BIM data 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. These disciplines include architectural, structural, electrical, mechanical, piping, and infrastructure. The entire BIM file workspace or individual feature classes can be added to an ArcGIS Pro map or scene. These feature classes are expressed as individual feature layers like other GIS data sources, or in the case of the entire BIM file workspace, as a special ArcGIS Pro building layer.

The feature classes in a BIM file workspace from Revit files have a one-to-one correlation with Revit software 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.

The resulting feature classes of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) files included in the BIM file workspace include the IFC categories relating to building structures. IFC categories conform to the same categories and construction disciplines as the Revit-based BIM file workspace data. In some cases, a general IFC category, such as IfcSlabs, will be divided into multiple BIM file workspace feature classes based on their different functions. Initial support for IFC files does not include the floor plan information.

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

ArcGIS Pro layers from BIM data

The default symbology of BIM file-sourced feature layers includes display properties of color and textures 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 position 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 authored using the coordinates of the chosen global coordinate system must be georeferenced to reposition the data correctly in ArcGIS Pro. The process of georeferencing BIM data persists the modified location for all uses of the data in ArcGIS by storing the coordinate offset information in a WLD3 file.

Upgrade the Revit file version in ArcGIS Pro

When you add any part of a BIM file, it takes time to interpret the file. You can track the progress through the notifications that appear when the BIM file has started loading and when it has completed.

ArcGIS Pro converts the contents of the Revit file to conform to the newest file format 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, click the upgrade to latest supported version button Upgrade file version on the general tab of the BIM file properties dialog box initiated from a right-click of the properties option in the Catalog pane.

Permanently upgrade the version format of an


Choosing to upgrade to the latest supported version permanently changes the file, and it cannot be undone.

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 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 within a scene. 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.

Add the entire BIM file workspace

Adding the entire BIM file workspace representing the Revit or IFC 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. Initial support for IFC files does not include the floor plan information. Feature data for bridges in Revit may be included in both the Structural and Infrastructure discipline layers. Various infrastructure layers such as railways are included in the infrastructure discipline. By default, the ExteriorShell feature layer, which represents the entire structure as a single feature, is visible by default. The building discipline layers containing the individual BIM building element categories as feature layers are hidden by default. You will need to turn on these discipline layers to see all of the content.

Building layer with expanded feature layer

The feature layers are organized within the discipline layers based on industry convention. The feature layers themselves may also be symbolized based on the types of systems included.

Discipline layers

You can access the context menu of the discipline layers by right-clicking them. These commands allow you to access capabilities specific to the collection of feature layers within the discipline. Add Data, 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 BIM file), or if the building layer is based on a geodatabase, it must be from the same geodatabase dataset. You can rename and remove building discipline layers, but you cannot add a new one.

Discipline layer context menu

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 those layers. For example, you can remove feature layers from a building layer using the Remove command by right-clicking a BIM feature layer.

You can move feature layers between discipline layers by dragging them between discipline layers within the building layer.

Access BIM 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 or the Autodesk Construction Cloud. You can download CAD and BIM design files, and you can add them to a map or scene. When design files such as DWG, RVT, or IFC 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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