A software developer has produced what looks to be the first BIM (Building Information Modeling) application of any type for the Apple iPhone–goBIM. The application will also run on the iPad when it is released next week according to the goBIM website but they are going to work on a specific iPad version that makes better use of the larger format in the future.
What is goBIM?
According to the goBIM website “goBIM is an iPhone application for navigating 3D BIM models and their associated data.” It is compatible with all the iPhones and will also run as is on the iPad. The program can only handle tiny BIM models thus far but the developer is working to both increase size and performance as it relates to goBIM. 3G and GS models of the iPhone will safely handle 4Mb sized .gbm files. Yes, you read that right. goBIM uses its own file format (.gbm). Apparently the new file type was chosen over, say, .dwf or another common format because it is super simple and text-based and loosely based on the .obj file specification.
Architosh will dig into the iPhone OS options for 3D file formats later because this is an interesting topic all by itself. In any case, the developer said he will probably make the file format .xml based in the future. Being text-based the .gbm file format is super easy to write exports for. This means CAD and BIM software companies can tap into this format and its API and generate an exporter.
Web-based for Now
At the moment the way you view BIM models with goBIM is by typing in the URL address for where the .gbm file is stored. This is cool but has some limits. Many folks have written into the developer asking for an option to store the files locally on the iPhone in a direct computer-to-iPhone link. The developer mentioned this is possible in a future update.
We asked why there was no exporters for other BIM applications like ArchiCAD and Vectorworks Architect (VWA) and the developer wrote a good reply. In essence, Revit, Rhino and Digital Project are software tools he uses and knows today at a structural engineering firm he works at. However, he is very interested in getting his API into developer hands so they can write the exporters.
This is an application that we really want to watch closely.
To learn more about goBIM visit the goBIM website now.