Why SIMO and UIM?

How to solve the challenge of integrated Urban Development and Urban Information Models today

Darrel Ronald
Published in
3 min readMay 10, 2022


3D Diagram of our urban model, aka urban ontology
3D Diagram showing the UIM Data Model

The Challenge of Urban Development and Urban Information Modelling

Urban Planning, Design and Development is a complex process that requires integrated team collaboration. Unfortunately, the tools have not evolved to support the necessary workflows and dataflows.

Within the geospatial, urban development and AEC industries, there is a gap between the tools of GIS and BIM. Urban Development doesn’t have a good software and data model for integrated urban design and planning.

This is where our industry leading Urban Information Modelling (UIM) aka City Information Modelling (CIM) aka City-BIM comes in. Read about our innovative Spatiomatics UIM Schema!

We are actively developing the UIM Standard in collaboration with Urban Designers, Urban Planners, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Building Architects, Developers, Municipalities and advisors in Sustainability, Financial Modelling, Mobility and others.

UIM has unified the geometry and data models — an innovation in the market where most attempts have failed by the leading standards organizations such as BuildingSMART, OGC and others.

We would love to hear from you if you need UIM for your work!

Screenshot of a Rhino3D Urban Model and the SIMO Rhino app

SIMO To the Rescue!

SIMO urban information modelling aims to provide an integrated workflow and dataflow that supports project validation and collaboration.

The product focuses upon the urban data required by teams to assess project feasibility in relation to the typical client demands of development area targets.

While urban designers produce detailed, layered and highly specific design guidelines, urban projects are typically measured in a simple way and the project is reduced to a very simplified set of urban parameters such as FSI, GSI, OSR and other plot constraints.

SIMO allows the urban design team to focus on spatial quality, urban typologies and urban networks in an iterative process. The plugin takes care of the annoying data management which is a common frustration in the design process today.

GIF animation showing different urban layers: architecture, landscape, engineering, mobility, etc.
Rhino3D urban model showing different urban layers: Architecture, Landscape, Mobility, Infrastructure.

While our vision for SIMO is big, we already have an exciting launch product that has already been tested in both academic and commercial environments to great reactions. Lots of great feedback has already been integrated into SIMO with lots more high-value features in our release pipeline.

Diagram showing a typical integrated, data-driven design process for a large team.
A typical design process of large urban teams showing scenarios and feedback

SIMO — Integrated, Data-Driven, Collaborative Urban Development

The SIMO Apps support an iterative workflow, deliberately designed to support rapid design and planning. The whole team shares the same software platform, same data model and same geometry.

This is why we chose the industry leading McNeel Rhino3D and Grasshopper3d as the launch platform for SIMO. McNeel provides the best geometry engine to support complex workflows, project scale and data interoperability.

Screenshot of the SIMO Data Dashboard, a desktop app
Screenshot of the SIMO Data Dashboard, a desktop app for Windows and MacOS

Managing RhinoDoc and Grasshopper Data

SIMO automates the data management between the two runtime environments of the Grasshopper model and RhinoDoc (the Rhino model) and uses our uim.json file to communicate in realtime with the SIMO Dashboard.

For most components we create UIM Entities which are computed objects created from and linked to Rhino geometry. With the case of the Building entities, they are linked to the Footprint geometry which is used to create them and the relationship of Massing and other things. The Floor entities are unique in that they are created by UIM, so they will need to be baked into the RhinoDoc.

Diagram of the SIMO software interaction: Rhino, Grasshopper and Dashboard
Relationship between the three SIMO apps: Rhino, Grasshopper and Dashboard



Darrel Ronald

Founder of Spatiomatics. Creator of the SIMO App for Urban Development. Architect, Urban Designer, Technologist, Entrepreneur.