October 02, 2009


The downside of online shopping. I needed an odd sized bolt made of brass for my old sailboat and it was nowhere to be found in the local hardware stores. Easy enough to pay a little extra for shipping to save me the trouble of driving all over town. I quickly found a couple different vendors and chose the one that looked like they were really doing e-business and pushed the button and waited for the confirmation. Two phone calls and three, “ we shipped it yesterday emails”, still no bolt after over a month. Sometimes grabbing hold of the real thing and walking it to the register is the best way to go. Until e-business and boat hardware inventory systems are more interoperable… I’m off to the hardware and marine supply stores to find, and grab a 8 ½ inch quarter-twenty brass carriage bolt and matching wing nut that I can put in a bag, buy, take home and fix to my boat. …but wait I see another confirmation in my inbox.

Although, far from being an integrated system, I still have a need to get data from REVIT into ArcGIS. Here is the path I used last time I did this to create features in ArcGIS. You may find other paths to get there. Working with one DXF file exported from REVIT. The resultant AutoCAD file contained 3D entities that ArcGIS doesn’t support (Polymeshes). However, exploding them with the AutoCAD EXPLODE command did create 3D Faces that are supported by ArcGIS. From REVIT I can also export data to a 3D Studio file (.3DS). I could have used ArcGIS at this point to bring the entire 3DS file in as single 3D symbol in ArcScene or ArcGlobe, but I wanted to get the individual building parts as separate multipatch features. I imported the .3DS file into plain AutoCAD, which generates 3D face entities directly, the type of 3D CAD entities ArcGIS does support as multipatch features. The resultant AutoCAD file could then be used in ArcGIS.
Yet another option if you are confronted with AutoCAD SOLIDS entities exported from REVIT is to use the AutoCAD 3DSOUT command to export the resultant AutoCAD SOLIDS out of AutoCAD into a .3DS file and then import them back in. The result again is 3DFace entities. (If your version of AutoCAD doesn't have the 3DSOUT command, check here.)

To make the drawings even more usable I created separate muiltipatch feature classes using ArcGIS for AutoCAD for each different building part that were easily destinquished based on their AutoCAD Layer. Now when I add the data from either of the two AutoCAD files in ArcGIS I get 3D multipatch feature layers that correspond to the different building parts. I can also use the existing CAD georeferencing tools of ArcMap to position my building in geographic space, and migrate the data into a geodatabase if needed.


Blogger Dale said...

Hi Don,

I'm aware of some folks going from Revit to IFC, and then using the Data Interoperability Extension to bring the IFC into ArcGIS. This has the advantage of bringing over attribution and keeping a richer semantic model, if that is what was desired. Many ways to skin the cat(fish?)!


3:31 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

I did get a UPS tracking number just today for my bolt.

...And Dale is right the best way to utilize REVIT data, ArchiCAD or Bentley BIM data is through IFC's and the ArcGIS Data Interoperability. I was proposing another way... that does not retain any attributes.


3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Mr Don,

I have a question about BIM-GIS integration. I already have an IFC file which I convert from revit. then i import into arcMap through ESRI's data interoperability extension. The building or feature that i need can export successfully, but the problem is, the size is too big, too far from the actual place and its not overlay with existing shapefile that I already export in ArcMap. When I open the IFC files and .shp in arcScene, I can see the building is weird..Can you tell me, what is the major problem? and tell me what to do...

9:31 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

You might find these recent video's regarding BIM IFC Conversion and Georeferencing useful. The short answer is that like all GIS data there has to be correct information for the coordinates and the units of the data. IFC is a data format that doesn't ensure this information is included or correct so when you bring it into GIS you'll have to do more work sometimes. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHTg8zWG0OulP3SzoEQdiFa4eMe0k1l3S

7:27 AM  

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