GEO Business 2014 is the newest major geospatial event in the UK. And it is unique in being the result of a collaboration between the British geographic information organization Association for Geographic Information (AGI) and three organizations with a surveying focus, the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICE), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and The Survey Association (TSA). GEO Business 2014 was also distinguished by hosting a strong construction track including a number of talks on building information modeling (BIM) under the theme "BIM meets Geospatial".
Britain is among the foremost proponents of BIM, the government having mandated BIM Level 2 for central government projects from 2016 on. This applies to all construction projects, buildings and infrastructure, large and small. HM Government is a major part of the UK construction industry, responsible for some 40% of the national construction market so this mandate effectively impacts the entire construction industry including private clients.
In this context it was fitting that Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Adviser to the UK Government , gave the opening keynote followed by Neil Ackroyd, Acting Director General of the Ordnance Survey. David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation in the Cabinet Office gave the first talk in the BIM stream entitled "Government BIM Strategy and its Geomatic Opportunity". Other talks in this stream included Ian Bush on "Survey4BIM - a community of practice", Alan Barrow on "Is BIM right for the transportation industry", Steve Bury on "Surveying for BIM - responsibilities, liabilities and direction of travel", Peter Folwell on "BIM is now - Case studies of BIM ready models in an existing environment", and Mathew McCarter of the London Underground on "Recording as-built for BIM - Can you see it coming ? Did you mIss it ?".
The opening keynote "BIM Meets Geospatial - how the GEO industry needs to collaborate more" on the second day was delivered by Anne Kemp, Chair of the AGI, Chair of the ICE BIM Action Group and Vice-Chair of BIM4Infrastructure. Anne, who used to be Director of GIS at Atkins Global and is now Director of BIM Strategy and Development, is a major proponent of the integration of BIM and geospatial. At Atkins BIM means BIM+Geospatial.
BIM+Geospatial has come a long way in the last few years and the UK is among the leaders in the integration of BIM and geospatial.. For example, Anne related that a few years ago, when as Chair of the AGI she invited some speakers on BIM to the annual AGI conference, several AGI members were a bit put out and asked Anne what in the world BIM had to do with a geospatial event. The strong presence of BIM at this geospatial event is concrete evidence of just how far BIM+Geospatial has progressed. As further evidence the Geospatial Forums in various parts of the world (India, Middle East, Malaysia, Asia, Europe, and Latin America) have been hosting well-attended BIM symposia for several years.
I also have to mention the remarkable national effort in France to create a 3D model of all underground and above ground infrastructure. At Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva Pascal Berteaud, Director General, French National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN), described a major ten year, multi-billion euro project involving IGN and France's utilities to map all of France's underground utility infrastructure in 3D to an accuracy of 40 cm (about 16 inches).