Geolocate and Upload iModel
By Johannes Renner
Editor’s note: The following post uses MicroStation for Geolocating an iModel. Click here to find out more about this product.
Creating an iModel
Time to dive in and get started with iTwins, iModels and iModel.js. There are a couple of ways to create a new iModel. Head over to getting started and create your account. Once you registered you can create new iModel from the dashboard. Click on NEW, give your iModel a name and in this case, we want to use the iTwin Synchronizer.
In case you call your model simply “Test” you will notice that your model will be automatically be assigned a unique code. This ensures that there are no duplicate iModels. So be creative! The initially created iModel acts as an empty container and information models can be subsequently added as the project evolves.
Initially there isn’t a lot more to do here. The iModel contains no data and can’t be opened for viewing yet. Now we need get some content added.
For demonstration purposes I wanted to use a “real-life” scenario and something other users can relate to. Creating a blank iModel is easy but I quickly realized that I haven’t got any model data yet. I wanted to make this process as realistic as possible and thought of it as a long-term project. A project where I can test things out and where I can simulate a real project with all its workflows and challenges. Using various design tools is as important as adding multiple disciplines into the mix. After all, this is supposed to be a truly collaborative, software agnostic platform.
First, I needed a suitable site and location. I picked a plot of land, currently occupied by a derelict building in the center of the City of London. I chose this plot partly, because it’s visible from the Bentley London office where I work. Also, it’s soon going to be occupied by a 35-story tower I’ve been involved in previously.
It’s essential to establish the exact site location for the iModel to automatically add a Bing map layer as reality data. Establish a series of coordinate points defining the site boundary. In the UK we usually use OSGB coordinates and every surveyor can deliver geolocated information. MicroStation has got its own geographic coordinate system tools and Marc’s excellent blogposts cover this subject in-depth.
Once the site coordinate points are transferred to MicroStation, check that the location is correct.
This will allow you to see the location in Google Maps.
The same can be done with Google Earth and it adds the context around the site as well.
I used MicroStation to add a simple solids model so I could check the location with real-world coordinates, as you can see in the image below.
Now we can add this model to an iModel. This placeholder or starter model will be later replaced with BIM models containing components with associated data.
Adding models to iModelHub with iTwin Synchronizer
iTwin Synchronizer can be downloaded from here: https://www.bentley.com/en/products/product-line/digital-twins/itwin-synchronizer
First you will have to select your project and create a new synchronization.
Follow the steps below to set up an iModel Bridge Job Definition. Jobs can be saved and retrieved for later model revisions.
Save these settings for the next model revision. iTwin Synchronizer will check for any bridge updates before uploading files. Now it is time to synchronize the model data.
The application will add any model files and adds an entry to the iModel Manager page as well as to the list of last changes.
We also can add a descriptive project profile image to the iModel.
Latest model updates and changes will be added to the iModel. Click on view all “Changes” and you will be presented with a list of all synchronizations. Create a Named Version by clicking on the little flag icon on the right.
You will be prompted to create a Named Version and add a description.
The iModel will now be prepared and will be ready for viewing shortly. The surrounding map has been automatically added from Bing Maps and is based on the geolocation previously set in MicroStation. The map can be toggled on and off from the Reality Data tab.
In the right image, we added a simple context model in MicroStation in order to highlight the main model.
It’s also worth pointing out that most of the steps above can be automated and require little user input.
Previously, I have been involved in the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, where the aspiration was to create a digital twin to capture the building “as is” prior commencement of any work. Asset data was captured and added to spaces, creating a digital inventory. To keep the model light, often placeholders where used to store information. To make it possible for users not familiar with BIM tools an external database was used to add data in a structured manner. Tagging and tracking of move-able assets was high on the list as well as capturing sensor data to monitor room conditions to create a perfect environment for heritage objects.