Tag: GroupBC

Open Data from Land, Sea and Space: What we learnt from #tbim2018 Summer Conference

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The title tried to convey the theme we were sharing but it’s always hard to try and sum up the afternoon – so much great and interesting stuff always happens at thinkBIM. In particular the task to sum up the conference feels even harder to do after the great speakers our Conference sponsors, GroupBC, secured for the event.

But first we opened with our now standard spot of ‘Digital News’. Even though our conferences are only three months apart there is always a load of new reports, documents or updates to share with our delegates. This last quarter has been no exception.

The first update was a sobering one, particularly as our conference took place on the eve of the first anniversary of the terrible Grenfell fire. The resulting Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The report, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-building-regulations-and-fire-safety-final-report published in May 2018, examines building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement. It sets out over 50 recommendations for government as to how to deliver a more robust regulatory system for the future.

The report advocates clients, designers and contractors make applied use of

  • Building Information Modelling
  • Robust Information Management
  • Consistent digital records from inception to handover to Operation & Maintenance

The next update shared was the expected publication of the first of the suite of ISO19650 standards – the international standards for BIM based around the BS and PAS 1192 suite of documents. BS 1192:2007 and PAS 1192-2 are expected later this year with PAS 1192-3 and PAS 1192-5 due in 2020.

Then came the latest BIM Reports that have been published.

As an aside it was good to see the Plain Language Pledge getting immediately adopted by the rest of our speakers – everything explained clearly for the delegates.

Our first keynote was from Trevor Mossop, Technical Manager at JT Mackley & Co Ltd and a GroupBC customer. Trevor showed precisely why businesses need to adopt and use Common Data Environments. Through their use of Business Collaborator Mackleys have been able to geo-locate project data for their projects and borehole data from the EA as well as overlay utilities information to help them improve site safety. It was great to see how numerous structured data sets can be brought together to help their business work more safely and effectively. There is more information on this on the thinkBIM guest blog from Trevor also published here.

 

Our next keynote was from Karen Alford, FCRM Manager – Digital Data and Information at the Environment Agency. After Trevor’s great presentation it was really good to have Karen back at thinkBIM to provide the client side and wider view of the Environment Agency.

One of many things that the EA have been doing since Karen last spoke at thinkBIM I making their data sets open. This is great news for everyone and shows how Government departments and agencies can really assist in making the step to digital adoption very small. As ever Karen is keen to keep pushing the Environment Agency and also shared their list of current DADI Projects (Digital Asset Data and Information) as well as their roadmap to 2021 showing their next steps in even greater digital adoption.

 

After our round table sessions we were all treated to an amazing presentation from Sakthy Sulvakumanan around her PhD research on Monitoring minute movements of infrastructure assets from space. It turns out that there are Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellites orbiting the earth that can accurately measure the movements of structures, to within millimetres per year, with measurements taken at regular intervals. Sakthy started by sharing some amazing satellite images of cities where tunnelling works have had a few millimetres effect on buildings before focussing on the more complex interpretation of bridge movement, with the help of some bright steel pyramids fixed to these structures. It was a fascinating presentation and again showed how bringing together various data sets can really add value. For more information on Sakthy’s research we recommend you view her TEDx Newnham talk here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4tEQ79eWU8

thinkBIM’s summer conference was a great success – again. This is in no small part to the well-oiled machine that is the awesome events team of Liz and Donna at Leeds Beckett University as well as the fantastic support we get from our hosts Squire Patton Boggs, and in particular Lauren Guest

You can see more of the conversation by checking the Twitter feed on #tbim2018

NEXT EVENT

Our next event will be taking place at the National College of High Speed Rail in Doncaster on Wednesday 19th September and will feature presentations from Clair Mowbray (Chief Executive of National College for High Speed Rail), Rob Jackson (Bond Bryan Digital – architects for the NCHSR scheme) and Richard Osbond (Director at Curtins Consult).  Details can be found by clicking the image below or by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog: The Power of Location for project and asset control

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When GIS & BIM combine: Unlocking insights from your projects & assets

There’s an explosion of external data sources that are becoming available such as Geospatial, Land Registry, Ordnance Survey etc, or iOT, scans and point clouds but how can you ensure that data doesn’t just become more noise? asks Trevor Mossop, Technical Services Manager at J T Mackley & Co Ltd (pictured)

Trevor: At this year’s thinkBIM Summer Conference I demonstrated the “The Power of Location” by looking at what we ultimately want to do with that information, how we can make best use of it to answer the questions we have, and how can we be assured that it is current and trusted information throughout the lifecycle of the asset.

At Mackley, up until 2016 we were still reliant on storing and sharing information on network servers and via email, which was becoming costly and inefficient. Field workers couldn’t easily access information when on site.

As a main contractor specialising in flood defence and coastal maintenance projects, most of our work is for the Environment Agency and similar customers, and as such we needed a CDE to demonstrate BIM level 2 compliance (a prerequisite for EA frameworks.) Initially, we were only interested in having somewhere central to access project and business information, that met BIM level 2 requirements.

While the CDE was readily accepted in the office locations, site workers were still having trouble finding the right information so during the Shoreham Adur Tidal Wall project, I started investigating how to provide site user access to key site information in an intuitive and visually appealing way. My investigations lead me to Google Earth, using  KML files to link to project information through a map of the site and surrounding area.. At the same time I discovered that GroupBC, our CDE partner, were investigating similar issues around usability, so we teamed up to develop a solution that removed the reliance of complex and expensive GIS tools, and instead allowed us to leverage our existing CDE investment.

Many BIM solutions fail as site workers can’t find the right location without navigating folder structures or clicking through alien ‘metadata’ fields. So in response to this, at thinkBIM, I’ll be demonstrating this solution, and the workflows we created to simply upload Google Earth KML files to the CDE and link the site drawings and documentation to their project location using a map – the most natural, intuitive interface for our site workers.

When information is correctly structured and linked from the CDE to the project and/or asset, using an easy to use interface, this encourages users to trust the solution and the providence of data available to make more informed site based decisions.

Such a solution can also be used to push Health and Safety information based on location. For instance, a site worker by a river can simply click on the location on the map, and instantly access related documentation about dangers of working there, and any issues or precautions they should be aware of. Similarly, O&M manuals for an asset can be accesses via a single click on the map interface.

Only by providing a simple location driven interface, will site workers fully engage with BIM.

Connecting Project Data beyond the site – Thoughts from June #tbim2016

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On Wednesday 1st June 2016 we held our second operations and in-use BIM seminar which focussed on the wider application of built environment digital data and how it can be usefully shared and utilised. ThinkBIM steering group member Paul Wilkinson shares his thoughts on the evening below.

 

Paul WilkinsonOpen Data, BIM and the Semantic Web

Guest Post by Paul Wilkinson. (Please note this post first appeared on Extranet Evolution on 2nd June – link here)

The latest ThinkBIM ‘twilight’ seminar, held in Leeds yesterday (1 June 2016), looked at the wider application of data relating to the built environment. Too many BIM events focus purely on the creation and use of data within a built asset project team; some extend the discussion to look at reuse of data for facility management, operation and maintenance; but few BIM events look at how some BIM and other built environment data might be connected to other data or even made more widely available, perhaps as open data.

Becoming more open

So far as BIM is concerned, the UK government’s 2011 insistence on BIM processes generating “open shareable asset information” is often assumed simply to be about ensuring data is interoperable: capable of being shared between different applications, operating systems and IT hardware. However, the first word is also strongly linked with the UK government’s wider digital agenda – the February 2015 Digital Built Britain strategy (strongly endorsed in the recent 2016 Government Construction Strategy and leading us towards BIM Level 3), for example, is not just about construction, but a fusion of industry strategies relating also to business and professional services, future cities and the information economy.

Discussions about open data are increasingly common, particularly in the UK, where the government has set out to be a world leader in creation and reuse of open data (it recently ranked first in an Open Data Barometer league table of international performance), with data valued as a key part of our national infrastructure (however, in December 2015, the Open Data Institute wrote an open letter to Lord Adonis, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, arguing data is not being given “the same importance as our road, railway and energy networks were given in the industrial revolution and are still given now”).

The government’s open data push is being realised both centrally and locally, and is predicated on a belief in greater transparency, in ‘Government as a Platform’, giving tax-payers access to their data and other information derived from government investment in public services and assets. As well as central government’s National Information Infrastructure and Data.gov.uk, several local authorities have launched open initiatives, some creating dashboards sharing metrics generated from open datasets (look at the London Datastore, Open Glasgow, Leeds Data Mill, Bath:Hacked and Open Data Bristol, for example).

Open is everywhere

In addition to BIM-related open data conversations, I have attended Constructing Excellence meetings about open data (read Ben Pritchard’s blog post); I am part of an EthosVO-led, Innovate UK R&D project (SkillsPlanner) using open linked data as a resource to help address construction skills shortages; and I have led conversations in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations about the need for communicators to be more data-literate, more aware of open data issues and opportunities.

However, yesterday’s ThinkBIM event (held at AQL’s datacentre housed in a former chapel – now the beeping digital heart of Leeds) was more focused on the built environment challenges and opportunities.

  • While commonly regarded as a mapping organisation, Ordnance Survey’s core skills are in data, technology and interconnections. Echoing the Association for Geographical Information’s recent Foresight report (post), Ordnance Survey’s Paul Griffiths described geospatial data as the ‘glue’ connecting data about built assets to other data about the environment and about social aspects of the areas around those built assets. in February 2015, OS launched OpenMap, a new digital map bringing open geospatial data to mobile and web platforms. Then, using examples drawn from Thames Water projects undertaken using the ‘Semantic BIM’ platform provided by SaaS vendor GroupBC (formerly better known as Business Collaborator), Griffiths showed how data about existing building types and heights, flood risks, crime, employment and education could be used to augment existing decision-making tools (“project design need no longer happen in splendid isolation”).
  • ODI Leeds’ Tom Forth showed various examples of data captured by Leeds City Council and made open, including a powerful example of how public building energy use could be cross-referenced with IT data relating to office occupancy to demonstrate when and where energy savings might be made (making “ten million lines of data” open, he said, also helped make that data usable and bridged gaps that previously existed between FM and IT departmental silos). Datasets about empty buildings, housing density and open spaces could also be accessed to inform public debates about housing shortages and planning decisions.
  • GroupBC’s CTO Steve Crompton then provided a ‘RetroBIM’ critique of legacy information, suggesting around 98% of current built asset data was effectively trapped in drawings and documents held in internal file-sharing systems, not lodged in databases where they could be used as a basis for decision-making (“Let’s democratise some of that data, put it in the cloud,” he said). He briefly described how GroupBC’s Semantic BIM platform could provide vital contextual data to support efficient decision-making for planning, designing, constructing and operating built assets.

dataspectrum

During the panel discussion, it was clear security, commercial confidentiality and personal privacy concerns all need to be addressed in selecting what data might be made open (the Open Data Institute has a useful ‘data spectrum’ diagram showing the continuum from closed to open data). But Tom Forth stressed many bodies currently hold huge volumes of dormant data that could be made open (surely, such data will only have value if someone does something with it?).

Government departments are already opening up some of their data reserves so that they can be explored and exploited. In June 2015, DEFRA, one of the most data-rich departments in Whitehall, opened up thousands of datasets so that they could be more widely used to improve the quality of our natural environment.

It was also clear that the industry currently known as construction is still at an early stage in not just its BIM journey (the BIM Level 2 deadline passed less than two months ago) but also in its open data journey. To re-use an argument I’ve given in recent lectures and conference keynotes, we have only just started to move from “common paper environments” to “common data environments” – and open data is part of the more long-term BIM Level 3 picture (is it just a coincidence that the ‘semantic web’ is sometimes referred to as Web 3.0).

groupbclogoGroupBC: semantic BIM differentiation

I speak regularly to the main SaaS collaboration vendors active in the UK, and GroupBC is the only one actively developing semantic web capabilities. That is not to say that rivals aren’t thinking about integration between their platforms and other information systems – APIs are a key part of Viewpoint’s roadmap, I heard at last week’s customer summit, for example – but GroupBC is pioneering the use of linked data to build new products and enhance the capabilities of existing tools.

Its ‘Semantic BIM’ technology moves beyond the typical uses of BIM for visualisation, clash detection, construction sequencing, etc, and opens up a potentially huge web of related data, from ‘location intelligence’, to data shared by or licensed from other commercial or public bodies, and to data held in internal corporate systems. BIM, therefore, becomes just part of a bigger built asset data picture – the semantic web allows teams to exploit far richer seams of data, potentially unearthing vital ‘nuggets’ of information for accurate and timely decision-making.

Group BC have also written an excellent post on their own blog about their work with Semantic Web – please check it out at the link below. http://www.groupbc.com/blog/2016/06/03/connecting-project-data-beyond-the-site-boundary-thinkbim-2016/

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A selection of the best tweets and images can be found at the storify below. Please keep checking back as presentations will also be available shortly.

ThinkBIM’s next half-day conference, focused on BIM for operation and in-use, is at Squire Patton Boggs new offices in Leeds on Wednesday 6 July 2016 – more details to follow.

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