BIM files as ArcGIS Pro layers

ArcGIS Pro reads building information modeling (BIM) files as an ArcGIS workspace of feature classes, called a BIM file workspace. The BIM file workspace is organized into feature datasets named after conventional construction disciplines. When this information is added to an ArcGIS Pro map or scene, these feature classes are expressed as individual feature layers like other GIS data sources, or as a special ArcGIS Pro building layer. In the case of a Revit file, the feature classes included in the BIM file workspace have a one-to-one correlation with Revit categories. An additional set of derived feature classes is included in the Floorplan dataset of the BIM file workspace. The Floorplan dataset includes point, polyline, and polygon feature classes, which are useful in indoor mapping applications.

All the feature classes included in the BIM file workspace representation of a Revit file are standard, read-only feature classes. They are valid inputs for ArcGIS Pro tools as layers, as well as geoprocessing models, tools, and scripts

ArcGIS Pro layers from BIM data

Feature classes from BIM files are accessible as standard, read-only point, polyline, polygon, and multipatch feature classes. The default symbology of BIM file-sourced feature layers uses the display properties of color and materials from the BIM file. You can modify the symbology of the BIM-sourced feature layers using symbology tools in ArcGIS Pro. The geometry of features in the resulting multipatch feature classes is based on the 3D geometry of the element from the BIM file.

The coordinates of the feature geometry that ultimately positions the features in an ArcGIS Pro map or scene are established as a combination of the coordinates of the elements in the BIM file, optional offset information from an Esri world file (.wld3), and a required companion Esri coordinate system definition file (.prj). BIM files may or may not be drawn to a known coordinate system. A BIM file that contains real-world coordinates still requires a .prj file to identify that coordinate system. BIM files that are not drawn to a well-defined coordinate system need to be georeferenced to position the data correctly in ArcGIS Pro. The result of georeferencing is the creation of a coordinate offset .wld3 file.

Upgrade the Revit file version in ArcGIS Pro

Adding any part of a Revit file takes time. You can track the progress through the notifications that appear when the BIM file has started loading and when it has completed.

ArcGIS Pro upgrades a Revit file in memory before it reads the contents. To avoid this step each time you open an existing Revit file, you can save the .rvt file as the most recent Revit file version that ArcGIS Pro supports. To upgrade to the latest version, right-click the .rvt file in the catalog view or Catalog pane and click Upgrade to Latest Version.


Choosing to upgrade a Revit file to the latest verison of Revit permanently changes the file, and it cannot be undone.

Upgrade to Latest Version option in the Catalog pane

Opening an .rvt file in Autodesk Revit software that has been upgraded to the latest version in ArcGIS Pro produces a message that it was last saved by an application other than Autodesk Revit.

Add BIM data to ArcGIS Pro

You can use any of the standard methods to add BIM file content to a map, scene, or geoprocessing tool. These methods include the Add Data button on the Map tab of the main ArcGIS Pro ribbon, dragging items from the Catalog pane and catalog view, and browsing for input in valid geoprocessing tools.

Add the BIM file workspace

Adding the entire BIM file workspace representing the Revit file to an ArcGIS Pro scene creates an ArcGIS Pro building layer and a standard ArcGIS Pro group layer containing the feature layers for the feature classes in the Floorplan dataset. By default, the ExteriorShell feature layer, which represents the entire structure as a single feature, is visible. The building discipline layers containing the individual BIM building element categories as feature layers are hidden by default.

Add individual BIM feature classes or discipline datasets

Adding one or more individual feature classes or datasets from a BIM file workspace creates individual ArcGIS Pro feature layers. Selecting individual feature classes is the recommended method for purposes that don't require or benefit from the ArcGIS Pro building layer. The single standard feature layer is generated to express the selected feature class data. To create an ArcGIS Pro building layer from selected feature classes, add the entire BIM file workspace and remove unwanted layers, or consider workflows that incorporate the Make Building Layer geoprocessing tool.

Disciplines layers

You can access the context menu of the discipline layers by right-clicking them. These menu items allow you to access capabilities specific to the collection of feature layers within the discipline. Using the Add Data option for example, allows you to add a feature class as a feature layer to the specific discipline layer. Feature layers added to a building layer must be from the same BIM file workspace (same Revit file), or if the building layer is based on a geodatabase, it must be from the same geodatabase dataset. You can remove building discipline layers, but you cannot add a new one.

Discipline layer menu options

Feature layers in a building layer

You can access the context menu of BIM feature layers by right-clicking them, and, as with other feature layers, perform various actions on that layer. For example, you can remove feature layers from a building layer using the Remove option on the BIM feature layer. You can move feature layers between discipline layers by dragging them to the new layer.

Access Revit data from cloud connections

Online CAD and BIM data can be discovered and accessed in ArcGIS Pro through a BIM Cloud Connection. The BIM Cloud Connection button New BIM Cloud Connection provides a connection to your online BIM cloud storage repository, such as Autodesk BIM 360. You can download CAD and BIM design files, and you can add them to a map or scene. When design files such as .rvt files are added from a BIM Cloud Connection to ArcGIS Pro, you can check for the most recent version of the added files and optionally update the ArcGIS Pro feature layers based on those versions.

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