The outcomes of a joint research project carried out by PCSG, Ordnance Survey and GroupBC will be unveiled at the GeoBuiness show on 23 and 24 May 2017. The outcome of the research is a cloud-based platform called ‘GeoConnect+‘ – a response to PCSG’s call to connect BIM information with geospatial data in a way that helps large asset owners and operators manage large, disparate estates better.
GeoConnect+ hosts and connects asset information with countless geospatial datasets including OS open data, OS mapping data, land and property data, flood, river, road network data and much more.
One of the main objectives is to deliver a platform where you can not only discover information about what you are managing, but importantly where it is located.
A major revelation that presents a significant quick win is the platform’s ability to surface home grown geospatial data that is usually locked away in systems only available to GIS professionals. This ensures all users can benefit from such valuable data instantly through a browser.
A 2D and 3D browser-based viewer has been developed which allows the federation, navigation and interaction of point clouds, models and geo-spatial data in context with the asset’s surroundings, combining the outside world with data about the inside.
In 2015 PCSG’s Technical Director, Adrian Burgess raised a challenge to connect BIM data with geospatial data. Two years later, Ordnance Survey and GroupBC, for the most part have met this challenge.
The starting point for the research for the three organisations to work together was PCSG’s call to:
- geo-locate BIM information so, not only can you find out what assets, spaces, systems, components you have in your estate, but where they are;
- connect asset data to countless geospatial datasets via a common geo reference so you can understand, ground conditions, surrounding natural and built environment constraints, boundaries and social-economic data about the local communities and more; and
- securely share the BIM and geospatial data with many supply chain organisations.
Over the past fifteen years, Ordnance Survey has embarked on a transformation to become geospatial data and analytics specialists in the UK. This research project was a good test of their new data infrastructure which is set up to allow controlled access to digital mapping information via new Application Programme Interfaces (APIs).
GroupBC has, over a similar timescale, developed a business which has enjoyed a high level of success in supporting large portfolio asset owners in the management of asset data. This research project made use of their semantic BIM server to connect asset data with external third party data.
PCSG continues to use the research project to test the value of connecting BIM and geospatial data to see if it genuinely resolves the problems faced by asset owner operators.
Paul Griffiths from Ordnance Survey explains: “The theory being tested is that connecting data about thousands of geographically dispersed assets with geospatial, environmental and socio-economic data will be a key enabler and lead to significant savings through being better informed and the ability to make more cost-effective decisions.”
While understanding the true value of connecting BIM and geospatial data sets together needs a lot more testing, the GeoConnect+ platform is already proving beneficial to some early adopters.
Trevor Mossop, Technical Services Manager, J T Mackley & Co Ltd, states: “GeoConnect+ offers that ability to both simplify document access and ensure that all of the available documents, pertinent to a geotagged location, are bound together and returned from any device without reliance on understanding the search criteria. This is critical to our staff and clients and is a massive step forward in the usability of the Common Data Environment, where accessibility and ease of use dictate buy-in by staff on any project.”
Paul Meredith, Information Manager, Thames Water says: “Our GeoConnect+ tool is directly linked from our Common Data Environment and this gives staff quick and very easy access to verified data and information about the environment. This not only speeds up project delivery, particularly during the options stage, but also means a significant reduction in project risk. We are excited about the possibility of using Geo Connect+ to produce address lists and as a possible interface for site-based and mobile staff to load and access site documentation.”
Sanjeev Shah, CEO at GroupBC believes there will be significant demand to connect a vast array of data in the future, and connecting geospatial data is just the start.
PCSG is being asked all the time about how to connect data from in-house finance and resource systems, building management systems and IoT sensors. This information is extremely valuable in their respective systems but will be even more so if they are connected to assets, helping asset owners to get a better handle on space usage, costs, revenues and maintenance activities, reduce running costs and optimise comfort levels for occupants.
The GeoConnect+ project marks the latest initiative by PCSG to drive improved performance across the built environment sector.