Trimble+Tekla x GPS+BIM = mucho potential

Trimble+Tekla x GPS+BIM = mucho potential

An interesting Monday morning at work today as the first thing on my desk was Tekla's announcement of Trimble Navigation's offer to acquire all of its shares. Partnership between the companies has been going on for years, especially to promote BIM-to-Field solutions. Trimble is strong on positioning, GPS and GIS - how will these be made to meet BIM in the future?

Chatting around with my colleagues a bit, everybody seems really positive about the offer. Trimble is a global, very technology-oriented player offering significant synergies for Tekla, not only in the field of building and construction but also in developing and applying mapping and GIS systems which are part of the Tekla offering, too. I've been wanting to blog about the BIM and GIS connection for a long time; maybe now is a good time?

An OGC workgroup for CAD-GIS-BIM integration was started already in 2006. Their aim was to integrate CAD and GIS technologies on the web, exchanging spatial information in a better way for multiple purposes of everyday life. One example is a building design imported into Google Maps as a 3D PDF file. Technologies can be integrated by using open standards supported by e.g. buildingSMART which Trimble recently joined.

Object-oriented building information in 3D has been available in Google Maps for some time already via tools such as SketchUp. According to GEO Informatics, there is great need and potential for offering and exchanging building-specific data on the web. They say that making AEC data available in GIS environments has been tested, and the time has come to develop a standard in this field. "The integration of CAD, GIS and BIM comes from a need to use building-specific information in a bigger spatial context for queries and GIS analysis. Geospatial information can be used in future urban planning when it comes to designing new buildings. That way, you can see how a new building will fit in with its immediate surroundings and what this will look like. Ideally, this exchange will happen via web services, which have the biggest range of users when using open standards." Any progess or practical solutions on this initiative?

A joint presentation of how BIM is applied in the field by Tekla and Trimble at Trimble Dimensions in November 2010 was a success and noted by e.g. Spatial Sustain. Jim McCartney from Trimble demonstrated how transferring measuring points from a building information model and back works in practice. I see huge potential in taking the building information modeled in Tekla software to further productive use through the GeoSpatial systems offered by Trimble. As Trimble CEO Steve Berglund said this morning: it's not about integration but transition.