Convergence is about breaking down islands of information based on traditional disciplines or professional categories or those created by the traditional organization of the architecture, engineering, construction, transportation, and utility and telecommunications industries. The convergence of architectural and engineering design, location, and 3D visualization and simulation technologies developed is resulting in a framework for interoperability across the lifecycle of building and infrastructure including design, construction, and operation and maintenance. The business drivers for this transformative technology advance are productivity and efficiency in the construction and facilities management industry, and improving the performance of facilities over their full life-cycle. The goal is seamless access to architectural, engineering design, and geospatial data inside, outside, and under a facility.
But convergence also means that during the post-construction phase of a facility there will be important benefits for egovernment. Convergence will enable governments to create a simulated urban environment that will have important implications for citizen involvement, urban planning, emergency planning, and first response. For example, first responders, instead of entering an emergency situation with no or severely limited information about the facility, will be able to have immediate and seamless access to a simulation of an urban environment including inside, outside, and underneath urban structures to enable them to deal safely and effectively with emergency situations.
The data that is required to simulate man-made structures more often then not already exists in precision digital form, as architectural plans in the form of engineering and architectural data files such as CAD drawings. Increasingly smarter design data is bring captured in the form of building information models (BIM) or network infrastructure models. Integrating precision architectural and engineering data with 2D and 3D locational data allows us to deliver a precise synthetic environment that can be used to simulate the inside (utilities, HVAC systems, furniture, elevators, walls, doors, windows, and structural details), outside (aerial utilities, full city blocks in 3D detail, road access), and under (underground water, wastewater, gas, power, and telecommunications systems) of an urban environment and make this available in a seamless web-based environment.
Today’s 3D visualization, simulation, and gaming technology enable this data to be integrated into an easy-to-use, interactive model that allows the user to visualize and analyze all aspects of the urban environment. This can be achieved most easily if the facility design is intelligent, for example BIM which represents different classes of objects such as skeletal structure, walls, floors and ceilings, plumbing, heating and ventilation, telecommunications and utility networks, and terrain, but it is also feasible using existing CAD design data and even paper drawings. This means that when a first responder enters a facility to deal with an emergency situation, he or she will have at his or her finger tips all of the relevant precision architectural, engineering, and geospatial data inside, outside, and under that facility.
In summary, the integration of building information models (BIM), CAD, and geospatial technology with 3D visualization and simulation technologies is breaking down traditional islands of information and technology and this has important implications for the entire lifecycle of buildings and facilities. It will also dramatically impact areas of egovernment benefitting from a cross-disciplinary approach such as urban planning and development, emergency planning, and emergency response.
We are proposing a panel discussion with participants from several municipal governments who are leading in the area of convergence and its implications for governments to present what they see as their key business drivers that are motivating their cities to embark on this project.
Geoff is a technology evangelist at Autodesk. His particular interests include streamlining the infrastructure management workflow at utilities, telecommunications firms and local government, open source geospatial and Web 2.0 and its impact on infrastructure management, and the convergence of architectural, engineering, geospatial, and 3D simulation and its implications for egovernment including citizen involvement, urban planning, emergency planning and first response. Geoff came to Autodesk from MCI VISION* Solutions where he was Director of Product Development. VISION* Solutions is credited with pioneering RDBMS-based spatial data management, CAD/GIS integration, and UML modeling in the utility, communications, and public works industries. He has more than 10 years experience developing enterprise geospatial solutions for the utilities, communications, and public works industries. Geoff is a frequent speaker at geospatial events around the world including OSCON, GITA (US, Australia, Japan), GeoBrazil, GeoTec, Location Intelligence, MapIndia, GIS in the Rockies, World Map Forum, Map Middle East, and MapAsia and recently received two Speaker Excellence Awards at GITA 2007.