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About the tools used for the SouthWest EcoDistrict of Washington DC

The Onuma System and 4D Vis are web based tools for working with Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Geographic Information System (GIS) data. Both systems are able to process massive amounts of data and graphics, allowing users to view and make decisions directly through the web interface. This approach to design decision making drastically reduces paper and allows one to see the most current data in real time as teams work on the project.

Onuma System (BIM+GIS)

The Onuma System is a Cloud Computing based BIM Model Server and BIM Editor. Projects designed within the Onuma System are consistently georeferenced, interoperable and rules-based. The System uses GIS data from Google Maps and ArcGIS to locate buildings and view site related information such as property lines and building footprints. Within the system, GIS information is used as backgrounds and as editable data and graphics, depending on the user’s need. For example, property line data from ArcGIS can be used in the Onuma System to place buildings and quickly create multistory BIM models or used as a background for sketching and pattern seeking.

Users log in and view projects in 2D, 3D and report formats. Users can have their own workspace and projects to edit but can also view and/or edit any project shared with the group or with them specifically. With this capability, multiple users and multiple teams can create and modify schemes together. The Onuma System allows large, interdisciplinary teams to collaborate across the internet, in real time. Because of the systems embedded data and rules-based systems,  LEED checklists, costs, energy use and many other attributes are automatically configured or populated within the system, minimizing data entry and manual entry error.

The Onuma System runs on PCs, Macs or Linux with web browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. The system’s 2D Graphical User Interface uses Adobe Flash, which is preinstalled on most typical PCs, minimizing installation of additional software. Optionally, 3D viewing is possible with the free Google Earth plug in within the system.

The Onuma System is interoperable and connects to many other tools through open standards and web services. As projects are built in the system they are immediately accessible in tools such as Google Earth, Google SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, Graphisoft Archicad, Ecotect, and Excel. Links to other BIM applications through IFC is also possible. Time based data entered in the Onuma System is made visible in 4D Vis or Google Earth as buildings and site elements are referenced from the Onuma System.

PBS&J 4D Vis (GIS)

The 4D Vis web based interface reads data layers from an ArcGIS Server running on the PBS&J webserver. GIS data is assembled from a variety of sources, catalogued and made accessible from ArcGIS to 4D Vis. In addition to GIS data, other sources of information such as the Autocad files of the transportation study as well as imagery and maps can be placed in ArcGIS server and made accessible in 4D Vis. Management of GIS data uses ESRI tools on the desktop. Once the data is analyzed and compiled it is made accessible to 4D Vis from ArcGIS Server for the web user. 4D Vis also pulls in BIM data live from the Onuma System Model Server. As the design is developed in the Onuma System the data is accessible in real time from within the Onuma System or in the GIS context of 4D Vis.

One of the strengths of 4D Vis is that it allows non-technical users to view GIS data. 4D Vis includes basic markup tools that can create graphic overlays, text annotations and links within 4D Vis. The process for embedding user markups from 4D Vis back into ArcGIS is for the administrator to evaluate the markups and to create new layers, that are then made accessible to all participants. This allows users the ability to quickly annotate GIS layers on the web, while retaining the integrity of the underlying data.

Onuma System + PBS&J 4D Vis

The Onuma System and PBS&J 4D Vis were used on the Army's Fort Belvoir project to support BIM and GIS integration. There is no clear cut boundary between the tools since they both work with building data as well as GIS data. Depending on the type of use and the user, the project data can be accessed from both tools.

Connections to other data and tools through open standards coupled with the fluidity of both the Onuma System and 4D Vis supports many  ways to work with information. For the SouthWest EcoDistrict the two tools work in tandem, linking to each other and processing data input and output from many sources. This integration allows many participants, from viewers to editors, to work in parallel on project data. This flexibility allows individual tasks to be described in step-by-step workflows however, there is no linear path to any of the workflows described above.

Some of the Tools That Can be Used

  • Paper and Pencil - Yes, we still encourage ideas to flow onto paper and pencil

  • BIM
    • Archicad
    • Bentley
    • DDS
    • DProfiler
    • DRofus
    • Revit
    • Navis Works
    • Onuma System
    • Solibri
    • Tekla
    • Trelligence

  • Energy
    • Energy Plus
    • Ecotect
    • IES
    • Green Building Studio

  • 3D
    • SketchUp
    • 3DS
    • Rhino

  • 2D
    • Autocad

  • GIS
    • ESRI
    • ArcGIS
    • 3D Analyst
    • Google Earth

  • Spreadsheets
    • Excel
    • Open Office
    • Google Docs

  • Graphics
    • Powerpoint
    • Illustrator
    • Photoshop
    • In Design

  • FM and Lifecycle
    • Archibus
    • Assett Works
    • Ecodomus
    • Maximo
    • TMA

  • Communication & Project Management
    • Skype
    • GoToMeeting
    • Onuma eBoard
    • Basecamp

This is not a comprehensive list. Other tools are encouraged.

2010-10-25 21:52:08
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