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The UK Government as part of its building information modeling (BIM) initiative has said repeatedly that it expects the big payoff of a digital model, estimated at more than 40% savings, will be during operations and maintenance, typically representing 80% of the total cost of a facility. Companies such as BAM who do Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) projects report significant benefits from full lifecycle BIM + geospatial. But there is little if any quantitative evidence supporting this conjecture. I have asked people from Finland familiar with the very early BIM developments in that country if there were studies of the benefits of BIM for operations and maintenance, but apparently the BIM focus there has been entirely on design and build.
Crossrail with a budget of £14.8 billion is the biggest engineering project in Europe. It involves 42 km of tunnels beneath one of the most densely populated parts of Europe. It has wider tunnels and its 40 stations have longer station platforms than the Tube has. Crossrail trains are expected to start running next year and the full network should be open by 2019.
But the most interesting aspect of the Crossrail project is a 3D digital model with associated asset data that has not only been used during design and construction, but is intended to be used for operations and maintenance. Crossrail appears to be the first major project that may be able to provide support for the conjecture that the biggest benefits of BIM are for operations and maintenance.
The Crossrail model is comprised of spatial and non-spatial data with links between the two. The spatial data is made up of more than 250,000 3D BIM models as well as as-builts, together comprising a few terabytes. As construction of each facility is completed as-builts are collected by point-cloud survey using laser scanners. The point clouds captured in the survey are compared to the design and divergences that need resolving are recorded for fixing. The detailed asset data and documentation add an additional 5 terabytes. This represents one of the World's largest BIM model. A critical aspect of the spatial database is that all assets are geolocated so that workers can query a particular location of London on a map and then navigate to the Crossrail assets there.
The model is intended to become a crucial tool for monitoring, operating and maintaining Crossrail’s systems once the railway is running. Sensors monitor various aspects of the railway's operation and remote-controlled devices can change operating parameters from a central control room or from a handheld device. Managers can view this information within the 3D model and can zoom in on an area which needs attention. Crossrail is testing low-power wireless smart sensors called Utterberries that can monitor strain, temperature, humidity, acceleration, and other aspects of a facility. Utterberries weigh 15 grams and are smart - they have an ARM processor on-board and can operate for more than a year on one charge. One of the coolest capabilities of the digital infrastrucure is an augmented-reality interface which allows workers to hold an iPad up to a wall or floor and see a view of the infrastructure (electricity, water, and communications) under the floor or behind the wall.
Worldwide there is increasing demand from building and infrastructure owners for service provision throughout the entire life cycle of a building or infrastructure. This represents a distinct break with the design/build tradition which has dominated construction for years. At the Year in Infrastructure conference in London, a dominant theme was the growing recognition of the importance of full lifecycle management of infrastructure. I found it symptomatic of the direction of the construction industry that fully one third of the 54 finalists for the annual Be Inspired Awards involved mapping, rehabbing, retrofitting, replacing and managing existing infrastructure. This is my classification of these Be Inspired finalists;
Patrick MacLeamy, Chairman of buildingSMART and CEO of HOK, has been pushing a very simple message about the U.S. construction industry for years. Buildings are too expensive, are too inefficient to operate and maintain, and don't last long. As a result the U.S. construction industry is falling behind the Nordic countries, the U.K. and Singapore. His solution is a full life cycle approach to construction. Information has to be shared between owners, designers, contractors, operations and facilities management over the entire life cycle of the building or infrastructure.
Over 50% of the cost of maintaining a building is operations and maintenance which is comprised of administration, maintenance and repairs, and restoration projects. In several countries BIM has become essential for design and construction. But many including the UK government believe that the full value of BIM can only be found during the operational life of the building where the majority of the life cycle costs occur. The UK government has said that "the 20% saving refers to CapEx cost savings however we know that the largest prize for BIM lies in the operational stages of the project life-cycle".
Road and highway infrastructure
Highway construction is being transformed, due in part to the arrival of autonomous vehicles. I've blogged about the startling (at least to traditional construction contractors) vision of the future of highway construction of the Chief of Surveys at the Oregon Department of Transportation (DoT) which targets the full lifecycle of highway assets from planning through design and construction and operation and maintainenance. Some large construction projects are already being designed, built and operated and maintained with a full lifecycle perspective.
Industry surveys report that up to 80 percent of a utility's resources and budget can be spent on operating and maintaining existing utility infrastructure. Surveys also show that aging utility infrastructure is a top priority for most utilities.
Be Inspired Awards: Mapping, Monitoring, Rehabbing, and Replacing Infrastructure
One of the projects focused specifically on full lifecycle data management for highway construction. The project, which was submitted by the Roads Directorate, Denmark, is for the $ 580 million 39-kilometer Herning – Holstebro highway which includes eight interchanges, four railway crossings, and five bridges. The important achievement of the project was to create a digital workflow with meaningful requirements for sharing data among disciplines and across the entire project lifecycle. The project was a finalist for the year's Be Inspired Award for Innovation in Roads.
Seven of the finalists' submissions involved renovation, rehabbing, and retrofit. An outstanding example of a rehab project is the Bond Street to Baker Street Tunnel Remediation Project. This is a London Underground project in the UK. It involved the replacement of the existing elastoplastic concrete lining of a 215-meter tunnel segment on the Jubilee Line with a spheroidal graphite iron lining - all while the line was running at full capacity. This achievement won this year's Be Inspired Award for Innovation in Rail and Transit at the Year in Infrastructure 2015 conference.
Two of the finalists' projects involved replacement. An example of a replacement project was the Decommissioning and Replacement of Del Rio Bridge on US 20 this was carried out by Harper-Leavitt Engineering for the Idaho Transportation Department with minimum disruption to traffic.
Five of the finalists submitted projects that involved monitoring and extracting more value from existing transportation and utility infrastructure including rail, electric substations, electric and water and waste water distribution networks.
An example is a project submitted by SA Water which won the Be InspiredInnovation in Asset Performance Management Award. The project involved integrating a hydraulic model and an operational analytics tool with network sensors to help them optimize their network. These tools enable them to optimize chlorine dosing for different water sources (runoff, desalinization, rivers), minimize electric power costs, and improve water quality by mapping water age across their entire network. SA Water have not only been able to reduce their power bill by A$3 million, but also have cut their network operating costs by nearly a A$ million. It has also resulted in improved water quality. More fundamentally it has given them much greater insight into sources of revenue and the costs of various aspects of operating a water network.
Four of the finalist projects involved mapping and historic site protection. An example is a gas main project submitted by Utility Mapping Services Inc. This project involved creating a 3D map of underground utilities along a stretch of highway with complex utility infrastructure woven through dense commercial and residential areas with limited right-of-way and heavy traffic congestion. Most critically from a safety perspective, there were no utility strikes on the project. As a result the 3D model is credited with reducing construction time from 10 to 7 weeks. Most importantly from a budget perspective, there were no change orders and the total cost of the project came in at 10-15% less than estimated in the absence of a 3D model.
Another example is a project submitted by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). Singapore intends to be the world's first "smart nation". Part of this initiative involves developing a virtual Singapore that is intended to be the source of authoritative information about Singapore for use by government agencies. The project involves capturing large amounts of data using multiple rapid mapping technologies including oblique imagery, airborne laser scanning, mobile laser scanning, and terrestrial scanning. The data has been compiled into 3D city model in a single database repository which includes geometry, topology, semantics and appearance. The database relies on CityGML, a standard managed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), for the database schema and for data exchange. The total volume of data is more than 50 terabytes. The database is open and accessible to all government agencies. The most challenging part of the project has been the development of business processes and technologies for ensuring the data remains current. At the the Year in Infrastructure conference in London the SLA the won the annual Be Inspired AwardforInnovation in Government.
The location of existing underground utility infrastructure is more often than not poorly known which creates significant risk for infrastructure and highway construction projects. In a gas line construction project which Utility Mapping Services (UMS) submitted for a Be Inspired Award, UMS diverged from normal construction practice by first creating a 3D model of the existing underground and above ground infrastructure. During construction there were no utility strikes and as a result there were no change orders and the construction project was completed in 7 instead of the expected 10 weeks.
I had a chance to chat with Donald Haines, Senior Engineer, and Cameron Greer, Project Engineer at UMS. The project involved constructing an eight inch high pressure natural gas pipeline along a major highway SR510. The customer was Puget Sound Energy which is responsible for electricity and gas in the Puget Sound area. The Washington DOT was also involved in the project because the new pipeline runs within the SR510 right of way.
A major risk was that the project corridor includes complex utility infrastructure woven through dense commercial and residential areas with limited right-of-way and heavy traffic congestion. Because of the complexity of the underground utility infrastructure it was decided at the beginning of the project to develop a 3D model of the existing underground infrastructure. The model enabled the design team to adjust the pipe elevation and horizontal alignment to avoid potential utility conflicts during the design phase. The 3d model of existing utility infrastructure avoided unnecessary utility relocations and the associated construction delays and contractor change orders. It also allowed for tighter contractor bid estimates by providing a more accurate design to the contractors.
UMS' subsurface utility engineering (SUE) services group were familiar with new remote sensing technology such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic detection (SPAR300) which allowed them to acquire 3-D location data for underground utility infrastructure. Application of new SUE technology created much greater value for the customer because UMS can now clearly convey to the client the issues presented by existing infrastructure and work with their design and construction teams and the utility infrastructure owners to minimize utility relocations and avoid surprises from buried unknowns.
Starting with a 2D basemap, the underground survey was conducting using several technologies, including SPAR300 and GPR, and potholing for validation. In addition to the expected utility infrastructure, the survey detected undocumented abandoned utility lines which highlights an important advantage of the new remote sensing technologies. The data was captured and integrated to create a 3D model using Trimble software. The 3D model formed the basis for the design for the new gas pipeline. The 3D model detected 170 conflicts, points of intersection of the design for the new pipeline with other utilities. Several alternative routes were assessed and the costs and benefits of each were computed and compared in order to determine the optimal routing for the new pipeline. 3D visualization of the alternative routes helped the designers show Puget Sound Energy and the Washington DOT the advantages of alternative routes and allowed changes to be made to the design live in front of the customer. One interesting wrinkle is that the design had to avoid conflicting with new sewer line which had not been built yet. One of the existing sewer lines was scheduled to be replaced by a significantly larger one in the near future.
A major advantage of the 3D model is that it reduces the risk of utility strikes during construction. On projects where automated construction is used, exclusion zones can be created from the underground 3D model that prevent the machinery from striking utility infrastructure.
The 3D model helped in other ways. The project required two variances from the Washington DOT which were granted in record time because the 3D model showed so clearly why and where they were required. The 3D model helped to minimize highway disruptions to the public. Most critically from a safety as well as cost perspective, there were no utility strikes on the project. As a result the 3D model is credited with reducing construction time from 10 to 7 weeks. Most importantly from a budget perspective, there were no change orders and the total cost of the project came in at 10-15% less than estimated in the absence of a 3D model.
At the Year in Infrastructure conference in London SA Water is one of the finalists for the annual Be Inspired Innovation in Roads Awards. Today Rowan Steele presented an overview of how SA Water, based in Adelaide, South Australia, has applied operation analytics to reduce the water utility's power bill by A$3 million.
South Australia has been suffering from an extended drought for nearly a decade and has just built a desalinization plant to provide more reliable water to their customers.
About 40% of the South Australian power generation is now renewable. Most of this is wind (33%) and solar (8%). Fluctuating sources of power generation means that the price of electricity can range widely from -A$1000 to A$13,000 per megawatt hour (Mwh).
The drought, the new desalinization plant and the fluctuating cost of power introduced complexity into managing what used to be a fairly simple water network.
To address these issues SA Water decided to invest significantly in IT to help manage the water network better. They acquired a hydraulic model that allowed them to simulate the network under different conditions. They also invested in an operational analytics tool.
Together these applications have helped them optimize their network in various ways, such as optimizing chlorine dosing (water from the desal plant has very little organics compared to river water), minimizing electric power costs and reducing water age in some parts of the network. The benefits have been significant. They not only have been able to reduce their power bill by A$3 million, but also have cut their network operating costs by nearly a A$ million. It has also resulted in improved water quality. For example, they can map water age geographically for their entire service area. More fundamentally it has given them much greater insight into sources of revenue and the costs of various aspects of operating a water network.
A highlight of the Year in Infrastructure conference in London are the Be Inspired Awards. The annual Be Inspired Awards competition brings together infrastructure professionals and members of the media to share innovative practices in infrastructure project design, engineering, construction, and operations and to celebrate the extraordinary work of the world’s architects, engineers, contractors and owner-operators. Infrastructure projects submitted for the awards range across 18 categories. One of them is Innovation in Utilities and Communications. This year's finalists provide examples of where the leading utilities in the world are investing in new technology to help them fundamentally transform the world's electric power system.
3D model of underground utility infrastructure
The location of existing underground utility infrastructure is more often than not poorly known which creates significant risk for infrastructure and highway construction projects. In this project Utility Mapping Services (UMS) created a 3D model of the existing underground and above ground infrastructure to reduce the risk associated with constructing an eight inch natural gas pipeline along a major highway.
To increase reliability for customers Puget Sound Energy planned the installation of an eight-inch, high-pressure natural gas main along one mile of SR 510 in Lacey, Washington. A major risk was that the project corridor includes complex utility infrastructure woven through dense commercial and residential areas with limited right-of-way and heavy traffic congestion. Creating a 3D model of the existing underground infrastructure enabled the design team to adjust the pipe elevation and horizontal alignment to avoid potential utility conflicts during design before a shovel touched the ground. The 3d model of existing utility infrastructure dramatically reduced the costs associated with unnecessary utility relocations, avoidable construction delays, and contractor change orders. It also allowed for tighter contractor bid estimates by providing a more accurate design. UMS's subsurface utility engineering (SUE) services group had been using new remote sensing technology such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) which allowed them to acquire 3-D data on existing underground utility infrastructure. The new SUE application created much greater value for the customer because UMS can now clearly convey to the client the issues presented by existing infrastructure and work with their design and construction teams and the utility infrastructure owners to minimize utility relocations and avoid surprises from buried unknowns.
Inshaat Utilities Management System
Inshaat is a system developed by the Municipality of Dubai to manage utility construction projects by automating drawing validation. It is intended to enable external consultants to submit drawings, engineering and other files via the Web. The system automatically checks submitted drawings against the utility's CAD standards and utility network engineering rules, and then converts and integrates the drawings with the master municipal network. Members of the design and engineering teams, management and other stakeholders can access drainage, sewerage, and irrigation network information via the Web. Making the entire project process digital not only reduced the municipal department staff’s project drawing validation time by 95 percent but also reduced paper usage in utility construction projects by 90 percent.
Engineering Contractor Collaboration Solution
Smart substations are the key to the next generation of the electric power grid. But for many utilities they are a bottleneck because of limited substation design resources. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) embarked on an innovative project to streamline the substation design process. PG&Es Substation Engineering Services deployed a new substation design system to approximately 80 internal design employees with efficiency gains of about $ 5 million in savings per year on contracted projects. PG&E hoped to realize similar benefits by extending it to external contractors. Enabling contractors located throughout the country to work in PG&E’s substation design environment not only enabled more effective, efficient, and secure collaboration with external contractors, but allowed PG&E to expand its substation design capacity by bringing in external contractors.
At last year's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) BIM National Conference 2014, RICS sponsored a BIM Vendor Showcase in which a BIM model derived from scanning the RICS headquarters building in Parliament Sq in London was provided to vendors who were asked to estimate quantities including gross internal floor space. For comparison RICS staff also measured the building internal spaces with tape measures.
The results were surprising. For example, the gross internal floor space was measured by tape measure to be 4,736 sq-m. The vendors' estimates derived from the BIM model ranged widely from 3,474 to 4,781 sq-m. The variances in other measurements derived from the BIM model among the vendors were also quite wide.
At this year's RICS BIM Conference, a similar experiment was tried, but the question was not focused just on measuring dimensions of interior spaced but also on estimating maintenance costs based on the BIM model. The vendors were asked to consider just one floor. In addition to the 3D BIM model derived from scanning the building, the following information was provided to all the vendors
BIM model and coloured plan of the floor
A condition survey/schedule
BCIS typical component life expectancies
BCIS building maintenance price book
Eight vendors were invited to participate in this year's exercise. Four vendors took up the challenge. The vendors were asked to respond to the following scenario:
A company has a floor in a building (the RICS HQ building) and wants to understand the expected life cycle costs over the next 10, 20, and 30 years.
Floor space measurement
On the basic measurement of floor space the different vendors were in much better agreement with the tape measure result than last year. In fact one vendor came up with exactly the result that RICS measured. (The others didn't include some cupboard space in the floor space calculation.)
Lifecycle cost estimates
All the vendors used different software packages to estimate maintenance costs 10, 20, and 30 years into the future. Each vendor had a different focus, for example, feasibilty, detailed estimating, or facilities management, and the results reflected the different objectives.
At the RICS BIM event three of the vendors described the workflow they followed to estimate the lifecycle costs. One example of a workflow was
Import BIM data in IFC format into a BIM 3D model viewer
Select elements and export data as COBie Excel file
Create survey template with full element and room list using NRM1/3 (see below) elemental structure
Import BCIS component life expectancies and building maintenance prices (see below)
Import BIM data
Perform condition survey of RICS HQ
Upload data to cloud to run 10, 20, and 30 year lifecycle plan
Report results as net present values
The lifecycle costs estimated by the different vendors varied widely, for example, from £ 90,000 to £ 220,000 for the 30 year lifecycle cost. The variance reflects the different assumptions that were made by each vendor about the condition of the assets (remaining life), the condition they needed to be in to operate efficiently, how much they could be stretched before failing, which maintenance activities to be included/excluded in the life cycle costing, the cost of maintenance activities, and different discount rates and other financial parameters.
RICS' conclusions are that the software vendors are accelerating rapidly in this field. They were pleased that RICS standards such as NRM are being embedded in the software. From a data perspective, BIM quality is key and a content plan defining what information is required is essential. Most importantly, it was emphasized that you can't plan on simply loading the data and pushing the big red button. It is necessary to carefully check everything and this requires an experienced professional.
BCIS (Building Cost Information Service) provides benchmarking data covering cleaning, energy consumption and administrative costs. It is used for early life cycle cost estimating and the development of life cycle cost plans by facilities managers and surveyors who specialize in facilities management, maintenance and operating costs.
NRM (New Rules of Measurement) are published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). They provide a standard set of measurement rules for estimating, cost planning, procurement and whole-life costing for construction projects. They are the "bible" for what is in the UK called quantity surveying (QS). It is comprised of three volumes NRM1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works, NRM2: Detailed measurement for building works, and NRM 3: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works. Together this suite provides a cradle-to-grave guide for cost estimating, works procurement and post-construction procurement.
At the ISO/TC 59 Plenary Week in Toronto this week, a day long collaboration session was organized by ISO/TC 59, buildingSMART, and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). This is a major milestone for the development of standards as a foundation for the convergence of building and civil engineering design and geospatial technology.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental membership organization and the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. ISO, which is made up of 165 member countries with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, has published more than 19 500 International Standards covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and health care.
BuildingSMART International (bSi) cooperates with ISO. Specifically it has liaisons with two ISO committees; ISO/TC 59 (Buildings and civil engineering works) and ISO/TC 59/SC 13 (Organization of information about construction works). BuildingSMART's main standard Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), which is a standard for sharing BIM in the construction and facility management industries, was adopted as an official ISO standard in 2013 as ISO 16739:2013.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) develops publicly available geospatial interface standards. OGC Standards enable interoperable location-aware solutions for the Web, wireless and location-based services and mainstream IT. Over the years, the OGC has been building a network of alliance partner organisations, many of whom are standards development organizations in market domains related to the built environment. One of these alliances is with buildingSMART which has an official memorandum of understanding (MOU) with OGC to co-operate. Recently the joint effort has focused on using BIM for Infrastructure and requirements for interoperability between BIM and Geospatial domains.
In 2008/2009 the AECOO-1 Testbed, which was led by the Open Geospatial Consortium and the buildingSMART alliance, looked at streamlining interoperable communications between parties in the conceptual design phase to get an early understanding of the tradeoffs between construction cost and energy efficiency. Major achievements from the AECOO Testbed include delivery of BIM through open web services (OWS) for multi-disciplinary interative design analysis in real time. [George Percivall personal communication]
In 2012 the OGC, BuildingSMART International, ISO TC 211 and ISOTC 59/SC 13 began discussing ways of cooperating to support harmonization. A Civil Summit held in Waltham, Massachusetts (USA) and Abu Dhabi was organised cooperatively by bSi and OGC. Since then several domain working groups (DWGs) have been formed to identify gaps and work toward cross-disciplinary standards. For example, The OGC 3DIM Domain Working Group (DWG) works jointly with ISO TC 59 and buildingSMART to facilitate the definition and development of interface and encoding standards that enable software solutions that allow infrastructure owners, builders, emergency responders, community planners, and the traveling public to better manage and navigate complex built environments.
Geospatial domain working groups (DWGs)
At the ISO/TC 59 Plenary Week Leif Granholm of Trimble gave a quick but comprehensive overview of the work of the three geospatial domain working groups (DWG) in which all three standards groups are involved.
3D Information Management (3DIM) DWG
3DIM, which used to be called CAD/GIS DWG, is involved in some areas of 3D interoperability that are creating the foundation for moving forward in the direction of modeling entire cities. These include CityGML, which with extensions can model most of the above ground features of cities excluding inside buildings, augmented reality markup language (ARML), 3D portrayal, and a first start at a successor to LandXML (which is an orphan right now) called InfraGML, and Indoor Geographic Markup Language (IndoorGML).
One of the most important initiatives is IndoorGML. Leif Granholm and others foresee that this may be the "the next big thing", as important for navigating indoor spaces as GPS was for outdoors. Anyone with a mobile phone with a GPS or a GPS in their car is familiar with how easy it is to navigate anywhere on the planet - as long as it's not in a building.
There are two dimensions to this challenge. The first is finding a technology analogous to GPS for assigning an XYZ location to people and things in buildings. For example, in a hospital it is often urgent to be able to determine instantly where Dr Morgan is and where the nearest "crash cart" is. In a mall it is important for a shopper to know where he or she is at any given instant, where whatever they are looking for is, and how to navigate between the two. Determining where you are in a building is a technical challenge that is still getting a lot of attention from researchers.
The other dimension is context, typically represented by a 3D model of the interior spaces of buildings. This can show context for shoppers to direct them to whatever they are looking for. For a maintenance person, it is also necessary to be able to dissolve walls, ceilings, and floors to expose the building's infrastructure, electrical, fire, water, HVAC, and so on. IndoorGML is intended the provide a standard for modeling indoor spaces. But it is a more complicated problem. Compared to outdoors there is a hundred times more data indoors. Outdoors there are a relatively small number of data providers; national mapping agencies, national space agencies, commercial data providers like Digital Globe, Microsoft, Google, Nokia, TomTom and volunteered data like OpenStreetMap, and so on. Indoors there are likely to be hundreds of thousands of data providers. Just as every firm nowadays develops its own web site, many foresee that every firm will develop its own 3D presence and map of its space, for example, to enhance its attractiveness to customers navigating their way around the mall using a 3D map. IndoorGML provides a standard that will enable this to happen.
The first version of IndoorGML was approved a week ago.
Development of the next version of CityGML is just ramping up. But unlike the standards development process used in the past which relied on sharing Microsoft Word documents and wikis, CityGML3 will be developed using a novel approach that was successfuly used for developing the GeoPackage standard. One of the major innovations from an OGC perspective of the GeoPackage standard development process was achieved by putting the GeoPackage specification out on GitHub, which made it much more accessible to the developer community than if it had been made available in the traditional OGC way.
The other innovation that CityGML3 will benefit from is a modular approach to standards development. CityGML 3 is actually comprised of 10 sub projects rather than one mega project.
Urban Planning DWG
This is a brand new DWG. Its objective is to identify the gaps and to facilitate the development of standards to enable interoperability between smart city applications. Technologies and trends such as Augmented Reality (AR), Smart Cities, Smart Grids, Sensor Webs, the Internet of Things (IoT), LBS (Location Based Services), Facilities Management, navigation (indoor and outdoor) and “Big Data” Analytics all can play important roles in informing urban planners. In these technology domains, open standards can facilitate the development, publication, discovery, and use of information. The OGC Urban Planning DWG intends to discover requirements for open geospatial standards in information systems involved in the planning, design, use, maintenance and governance of publicly accessible spaces. The DWG already has plans for an OGC Smart City Testbed focused on urban resilience and in 2015 an OGC Smart City pilot.
Land and Infrastructure DWG
A major project for this DWG is to develop a standard called InfraGML for exchanging information relating to highways and roads. By way of background, LandXML is a widely used standard supported by almost 800 members in the roads and highway transportation sector. A number of years ago an unsuccessful attempt had been made to make LandXML compliant with the Open Geospatial Consortium's (OGC) Geography Markup Language (GML) standard for geospatial data.
The immediate issue is that LandXML, which is not associated with a recognized international standards organization, has been unsupported for over five years. To address this issue the Land and Infrastructure DWG chartered a LandInfraSWG (Standards Working Group) for LandXML. Its first activity was to reverse-engineer a UML model and documentation (which were lacking) for LandXML 1.2 as a basis for assessing the viability of supporting LandXML as an OGC interoperability standard. A number of deficiencies relative to the OGC baseline were identified. The LandInfraSWG has proposed developing a new standard, dubbed InfraGML, that will encompass a subset of LandXML functionality, be defined by a UML conceptual model, would incorporate GML and most importantly for the future, would be supported by the OGC.
CityGML and IFC common data model
Another very interesting project with important implication for the future of geospatial-BIM convergence is creating a conceptual model of road alignments that will be used in both OGC and buildingSMART standards for roads, railways, tunnels and bridges. This is particularly challenging, but extremely important because it is a first step in developing full lifecyle models for infrastructure from planning through design and construction to operate and maintain. OGC focuses on planning and operation whereas design and construction are buildingSMART’s focus area.
Sanjay Kumar of Geospatial Media in a recent blog highlights a problem that has been in many sectors a festering sore for years, maintaining geographic data. Sanjay was visiting the newly-built headquarters of a large company (I assume Trimble) in Denver last week. Trimble has just completed a new headquarters building using its own geospatially-enabled design and construction technology (aka eating its own dog food) ranging from surveying, laser scanning, machine control to building information modelling (BIM), which resulted not only in efficiency in construction process saving time and cost, but also offered enterprise wide information with regard to the assets and facilities of the building for maintenance and safety functions.
Sanjay contrasted this forward-looking use of geospatial data and technology with the experience of a person invited to visit the new HQ building being denied a visa by the US immigration agency because the agency's GIS is out-of-date and indicated there was no building at the address of Trimble's new HQ.
Based on his recent experience Sanjay goes on to generalize about the 'too little too late' approach with regard to harnessing and utilising the value of geospatial information and tools that characterizes too many geospatially-enabled programs. Despite having gone through the entire process of commoditization and industrialization via initiatives like Google Earth and Bing Maps, spatial enabling of industrial work-flows in the field of engineering and construction, mechanization of agriculture, management of emergency services, and critical utility in defence and national security, geospatial technology gets attention too late in enterprises and governments and often too little effort is made to create high quality frequently updated geospatial information.
As I have blogged about on numerous occasions primarily in the context of utility and communications infrastructure, geospatial data quality including currency is a huge problem in many sectors of the World economy.
At last year's ESRI User Conference, Sam Pitroda, adviser to the previous Prime Minister of India offered a vison of IT enabling a better future for India's 400 million people living below the poverty line. A key part of that vision is creating "a nationwide platform for GIS to [geo]tag every physical asset. With this, we have platform for cyber security, lots of government and public service applications."
That is an incredible vision, but if we aren't able to maintain the currency of the information including location of our infrastructure, geotagging all of our assets will simply exacerbate the existing problem of maintaining geographic data.
Data is perishable, just like meat, vegetables or fruit. The business problem is finding the equivalent of refrigeration so that geographic data maintains its value. A solution to the problem is to treat information about assets as at least as valuable as the assets themselves. For example, I remember visiting a Telefonica Sao Paulo engineering facility several years ago. All the design and construction work at TelefonicaSP is done by outside contractors. My first question is how do you ensure that as-builts are reported accurately and get into the asset database in a timely fashion ? It is very simple - contractors don't get paid until the as-builts are in the database and have been verified. Heathrow is implementing a software system right now based on a similar business process but that is aimed at automatically ensuring as-builts are reported accurately, consistently and in a timely fashion by contractors. As we move toward a new way of planning, designing, building and operating and maintaining infrastructure, this type of solution for maintaining the currency of geolocation data is going to have to become standard in the construction industry.
If we don't treat geospatial data as a valuable, but perishable commodity, as Sanjay concludes, geospatial will remain highly under-valued and under-utilized technology vis-a-vis its potential and offerings.
The European Union has set itself aggressive goals to reduce GHG emissions by 20%, increase renewables share of energy generation to 20%, and to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. The EU seems to be on track for the first two goals, but the third remains a challenge. In 2020, the European consumption of energy is projected to be 25 trillion kWh. By 2040 it is expected to rise to 28 trillion kWh. In terms of primary energy consumption, buildings represent around 40%. In 2009, residential buildings consumed 68% of the total final energy use in buildings. Energy in households is mainly consumed by heating (70%), cooling, hot water, cooking and appliances. Gas is the most common fuel used in buildings.
I have blogged about the European SUNSHINE project before. The SUNSHINE (Smart Urban Services for Higher Energy Efficiency) project is focused on energy efficiency for buildings in an urban environment. It is a European Commission (EC) funded project that started about a year ago and is intended to continue for 36 months.
Energy certification of buildings is a key policy instrument for reducing the energy consumption and improving the energy performance of new and existing buildings. It is expected to help increase demand for high performance buildings by improving the energy performance of the building stock in urban centers. SUNSHINE is intended as a step towards toward such a policy and a way to contribute to improving the energy efficiency of buildings. SUNSHINE is intended to be accessible to Web and mobile platforms. An interesting aspect of the project is is the development of an extended CityGML model for representing urban structures for energy performance modeling.
Three use cases are being considered.
1 Assessment of energy performance
The goal is to supports the automatic large-scale assessment of building energy performance based on publicly available data. The building energy performance models will be used for energy.density mapping ("ECOMaps") . It is intended that an ADE extension to CityGML for 3D building energy modeling will be developed.
2 Heating and cooling forecast and alerts
This focuses on existing buildings that have been selected for energy performance improvement. It relies on localized weather forecasts and other information to forecast heating/cooling requirements to optimize energy performance..
3 Optimization of power consumption by public lighting
The idea is to control illumination so that areas are only illuminated when people are present and the level of natural lighting requires it.
SUNSHINE is based on customizing and integrating other EC-funded smart city applications including
Smart urban services based on open standards to support energy efficiency of buildings
Open data hub for data distribution
eEnvironmental services for advanced applications within INSPIRE
3D CityGML models for solar energy potential assessment and noise mapping & simulation
SUNSHINE will be piloted at nine sites across five countries that include 20 public buildings in Ferrara, 60 technical buildings in Trentino, and public illumination systems in several Italian cities.
At Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva this year as part of the GeoEnergy track, Piergiorgio Cipriano, GI/SDI Project Manager at Sinergis, Italy discussed integrating energy usage data from smart meters with city models using the CityGML standard with the goal of improving the energy performance of buildings on an urban scale.
Location is essential for linking information from different providers and sources. The “ecomap” represents the “energy need” at building level. For this simple map, it is necessary to integrate at the very least the following data in order to predict building energy performance with sufficient precision:
Building height (or number of floors)
Building age and corresponding building envelope stereotypes
Stereotypes for heating/hot-water/ventilation systems
Building modeling for urban energy performance modeling
CityGML has strongly influenced the development of the INSPIRE BU model, both for 2D and for 3D profiles. The concept of a base model defining semantic objects, attributes and relations which are required by most applications has been adopted by INSPIRE BU (as core profiles). The concept of External Reference to link to more domain-specific information systems or to ensure consistency between 2D and 3D representations of buildings has also been reused in INSPIRE BU. The design pattern of Building – BuildingPart aggregation is also included in the INSPIRE applications schemas. Many attributes (e.g. RoofType, YearOfConstruction) have been included in INSPIRE BU profiles.
Many use cases that were considered for INSPIRE BU require a three-dimensional representation of buildings such as a building information model (BIM). Examples are noise emission simulation and mapping, solar radiation computation or the design of an infrastructure project. To allow for that, the building representation in Level of Detail (LoD1 - LoD4) of CityGML has been added to the INSPIRE BU model as a core 3D profile. The whole content of LoD1 - LoD4 including features attached to buildings such as boundaries, openings, rooms are the base of the extended 3D profile.
For large scale energy performance at the urban level, detailed interior elements of each building are not required. It is possible to work at a simple Level of Detail 3 (LOD3) and include elements like roofs, envelope walls, and windows. This can also be used to make a comparison with other data sources such as aerial thermal images.
Energy usage data exchange
Green Button implements the common-sense idea that electricity customers should be able to securely download their own easy-to-understand energy usage captured by their smart meter. Not only does it provide the retail customer with access to their usage data , it also provides the ability to authorize a third party service provider to access his or her energy usage data directly. This architecture presents a consistent mechanism for authorized exchange of energy usage information.
To integrate electric power usage information from smart meters into SUNSHINE, the GreenButton specification defined by the NAESD (North American Energy Standards Board) was identified as the preferred implementation option for the meter data exchange protocol to be used in Sunshine. IEC 61968-9 was judged to be much more complicated and less supported in terms of practical examples and software tools.
Open, standards-based foundation for urban energy performance analysis
Together INSPIRE BU, CityGML with the energy performance ADE, and the Green Button specification for energy usage data provide an open, standards-based foundation for energy performance analysis for urban environments.
electricity including transmission, distribution, and street lighting
water including transmission and distribution
wastewater including storm, road, sanitary, and combined
The source databases are maintained by the respective owners, water and electricity by the Water and Electricity Authority, telecommunications by Batelco, and wastewater by the Ministry of Works. iDSS has several layers of security that determine who can see what, and who can update what.
Anyone proposing to add to or make a change to underground infrastructure is required to complete a Proposal Request, essentially a building permit. The request is forwarded electronically to all of the participating utilities, who are required to review and respond to the request within three days.
Developing a national 3D data model
At the GEO Business 2014 conference in London, Debbie Wilson, Senior Information Architect at the Ordnance Survey in the UK, presented an overview of the development of a comprehensive national 3D city model for Bahrain that she designed in less than six months under the sponsorship of the Survey and Land Registration Bureau of the Kingdom of Bahrain (SLRB). The goal is to develop a national 3D data model that supports a broad range of objectives including topographic mapping, land administration, hydrographic survey, utilities, infrastructure, local governance and spatial planning, agriculture, aquaculture, and environment. Currently it does not include the inside of buildings or other structures.
Specifically the national 3D data model is intended to support SLRB strategic initiatives
3D data capture
It is intended to promote better government data sharing as a key underpinning for economic development. This is a public-private partner (PPP) initiative involving municipalities, the Ministry of Works, and utilities.
Debbie's approach was to use existing standards (ISO, OGC, INSPIRE, industry-specific) as much as possible and to extend them only as required to meet the objectives of the SLRB. The basic model is CityGML with the CityGML utility extension ( Application Domain Extensions or ADE) for underground utilities. In addition Debbie designed a specific ADE for Bahrain's national model called the Bahrain CityGML ADE which added floors and sub-units for high-rise buildings and some other elements for land administration. The 3D model she developed ultimately included 236 feature classes and supports Level of Detail (LoD) 3.
Currently it does not support building information models (BIM), but the SLRB is interested in extending the model to support BIM in the future.
A prototype implementation of the Bahrain National Data Model was developed on Oracle Spatial. Data was imported from a variety of sources including the Ministry of Public Works, municipalities and utilities. The data model and interface to the database are intended to be vendor neutral. Demonstration applications using the data base were developed using ESRI ArcScene and CityEngine, Bentley Map and Google Maps.
Debbie credits open standards as a key factor in enabling this comprehensive national data model to be developed so rapidly, in under six months. Furthermore the implementation only required two months. The advantages that Debbie found from using open standards include
Consistent framework enabling different domains to come together to develop a harmonized data model
Provides a long-term foundation for data maintenance and exchange
Platform independent allowing implementation using wide range of technologies
Comprehensive 3D National Data Model developed in 6 months
Prototyping team implemented model for all 236 features in Oracle database and migrated data within 2 months
SLRB team developed series of demonstrations using key stakeholder applications withi 3 days
SLRB and stakeholders can now start harnessing the power of their data to deliver new innovative services
Open national data model including utilities
This is an important step in developing a comprehensive data model and especially an open data model for underground utilities that I hope the smart cities community adopts and builds on. I would recommend that any organization, municipal, regional, or national that is developing or intends to develop a national data model for modeling national infrastructure take a serious look at this open model and to consider using it as a reference for their own model.