SIGA3D: Semantic Combination of IFC and GIS to Support Urban Facilities Management

SIGA3D: Semantic Combination of IFC and GIS to Support Urban Facilities Management

Clément Mignard, Christophe Nicolle
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0146-8.ch037
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The interoperability of Information Systems has been a research topic for over thirty years. While some forms of heterogeneity have been settled by the adoption of standards, some domains, such as the Urban Information Modeling (UIM), require specific research. The UIM combines information from the domain of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Geographic Information System (GIS) within a collaborative platform. Using this platform, a set of heterogeneous actors takes part in the lifecycle of the urban environment through a 3D digital model. This ambition is faced with several gaps such as resolution of semantic heterogeneity in the lifecycle management system, the resolution of structural heterogeneity between 2D geo-referenced modeling and 3D geometric modeling, or problem solving scalability for real-time 3D display from a remote server for managing a real environment of several million square meters. In this chapter, the authors present the SIGA3D European Project trying to overcome these obstacles into a Web collaborative platform combining BIM and GIS data and processes for Urban Facility Management.
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The transposition of business processes to electronic format has opened recent prospects for collaboration between domains, which until then had been dealt with separately. Sometimes, new areas have emerged. This is the case of the collaboration of the Geographic Information System (GIS) domain with the Building Information Modeling (BIM) domain, which led to the field of Urban Information Modeling (UIM). This area has allowed the emergence of original business processes such as assessing the environmental impact of building construction, managing the flow of mobile entities within a city or analyzing of heat flow exchanges between the buildings to optimize energy consumption. Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) projects need today, for many actors of these projects, the integration of the buildings into their environment. This tends to bring closer the world of AEC projects with the one of GIS. The opposite is also true and GIS professionals have more often more particular needs in terms of large scale modeling and knowledge management, like for buildings, for example. Thus, the number of teams and actors who can act on a project of this type, combining both AEC and GIS, can be substantial and ask fixed business knowledge. Each of these domains used its personal business processes, regardless of others, to achieve in a first time their particular goals. Moreover, each area is partitioned into several layers that also use specific business processes. Furthermore, if recent years have seen the development of e-business processes leading to a global business process for integration and sharing of information from each sub-layer, the processing and knowledge exchanges are differentiated in the overall management of the building and its environment as urban objects. Bringing these two areas (GIS and BIM) seems natural but has so far been very limited because the concepts used are highly heterogeneous syntactically, schematically, semantically.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Industrial Foundation Classes (IFC): Is an ISO standard that defines all components of a building in a civil engineering project. IFC includes object specifications, or classes, and provide a structure for data sharing among AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) applications.

Ontology: Literature now generally agrees on the Gruber’s terms to define an ontology: explicit specification of a shared conceptualization of a domain. The domain is the world that the ontology describes. It can be a general domain or a more specific one. This description uses a vocabulary of concepts which is understandable and agreed by people of the domain; here is the meaning of “shared conceptualization”. The ontology can be implemented in several languages with a different level of formalization and expressivity, with no ambiguity that’s why ontology is an “explicit specification”.

Business Process: Business Process can be defined as a collection of one or more linked actions and activities, which realize a business objective.

Building Information Model (BIM): Has been presented recently as a demarcation of the next generation of Information Technologies (IT) and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for buildings which focus on the production of drawings. BIM is the process of generating, storing, managing, exchanging, and sharing building information in an interoperable and reusable way.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Refer to systems that deal with data linked to one location at least. Common usage for GIS is more or less realistic representation of the spatial environment based on geometric primitives, sometimes associated to attributes. The concept encompasses software, data, equipment and expertise related to the use of these.

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