change. It is crucial to understand that most things are spatially referenced – everything happens somewhere. Understanding how this “location component” matters in the conduct of your specific business will help you manage your business more efficiently.

As a leader in Spatial Intelligence, Avineon can assist you in that journey. We have been working with Esri for more than 20 years, offering a full suite of geospatial products and services to our clients in numerous industries, including electric, gas, water, and telecommunication utilities, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies. Our geospatial solutions, consist of data services (like data improvement and maintenance, data modelling, and database management), imagery services (like feature recognition, large-scale and satellite mapping, and land use land cover database production), 3D services (like 3D city modelling, photogrammetric services, photo interpretation, and Lidar classification), and a variety of technical specialties (like specification development, software development, project management, and training).

For more information on our product & services, contact us:

Location matters! GIS: more than “just maps”2020-11-18T06:26:09+00:00

GeoBIM: Convergence of GIS & BIM in developing Urban Infrastructure


Pramod Karnawat
Vice President – BD (Geospatial and IT Services)

Geographic Information System has been traditionally used to model the urban infrastructure and perform 2D spatial

GeoBIM: Convergence of GIS & BIM in developing Urban Infrastructure2020-11-18T05:57:45+00:00

The Holy Grail of BIM

Automating the Gap Between CAD Drawings Through Revit to a Geo-Enabled BIM

Long considered the biggest hurdle to a true enterprise geo-enabled BIM (Building Information Model), transitioning legacy CAD drawings to a geo-referenced BIM Model has always been a cost-prohibitive and substantial roadblock to true BIM acceptance across municipalities and governments.

As easy as it may be to mandate that new buildings and construction adhere to a modern BIM format such as Revit, evolving legacy architectural floor plans and drawings to an immersive, analytic-ready BIM environment remained an onerous task with no clear solution in sight.

Avineon, with the help of innovative technology, process expertise, and proprietary development has now automated the process of loading the foundational/architectural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) elements of legacy CAD drawings into a geo-enabled BIM. With Avineon’s cutting-edge process to convert 2D CAD plans to 3D BIM at scale and subsequently migrate them into GIS, city planners can now quickly unlock the ROI (Return on Investment) of a truly geo-enabled BIM at LOD 300 (Level of Detail 300) in a cost-effective manner. Already deployed by governments and municipalities, the web-based applications developed by Avineon provide users a city-wide view of building information in a secure environment to analyze and make value-based decisions with digital 3D models and plans.

With Avineon’s automated CAD to BIM to geo-enabled BIM process, users can:

  • Ingest multiple CAD drawings with architectural elements including floor/room space details.
  • Automate the development of BIM models with architectural elements at LOD300.
  • Scale the relevant models as needed across a region.
  • Geo-enable the models over a landscape into a geodatabase.
  • Web-enable GeoBIM data, publish as service, and provide spatial/engineering analytical tools.

While the use of CAD technology has transformed the design and drafting of buildings, BIM equips users with intelligent data models that can be analyzed for future planning and various initiatives such as efficiency, energy savings, and focused statistics. Geo-enabled BIM integrates GIS to give users a view of a larger landscape, where buildings can be viewed and analyzed in a smart geo-enabled environment.

With all BIM and GIS information available now in one interface, stakeholders will be able to manage building projects along with other infrastructure data. They will be able to analyze and reuse the information in various ways with incorporated legacy buildings and an efficient new process to load new buildings to digital models through a modern template. Real-world value-producing applications of a geo-enabled BIM on the web include:

  • Streamlined building permitting process
  • Building code validations on legacy buildings
  • Built-up area/volume vs. open and green space
  • Micro and macro building material statistics
  • Energy demand calculations over an area or for a building (heating/cooling) and solar potential calculation
  • Floor space statistics (common areas, floor areas, layouts)
  • 5G coverage planning

Avineon’s revolutionary method of converting complicated CAD drawings to BIM and then integrating them with GIS is an industry trendsetter that lowers the cost barrier of creating a geo-enabled BIM, unlocking the value to cities and municipalities that has been elusive to date.

Reach out to Avineon to learn more about how our streamlined, automated process has moved clients to a geo-enabled BIM at a lesser cost and shorter timeline than traditional methods.

The Holy Grail of BIM2020-11-13T09:30:02+00:00

Mark 811 ArcGIS Widget for Facility Owners, Operators, and Contractors

Simplifying Processes for Safety and Damage Prevention

For utilities of all types, Call Before You Dig (Call 811) systems and related processes are crucial for safety and preventing damage to underground infrastructure. The Common Grid Association (CGA), dedicated to protecting underground utility lines and the safety of people, provides best practices for one call centers, facility owners, excavators, locators, project owners, and designers.  When best practices for this crucial function are not implemented correctly and governed consistently, the implications can be devastating and may include property loss, injuries, and even loss of life.

ArcFM Go Live Events

Best Practices from Common Ground Alliance (CGA)

The CGA Best Practices describe the mapping practices for facility owners and operators of electric, gas, water, sewer, and telecommunications departments at both investor-owned and public or cooperative utilities. These best practices require facility owners and operators to prepare, generate and submit manifests with detailed maps of located facilities in response to 811 tickets received by their one call center.

Avineon’s Mark 811 ArcGIS Web AppBuilder Widget Available in the ArcGIS Marketplace 

To streamline and standardize these activities for ArcGIS  users, Avineon offers a Mark 811 Web AppBuilder widget. This widget enables employees and contractors to mark up (document) the located facilities using an electronic map, and generate manifests for submission to the appropriate one call center. This simple to use tool extends the power of your organization’s GIS to include 811 functions and provides a methodical workflow to standardize and manage these activities. This configurable widget is available to download, at no cost, from the ArcGIS Marketplace.

Example Process Improvements and Efficiencies

Loudoun Water provides drinking water and wastewater services to over 75,000 households in Loudoun County, Virginia, and has been using this widget since early 2019. Loudoun Water maintains over 1,250 miles of water distribution pipelines, over 950 miles of wastewater collection system pipelines and a growing reclaimed non-potable water system.

Loudoun Water contracted Avineon for professional services for the implementation of the Mark 811 widget in late 2018.  Today, the widget is successfully used by users throughout Loudoun Water.

Leslie Plazio, the Manager of Inspection Services at Loudoun Water, shared-

The use of this widget over the last three quarters for over 11,000 manifests has simplified our business process while documenting our fieldwork using mobile devices. This tool improved the user experience for our Utility Protection team and saved the processing of each 811 tickets by a couple of minutes at a minimum, adding to our overall efficiencies.

Celine Yang, the GIS Analyst at Loudoun Water, shared-

The ArcGIS Web AppBuilder Widget approach to this critical business function has enabled us to deliver meaningful user experiences and functionality to our stakeholders. It provided us ease of deployment and an effective way to operationalize web applications, in line with our web and mobile-friendly digital strategy for utility operations.”

Mark 811 Configuration and Capabilities

Mark 811 is a ready-to-use and configurable tool for the web and mobile environments. It is accessible using web browsers on desktops and mobile devices and includes the functionality to generate multi-page PDFs with your custom legends, logos, and printing templates. 

Using this tool for 811 workflows can:

  • Improve safety for all parties.
  • Simplify and centralize historical documentation of all locations.
  • Improve adherence to best 811 practices.
  • Automate information sharing.
  • Optimize the use of resources – (e.g. personnel, time, and money).

For further information about the Mark 811 widget, please contact Avineon directly or through your Esri Account Manager.

Mark 811 ArcGIS Widget for Facility Owners, Operators, and Contractors2019-08-22T11:37:45+00:00

Data Readiness Strategies for Utilities and Telecommunications

Realigning data lifecycle for sustainable value

Data readiness is a critical aspect of digital strategy. Especially within infrastructure-heavy industries, data associated with physical assets and networks in the field can play an important role in generating revenue, delivering customer satisfaction, and serving communities.

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Utility and telecommunication companies managing electric, gas, cable, fiber, wireless, water, wastewater, and stormwater systems have, in many cases, successfully employed Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to build and manage their assets and networks. These GIS implementations typically support a wide variety of business and operational processes delivering significant value to the organization.

Need for Digital Models to Operate Flexible, Resilient, and Connected Networks

Shifts in technology, operating requirements, market conditions, regulations, and other factors provide opportunities for utility and telecommunication organizations to modernize and derive more value from the investments made in GIS.

As legacy infrastructure transitions towards smart ecosystems, the data feeds from assets, field workforces, and customer-owned equipment become vital for utilities and telecommunication companies to operate networks in a flexible, resilient, and connected manner systems.

These shifts are driving the need for modernized digital models in GIS that mitigate latency and integrate data efficiently to support business workflows. This need for robust digital models is also on the rise due to the decentralizing paradigm of resource networks across utility and telecommunication industries.

Objectives for Data Readiness

A key objective for many organizations is the expanded use of their GIS platforms by leveraging powerful new capabilities and delivering greater value and experience to their customers, workforce, and communities, as well as improvements in environmental conditions. Implementing such a robust GIS architecture requires accurate, complete, and current data.

The measurement, identification, collection, assessment, maintenance, and governance of spatial data for its highest and best use results in data readiness for the enterprise.

The benefits of data readiness include:

  • Predictability
  • Competitive Resilience
  • Ease of Integration
  • Expanded Use of Technology
  • Greater Return on Investments

The lack of data readiness can result in:

  • Regulatory Violations
  • Process Inefficiencies
  • Disgruntled Workforce
  • Increased Outages
  • Customer Dissatisfaction
  • Slower Growth

Data Readiness Mindset and Approach

Data readiness is a fundamental ingredient of your enterprise’s digital strategy and requires a holistic approach when examining and optimizing the data lifecycle. It can be achieved through the application of a methodology and tools that considers the complete system lifecycle. At Avineon, we subscribe to a methodology of:

  • Avineon’s design approach, supported by our proven tools and processes, enables your team to examine and assess the quality and completeness of current data holdings. It establishes a baseline of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of your data and the augmentation needed to modify the data life cycle towards realizing your digital vision.
  • Data readiness design readies your organization to implement the necessary data quality improvements, which may be carried out by internal staff and/or outside data specialists.
  • With the correct tools and processes in place, implementation prepares your organization to sustain high-quality data that is authoritative and dependable for improved business and operational results.

In light of this, utility and telecommunication companies preparing for any system upgrade or implementation of technology, such as the ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension, must ask themselves two questions with regard to data readiness:

  • Option 1: Should we limit our objective to running data integrity checks to confirm data set is ready to load into the newer version of the data/information model?
  • Option 2: Can we look beyond data integrity to optimize our target data/information model and data management life cycle to maintain continuous data readiness and deliver greater business value through software upgrades?

The tendency to assume data integrity checks (option1) are the only basis for readiness without fully considering the data lifecycle (option2) is a grave misstep in this journey.

The Data Readiness Role in Digital Strategy

There are many forces driving the need for better data. They come from many different stakeholders, users, and systems involved in the data life cycle. Identifying these drivers and opportunities should be a methodical process that results in a comprehensive spatial data strategy for your organization. This diligence may be the most important consideration in your journey to modernize data assets and maximize the value derived from your GIS.

Data readiness strategies should focus on delivering enhanced value through an improved understanding of:

  • What software applications will the data be used with and what are their minimum requirements? Potential applications may include:
    • Editing and field use
    • Asset management
    • Capital improvement planning
    • Advanced system and outage modeling
    • Tracing for network isolations
    • Network modeling and analysis
    • Customer engagement
  • Will the data be used with Esri’s geometric network models, Utility Network models, or other industry models and software?
  • Are there regulatory and reporting requirements that the data must support?
  • Are there local and/or national standards that the data should follow?
  • Does the data need to address industry-specific needs such as:
    • Lead abatement in the water industry
    • Distribution energy resources in the electric industry
    • Smart grid functionality in the electric industry
    • Integrity management in the pipeline industry
    • Growing completion and 5G capabilities in the communications industry
    • Customer integration with smart appliances
    • Active system controls
    • Predictive maintenance
    • Rapid response for outage management
    • Sales and business development

Data Readiness Considerations

As these questions are answered, a natural outcome is a developing consensus on the benefits and ramifications of raising the quality of spatial data. This consensus becomes the foundation for establishing your data readiness initiatives. Potential benefits and ramifications include:

  • Better decision making for short and long term improvements to the systems.
  • Reducing data errors and duplicity, reconciling disparate data sources.
  • Generating new and better products and capabilities with the data and systems.
  • Enhancing access to authoritative data and ease of use.
  • Promoting the integration of standardized data among business systems.
  • Better compliance with required regulatory functions and deliverables.

Spatial Data Strategy

A well-facilitated data strategy that addresses these basic questions leads your organization to:

  • Craft enhanced data life cycle solutions in a collaborative fashion with all stakeholders.
  • Determine what data exists today and what changes are needed for improved operational and business efficiencies.

This strategic alignment guides and enables your data readiness journey towards applying innovative processes and tools during the design, implement, and sustain initiatives. This includes:

Rules-Based Assessment of Data

 A rules-based assessment of your data can reveal quality and integrity issues in many areas such as:

  • Attributes (empty/null, domains, subtypes, uniqueness, etc.)
  • Legacy fields and use
  • Features/Geometry (overlapping, duplicate, outside area, etc.)
  • Missing or broken relationships
  • Connectivity and topology problems

There are many tools available to assist in this process and to examine the source data for the selected content, quality, and structural characteristics. Some of the more prominent tools that Avineon has worked with and apply given the particular needs of the assessment are:

  • X-Ray for ArcCatalog
  • Esri’s Data Reviewer extension
  • Avineon’s Model Manager (available in the Esri Marketplace)
  • Avineon’s Metrics Extension to ArcGIS for Server (available in the Esri Marketplace)
  • Safe Software FME

Using such tools, the qualitative and quantitative aspects of data readiness can be shared with stakeholders through user-friendly dashboards. Summarizing results in this manner helps to develop consensus towards an optimal data life cycle for each enterprise asset that maintains data readiness throughout the course of normal daily operations.

Conditioning Strategies to Implement and Sustain Data Readiness

With the results of this in-depth data assessment, Avineon can help you design a strategy and tools to prepare the source data for migrating into the target framework. This is determined by the nature and state of the source data sets and improvements needed to fill in data gaps. We may employ tools and methods such as:

  • Digitization from analog sources
  • Field collection via mobile applications
  • Integration of real-time data feeds
  • Georeferencing of digital data for direct integration or for use as background reference
  • ArcGIS Pro analytics functionality and tools
  • Avineon’s Accelerator’s
    • Model Manager
    • Data Loader for Utility Network
    • Conflation Manager
    • Metrics Extension to ArcGIS for Server
  • ArcGIS Data Reviewer
  • Safe Software FME
  • Manual data clean up leveraging off-shore resources for reduced costs

We will then follow a methodical process to implement each data source for use in the target data model in a logical and pragmatic fashion. This will result in a documented and high-quality data life cycle that is carefully aligned with your business needs.

An example of this is an ArcGIS Data Review process that Avineon authored and has used in over 30 projects. Performing this process in an iterative fashion has produced highly accurate and complete data ready for integration in an extremely efficient and cost-effective manner.

Data Conflation, Data Trends, and Data Governance Tools

Following implementation, data statistics and trending tools such as Avineon’s Metrics Extension will baseline and monitor data refinement efforts to sustain your investment over time.  

Taking a Holistic Approach to Data Readiness

Avineon’s holistic approach to data readiness and wealth of experience, skills, and tools can help your organization successfully navigate the complexities in designing, implementing, and sustaining data readiness. For more information, please contact Avineon directly or through your Esri Account Manager.

Data Readiness Strategies for Utilities and Telecommunications2019-08-08T12:44:17+00:00