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How can BIM benefits be attained retrospectively for existing asset data?

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With the Level 2 BIM mandate imminent we’ve never been more focused as an industry on capturing and managing structured data throughout the lifecycle of our built assets. But what about the information we already have?

Is this investment doomed to be written off or could it be, with the right help and maybe a little technology, a rich source of asset information? Is it possible to breathe new life into existing information and bridge the gap between drawings and information-rich models? We think it is.

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2nd HyDrone sold at the show

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At the 36th Oceanology International held in the London Excel venue, Ohmex presented the new HyDrone ASV with its integrated mission control box. The same ASV (Autonomous Surface Vessel) control box was demonstrated live at the show with the larger Echoboat designed for oceanographic applications.

The demonstration held in the adjacent London Docklands showed the complete sequence of mission planning software, vessel launch/deployment, hydrographic data acquisition, live tracking and finally vessel recovery with data retrieval.

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Paula Scher’s insanely detailed US maps elevate data viz to fine art

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If you were to ask Paula Scher, the famed graphic designer, if there’s something she’s trying to say with the maps she’s spent the last couple of decades painting, she wouldn’t have much of an answer for you. Design might be about answers, but art is about questions. And right now, Scher, despite her better-known work as a partner at Pentagram, is fully embracing her role as an artist. In a recently opened exhibition titled U.S.Aat Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in New York City, Scher is showing a new set of her large-scale painted maps. Each of the paintings depicts a map of the United States overlaid with layers of information. Names of states and cities are painted amongst bright swirls of data: median house prices, flight paths, temperatures, zip codes, demographics, and populations.

The maps aren’t infographics, per se, though they are filled with information. They read like pages out of a schizophrenic atlas. “They’re not paintings of information, they’re sensibilities,” Scher says. “Do you get what I’m saying?” Sort of, I tell her. “They’re abstract expressionist information,” she clarifies. “It’s really more a spirit of the information.”

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Open BIM v Closed BIM

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The construction design industry is in the midst of a transition, moving from traditional 2D design methods to a more virtual 3D design solution which as we all know by now is known as BIM (building information modelling). Due to pressure from customers, from the public, and increasingly, private sector BIM is gaining traction in the AEC industry as the preferred pre-construction planning, construction management and post-construction facilities management tool.

Whilst many firms have already started the transition to this ‘intelligent’ model-based process, the ‘real’ potential of BIM can only be achieved by open exchange of design and non-design project information amongst the key project stakeholders: architects, structural engineers, MEP design consultants, MEP engineers, and other trade subcontractors. Without a shared or collaborative approach, the continuation of design silo’s with 3D tools will only exacerbate the design problem of timescale and costs.

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Open Data reveals Roman Roads

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David Rateledge, former head of Lancashire County Council’s GIS unit, has been spending his retirement looking for evidence of roman roads in the county and has recently discovered the road which connected Ribchester and Catterall.

He started his investigations several years ago, using Environment Agency LiDAR in the form of JPG picture files, but then progressed to using grid data. He imports the bare earth and surface LiDAR data into Open GIS software package QGIS and experiments to find the best hill-shading angle. An illumination angle perpendicular to the road alignment casts visible shadows from the road embankment (known as the agger) rendering it visible in the image as it passes in a straight line across several fields.

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