Two months ago, I wrote about Show Us a Better Way, the UK Cabinet Office’s Web 2.0 competition for ideas to unlock the potential of publicly-held information. The flow of ideas shows no signs of stopping, and while some ideas are repeated, there are occasional gems. Today, I noted a suggestion from a Michael Blom that, while needing further work, ties in neatly with building information modelling (BIM), IFCs and all that:
Building Information Modeling of UK’s urban area buildings
Describe your idea. How does it work and who does it help?
A xml language which is designed for 3d building models holds not only the shape parameters, but also all the attributes of the building. Information starting from the proposals for the building, to the architects and their related information, to the electricians, builders etc. The architects, who would be the main ones responsible for updating the xml data, would gain the benefit of having access to a user contributed database of all the buildings within a city, which would also be a 3d model.
What information or services do you need?
A defined and accepted XML language (exists already?) to describe buildings’ shapes and attributes. An application to provide an interface to edit the xml data. Security and permissions to define who has access to what parts of the the XML. A means of viewing the model and its attributes… a KML converter to view in Google Earth?
The technologies to promote this approach largely already exist (we’ve been talking about nD BIM for some years, of course, and BuildingSMART’s Industry Foundation Classes, IFCs, were to be the interoperable ‘glue’ holding it all together), but Michael’s proposal could be improved. For a start, why task the architects with updating the data? Other consultants, main contractors, specialist contractors, materials and component suppliers, the buildings owners, operators and end-users might all be able to contribute. But, as Michael suggests, why stop at just the building? Why not model entire neighbourhoods in this way…?