Infrastructure Data Workflow and best practice:- field-to-BIM-to-field

Our Survey Director, Martin Penney attended the illuminating Leica & Autodesk Workshop in Milton Keynes

A group oFirst imagef Survey4BIM specialists gathered for open and frank discussions on civils data requirements and interoperability at the event organised by Messrs King (Leica) & Lawton (Skanska). The workshop’s content included lots of interesting data and gave guests the opportunity to exchange strong, productive and thought provoking technical opinions. Ruthless questioning from the floor exposed the apparent shortcomings of the industry workflow, due to disconnect between design requirements and output, through to practical building and data needs.

Pragmatic and informative view of 3D data

Autodesk’s Civil 3D expert Peter Ingels presented his refreshingly pragmatic and optimistic viewpoint of multi-various data collection, manipulation and interoperability considerations of Civils 3D, which took us on a well-defined journey across platforms, formats and practical tips, tricks and pitfalls.

Second images

Leica’s Richard Ostridge, Senior Application Engineer a knowledgeable Engineer from Lancashire, both gave informative accounts of the new Leica design philosophy. Trying to reduce instrumentation frills and luxuries to concentrate on the core user experience, real-time available 3D data and transfer, and the ability to visualise and interact on screen as much as possible.

The look and feel was more Android than traditional Leica list menus, and even Viva visual basic icons, which is new and, I think, intuitive. This was conveniently showcased by the new Multi-Station (MS) which pretty much does everything and looks a reasonable jack-of-all-trades for those who need that facility and bank offshore.

Looking under the bonnet
Looking at the Leica work system, in order to marry with the reliable real-time 3D data mantra, all imported data to Third imagethe MS is converted to some undefined degree to the Leica controlled database. But sufficient, however, for all import data to be considered visual references only – including dxf files.

The push was uncompromisingly for users to adopt the “one-true” bridging software “Infinity”, which comes at an undisclosed price and will replace LGO, although this will be supported for some time for legacy users. The alternative and currently traditional methods were glossed over. Admittedly slick, the workflow proves that both the well-structured MX Genio and xml formats are very much alive and kicking, Leica adopting their own Hexagon version, HeXml, of LandXml.

So what were the headlines?

Interoperability, standards, pre-planning and multiple use data sets are critical to all industry workflow and efficiency. Exporting and delivering data sets is risky business, so be sure to pin down exactly what is required in advance and don’t forget those pkt files which don’t e Transmit.

The suggested smart move is for users to migrate workflow towards style templates to allow multi-client use of data sets, and therefore a move away from the more limited traditional format file methodology.

Joined up thinking required
There appears to be an overwhelming need for some simple joined-up thinking with respect to data requirements – from design, data collection and as-builts, through to build requirements on the ground and further ahead, future asset management.

Wearing my Survey4BIM hat, the day highlighted once again the need for a collaborative industry voice to help draw out these practical issues, to help the Geo-Community and industry move forwards.

If you would like to be part of this movement please register your interest using the following link to the BIM Task Group website and log your details. We are looking for more participants Survey4BIM

Final image

So, to conclude, it was a thoroughly interesting day that raised positive questions on the practical requirements for interoperable 3D data going forward. Thank you and well done all concerned.