Book Image

Managing and Visualizing Your BIM Data

By : Ernesto Pellegrino, Manuel André Bottiglieri, Gavin Crump, Luisa Cypriano Pieper, Dounia Touil
Book Image

Managing and Visualizing Your BIM Data

By: Ernesto Pellegrino, Manuel André Bottiglieri, Gavin Crump, Luisa Cypriano Pieper, Dounia Touil

Overview of this book

Business intelligence software has rapidly spread its roots in the AEC industry during the last few years. This has happened due to the presence of rich digital data in BIM models whose datasets can be gathered, organized, and visualized through software such as Autodesk Dynamo BIM and Power BI. Managing and Visualizing Your BIM Data helps you understand and implement computer science fundamentals to better absorb the process of creating Dynamo scripts and visualizing the collected data on powerful dashboards. This book provides a hands-on approach and associated methodologies that will have you productive and up and running in no time. After understanding the theoretical aspects of computer science and related topics, you will focus on Autodesk Dynamo to develop scripts to manage data. Later, the book demonstrates four case studies from AEC experts across the world. In this section, you’ll learn how to get started with Autodesk Dynamo to gather data from a Revit model and create a simple C# plugin for Revit to stream data on Power BI directly. As you progress, you’ll explore how to create dynamic Power BI dashboards using Revit floor plans and make a Power BI dashboard to track model issues. By the end of this book, you’ll have learned how to develop a script to gather a model’s data and visualize datasets in Power BI easily.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Section 1: Overview of Digitalization and BIM Data
Section 2: Examples and Case Studies from Experts around the World
Section 3: Deep Dive into Autodesk Dynamo

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Introducing Units of Digital Information, starts by providing information on the history of digital data units of measurement. The chapter focuses on introducing you to the world of digital data without talking about BIM, talking instead about data in general. I will refer to other industries and describe why everyone is digitizing and why digital information is so valuable.

Chapter 2, Understanding Data Centers, talks about everything to do with data centers. Cloud technologies, data structures, and data centers: what are they, and why are there are more and more data centers being built worldwide every year? Then, I'll talk about two exciting projects. One is the Switch data center, which is the largest globally, and then I'll talk about Project Natick, which is interesting because it will be built beneath the ocean! After this overview on data centers, I'll talk about how to get started with Microsoft Power BI, giving you just a bit of theory and a well-organized exercise to familiarize yourself with the data analysis tool.

Chapter 3, Warming Up Your Data Visualization Engines, introduces you to some of the most common chart types. We will explain what they are, how they are used, and how to achieve the best results. After that, I'll talk about the benefits of analyzing BIM data, giving a general introduction to the subject. Toward the end, we'll get back to some practical exercise with Power BI, this time with a new, more complex dataset. The goal is to allow you to develop, using Power BI, the chart types discussed at the beginning of the chapter.

Chapter 4, Building a Data Bridge between BIM Models and Web-Based Dashboards, continues on the last subject of the previous chapter, real-time data. This chapter is perfect for continuation because it shows an excellent example of real-time streaming data from a BIM model made with Autodesk Revit to a Power BI dashboard. The goal is to build a simple Revit plugin using Visual studio. You will learn more advanced computer science topics. Even if you don't want to learn programming in the future, you still need to use such skills to develop other, more complex Autodesk Dynamo scripts.

Chapter 5, Getting Started with Autodesk Dynamo and Data Gathering, is dedicated only to understanding the fundamentals of Autodesk Dynamo. I wrote this one with Luisa Cypriano Pieper. We first cover the theory, introducing you to the world of visual programming and giving you a bit of history and context. Then, we deep dive into the core features of Autodesk Dynamo, exploring the UI, the library, the menus, and other options. Next, we will create two scripts in Autodesk Dynamo. The first one will export data from the Revit model to an Excel spreadsheet. The second one will import an updated version of that data back into the Revit model.

Chapter 6, Importing Revit Plans in Power BI Using Shape Files, focuses on Power BI and how to import a Revit floor plan. Having learned the basics of Autodesk Dynamo, you will now be ready to go another step up on the Dynamo skills ladder. You will follow a step-by-step guide to create a script in Dynamo that enables the use of Revit floor plans inside Power BI. This is an advanced workflow, and it aims to show you that mastering Autodesk Dynamo BIM is fundamental nowadays in our AEC industry. This workflow will help many of you stand out and offer something extraordinary and advanced to your colleagues and managers. By the end of this chapter, you will be a lot more confident using Autodesk Dynamo. 

Chapter 7, Creating a Revit Model - Check Dashboard Using Dynamo and Power BI, is the last chapter written by the experts. Here, Dounia will showcase a workflow on creating an auditing model dashboard using Revit, Dynamo, and Power BI. These kinds of dashboards are helpful to check a model's integrity and issues. You will follow a step-by-step guide to create a Dynamo script that gathers all the necessary data from the Revit model. Next, you will learn how to make a dashboard and take advantage of that data. As in the previous chapter, we use some additional packages inside Dynamo to create shape files to visualize and interact with the Revit model view in Power BI.

Chapter 8, Deep Dive into Dynamo Data Types, is all about the more complex Dynamo data types. It is a computer science subject, a fundamental one, and relatively simple to learn. I will pick up from the topics in Chapter 5, Getting Started with Autodesk Dynamo and Data Gathering, where we introduced primitive data types, such as strings and integers. Then, we will continue that subject by adding more complex data types. I am talking about lists, variables, objects, arrays, and others. Along the way, I'll give examples and references to make sure you are comfortable with the subject. This is important to help you build more complex scripts using Autodesk Dynamo.

Chapter 9, Using Dynamo to Place Family Instances, is a fun chapter. After a bit of theory and hands-on experience, now is the time to create a script using what you will have learned in all previous chapters, especially Chapter 8, Deep Dive into Dynamo Data Types, where you will have learned how to start working with strings, variables, and if statements. In this chapter, you will create a script that places family instances (digital objects such as doors, chairs, or lamps) inside a Revit model. The script we will develop will automatically calculate a point in the XYZ coordinate space, and it will use that point to place the chosen object. This is a fun chapter for all readers, from beginners to intermediate users. Other than working with lists and strings, you will see how to automatically place objects inside a Revit model, which is quite a good goal to reach.

Chapter 10, Gathering a Revit Models' Data from Multiple Models at Once, will show you how to extract data and automatically place objects inside a Revit model. You will be ready to learn how to collect data from all families from multiple Revit models. This chapter will be divided according to three main learning goals. The first one is the data gathering part, where you will learn how to manage lots of lists of data. The second part will focus on preparing that data for Microsoft Excel. The last part will be related to using data to visualize everything inside Power BI, including a map showing the location of each Revit model. Each piece will be written as a step-by-step guide, using screenshots when needed.

Chapter 11, Visualizing Data from Multiple Models in Power BI, continues from where the previous chapter left off. In Chapter 10, Gathering Revit Models' Data from Multiple Models at Once, you will have created a script to collect multiple models' data. Here, you will focus on Power BI, visualizing multiple models' data. You will learn how to manage an extensive dataset coming from multiple Revit projects. I will talk about organizing data, formatting data, and creating and filtering charts. Also, you will learn how to show the location of a model using a map inside Power BI. Toward the end of the chapter, you will also learn how to customize the map to show data in different colors and shapes.

Chapter 12, Having Fun with Power BI, is the last chapter of the book. The book's primary goal is to give you data visualization skills. The previous chapter was a deep dive into Power BI. Here, I will let you have fun connecting Power BI to a Google form that pushes data in real time. This chapter will guide you in creating a dashboard using live data generated by you. I will explain the workflow to connect Google services and Power BI to stream data and populate our charts continuously.