What is BIM data

Building information modeling (BIM) is the process of creating and managing 3D, 4D, and 5D information for a construction project across multiple disciplines. ArcGIS Pro supports BIM design files from Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) formatted files and Autodesk Revit (RVT) as ArcGIS BIM file workspaces.

Supported BIM files

ArcGIS Pro supports Revit file versions 2016–2022. All files are first updated to the latest supported version in memory while loading. Updating your Revit files to the latest version can improve performance when loading Revit files.

ArcGIS Pro supports the building elements of IFC files IFC2x3 and IFC4.

Attempting to use unsupported BIM file versions will invoke the error message: Unsupported BIM file.

BIM data positioning

BIM data is a common source of GIS content, but before it can be used in ArcGIS Pro, the data must have an assigned coordinate system. BIM files are required to have a valid Esri coordinate system (PRJ file), and may require an optional coordinate transformation information (WLD) file to identify how the coordinates in the BIM data should be positioned on the earth's surface. To validate the geospatial position of any BIM file you can review the Validate Position option of the BIM File Properties dialog box opened from the Properties command on the context menu in the Catalog pane.

BIM file workspaces in ArcGIS Pro

BIM design files are read directly as native ArcGIS feature data in ArcGIS Pro. ArcGIS Pro can work with the BIM data as it would with any other read-only file-based GIS data source. The geometry and parameters of elements in BIM files are used in ArcGIS Pro as a read-only GIS data source of point, polyline, polygon, and multipatch feature classes. This ArcGIS interpretation of the BIM data can then be used by all the interfaces and capabilities of ArcGIS Pro that support ArcGIS feature classes.

The BIM file workspace provides a geodatabase structure and organization to a BIM file. The BIM file workspace, its datasets, and feature classes are valid data sources for feature layers in maps and scenes, and are valid read-only inputs to geoprocessing tools.

When a BIM file workspace is added to an ArcGIS Pro scene, it is added as a special building layer and a group layer.

BIM files as a BIM file workspace

An IFC or RVT file is interpreted by ArcGIS Pro as a single ArcGIS workspace containing multiple datasets. Only the graphic elements that belong to the BIM file's main model are used. ArcGIS Pro does not attempt to access linked BIM models. The BIM File To Geodatabase geoprocessing tool can be used to join multiple BIM files together into a single geodatabase dataset.

Diagram comparing a BIM file organization and the BIM file workspace

BIM file workspace feature datasets for RVT and IFC files

BIM design files are interpreted by ArcGIS Pro as a single ArcGIS workspace containing multiple datasets of feature classes. These datasets are named after common industry construction disciplines. BIM software organizes its categories of elements into these construction views by convention. ArcGIS Pro has adopted these construction discipline names as feature dataset names for the BIM file workspace. The element categories in BIM files are used as feature class definitions that are in turn organized within the discipline datasets according to the same construction discipline conventions.

BIM file workspace feature classes for BIM files

ArcGIS Pro generates a feature class for each of the construction categories defined in a Revit file or IFC file. In Autodesk Revit software, all of the Revit elements used to model structures are organized into these predefined categories. IFC file categories are organized to conform to these category names where applicable. All the variations of Revit elements, known as families in Revit, are included in these more general categories, and their family names are represented as feature attribute field values. Unique IFC categories are added in the appropriate BIM file workspace discipline.

BIM element parameters as attribute fields for BIM files

BIM elements contain many descriptive attributes and design parameters in addition to their geometry. ArcGIS Pro includes these parameters as feature class attributes. ArcGIS Pro field names cannot begin with a number, but BIM parameter names can. If the name of a BIM parameter begins with a number, ArcGIS Pro will prefix the field name with the letter t.

Floor plan feature classes for BIM files

The Floorplan dataset of a BIM file workspace includes a set of derived feature classes useful for indoor mapping applications where 2.5D representations of the building are more useful than the full 3D versions of elements. The contents of this BIM file workspace feature dataset include Floorplan_Polygon, Floorplan_Polyline, Footprint (polygon), and PointsOfInterest (point) feature classes. Support for IFC files will not initially include these floor plan feature classes.

ExteriorShell feature class for BIM files

Within the Architectural dataset of a BIM file workspace, there is a derived feature class named ExteriorShell. The ExteriorShell feature class is created by ArcGIS Pro from a collection of BIM elements most likely to depict the outside shell of the structure modeled in the BIM file. This special ExteriorShell feature class is a single multipatch feature used as the default visual overview representation of the building when an ArcGIS building layer or building scene layer is added in ArcGIS Pro or other applications that support the building scene layer, such as the web scene viewer. The ExteriorShell feature class is used as the overview when a building layer is shared as a building scene layer.

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