Work with BIM content in a geodatabase

Data in ArcGIS can be organized in geodatabases as a system of record for its geospatial information. Building information modeling (BIM) content can be represented in a geodatabase, allowing you to take advantage of its many capabilities. These capabilities include maintenance, connecting buildings with other document management systems, using relationship classes, and improving visualization by persisting the texture information of the BIM files.

In construction projects, the various disciplines—such as structural, piping, and architectural—are executed at different times and the building information captured is temporally staggered.

Using a geodatabase, you can merge the individual disciplines from multiple Revit files into one building. You can combine multiple buildings into one campus. Individual buildings can be identified using a unique name, so you can search for assets within a specific building or set of buildings. After the buildings are stored in a geodatabase, you can maintain and update the attributes or geometry. The 3D assets from BIM files are stored in multipatch feature classes in a building dataset.

If the BIM file contains textures, the multipatch feature class will maintain the textures. Textures give the building a more realistic appearance when combined with other elements in a scene such as vegetation or street furniture. You can also change the symbology to only show colors.

Feature classes allow you to connect attributes to other tables. For example, you can create a relationship class to connect a table in your document management system to assets in you building dataset.

Convert a BIM file workspace to a geodatabase

Building information is captured in many file formats, such as Revit and Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). You can use a Revit file directly in ArcGIS as a BIM file workspace. For IFC, you need to use Data Interoperability tools to convert the building information to the schema of a building dataset.

Building information in ArcGIS follows a specific schema that is defined as a building feature dataset.

After creating a building feature dataset, you can append other disciplines or buildings using a unique identifier. In this way, you can maintain your building information in ArcGIS by logically grouping buildings into a campus.

To convert a BIM file to a geodatabase, complete the following steps

  1. Open the BIM File to Geodatabase geoprocessing tool.
  2. For Input BIM File Workspace, browse to and select the input file.
  3. For Output Geodatabase, browse to and select the geodatabase.
  4. In Dataset, provide a name.
  5. Optionally, set a Spatial Reference value.
  6. Click Run.

You can convert the BIM file workspace to a file geodatabase or enterprise geodatabase. Depending on your workflow and how you plan to work with building information across the platform, an enterprise geodatabase may be a better choice. For example, if you are sharing a building scene layer to maintain a building and visualize it in a web scene, the data doesn’t need to be duplicated in the enterprise data store if it is to an enterprise geodatabase.

After converting the data to a geodatabase, you can create a building layer using the Make Building Layer geoprocessing tool. The building layer can be added to a scene and shared as a building scene layer.

Related topics