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Austroads has published a report that considers the impact of Building Information Management (BIM) technology on location referencing. It proposes a new theoretical framework as the foundation for the development of a proposed National Location Reference Hub.

The location of an infrastructure asset is key information in asset information systems and registers. The way location is measured and recorded is governed by classification systems and models to ensure the information is consistently captured over the life of the asset and across a network of infrastructure.

The increasing use of 3D BIM technology in civil engineering requires new ways of capturing and recording location information.

The report proposes a virtual location framework based on a grouping of location reference method (LRM) families that has not been previously proposed. This new grouping provides for BIM by including model geometry in the Geometric family LRMs. The resulting groups are:

  • Topological LRMs which describe locations along discrete but interconnected networks of features. This family includes traditional Linear LRMs, as well as the emerging and more comprehensive network-based models used by ITS standards. The family is typified by known points of connection, or interest (nodes), connected by road line segments (links) and distance travelled.
  • Geospatial LRMs which provide a way to describe locations on the Earth’s surface in real-world coordinates. This includes Geographic Information System LRMs (GIS) as well as coordinate-based mapping systems. The family is typified by road line segments (links), points of connection or interest (nodes), and real-world coordinates.
  • Geometric LRMs which are based on digital models that provide coordinate geometry within local model coordinates. Typically, these include digital design (2D or 3D) and BIM models. Some model environments are stand-alone and, more recently, they may be geo-connected (placed in the real world).

Each of these reframed LRM families is a basic building block for alternative location references that have in common: points, lines, paths and areas.

The proposed National Hub would partner with existing secondary reference systems and families of location reference methods to store and share virtual location references.

In the proposed system, the National Hub would store each location as an independent virtual object. The system would be designed to facilitate information exchange using an extended OpenLR™, the location reference method adopted by the European DATEX II standard.

The proposal builds on earlier Austroads research and is informed by an extensive literature review and stakeholder consultations with Australian and New Zealand road authorities.

Report link: Scoping Study for a Location Referencing Model to Support the BIM Environment

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