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ODA Seeking Strategic Partners for Scan to BIM Technologies

ODA Scan-to-BIM group will aid the acceleration of point cloud data to BIM object conversion with wide applicability in AECOM.

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The Open Design Alliance (ODA), the leading provider of CAD and BIM interoperability solutions, announced this month the formation of a new Strategic Interoperability Group (SIG) to develop scan to BIM technologies.

Scan to BIM

This is technology centered on 3D laser scanners and their point cloud data output and converting that output to parametric 3D BIM models automatically. Applications include capturing existing conditions and as-built documentation, useful for project additions and renovations and for facilities management (FM).

“Laser scanning has become a mainstream technology for digital twins,” said Neil Peterson, ODA President. “But point clouds generated by modern scanners are huge, often terabytes or even petabytes of data, making them difficult to work with. In addition, a BIM model is far more useful in many contexts than simple point cloud data, making it the preferred output for most users.

ODA Scan-to-BIM SIG will follow this development roadmap.

ODA Scan-to-BIM SIG will follow this preliminary development roadmap. (Image: ODA)

“The goal of ODA’s new SIG is to develop the industry’s first general-purpose scan to BIM SDK. We’re looking for strategic partners to work collaboratively on this project, companies that are not satisfied with current market offerings, and would like to guide and control the development of an ODA-based solution.

“A single ODA scan to BIM solution, funded and shared by many companies, is a superior development model. An ODA solution is more cost effective than expensive third-party solutions, and the quality will be better with dozens of companies using the same technology in a wide range of applications.”

ODA’s New SIG

The new Strategic Interoperability Group (SIG) will develop high-quality, flexible and affordable scan to BIM technology comprised of the following:

  • Conversion of point cloud data into segmented meshes
  • Identification and removal of interference objects
  • Classification of segmented mesh models into common architectural objects such as walls, doors, windows, etc
  • Conversion of classified objects into IFC, Autodesk® Revit®, and other BIM formats

“As a non-profit industry partner, ODA is ideally positioned to develop this technology for the long-term benefit of the industry,” continued Mr. Peterson. “Our deep experience with BIM, point clouds, and geometric kernels perfectly complements the requirements for this complex project.”

Availability and Pricing

The new Scan to BIM SIG is open to ODA members of Sustaining and higher membership levels. More information about the new Scan to BIM SIG can be found at opendesign.com/scan-to-bim.

Pricing for the Scan to BIM SIG will be determined by project participants. SIG members will be entitled to unlimited use of the developed software for a fixed annual fee, with source code licensing available.

About ODA

ODA develops complete interoperability solutions for CAD and BIM. Our SDKs provide data access, creation, visualization, web collaboration and publishing for a wide range of engineering file formats. ODA is supported by more than 1200 member companies, including software developers, manufacturers, government entities, AEC firms, major retailers and other organizations spread across every engineering discipline.

Architosh Commentary and Analysis

We asked a prominent Nemetschek Group daughter company CEO approximately five years ago when laser scanner data would be accurate enough to convert into 3D models automatically. This CEO suggested it might be another three to five years. That takes us to today. 

This effort by the ODA should be well-received though existing solutions for scan-to-BIM exist on the market already, including EdgeWise by ClearEdge3D Inc. and others. Those solutions save modeling tasks by 60 – 80 percent, making capturing as-built or existing conditions and turning that data into 3D models significantly faster. 

The ODA’s scan-to-BIM group and effort is aimed at building a standard, improving the accuracy, advancing the technology, and lowering the cost of scan-to-BIM workflows. An industry standard best-in-class shared SDK would enable scanner manufacturers to focus on their hardware development, build OEM software faster, and allow for greater interoperability among manufacturers’ devices and BIM industry software. A lot of today’s top solutions, like EdgeWise, have automated integrations into Autodesk Revit, the industry’s most dominant BIM software. For Autodesk software rivals, building on an ODA standard scan-to-BIM SDK could enable them to match the convenience of scan to conversion into their particular BIM formats. 

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