Autodesk and Esri partnership accelerates innovations in AEC

Categories: AEC Infrastructure
Tags: bim cloud collaboration digital-transformation


Supporting our customers in solving the world’s biggest challenges is what drives us here at Autodesk. Since we announced our strategic partnership with Esri, the global industry leader in Geographic Information System (GIS) software, the convergence of Building Information Modeling (BIM) with GIS continues to produce results for our customers.

Customers like OHM Advisors, hired by the City of Livonia, MI, after a catastrophic water meter failure in 2018. Called on to overhaul water emergency planning, OHM moved the city from paper binders to the digital age.

OHM created more than 40 GIS-based hydraulic models. Each included scenario-based response plans, outlined down to the tiniest detail. How do water pressure requirements differ for a dialysis center compared to busy hotels? The city can now call up the answers on dashboards, tailored to the scenario.

Autodesk’s InfoWater Pro and Esri’s ArcGIS Pro were integrated to make this possible, and there are many more examples of how our partnership with Esri enables BIM and GIS data to seamlessly flow between our respective solutions.

The result is that project stakeholders can now visualize, understand, and analyze infrastructure within its real-world context. Read on for more examples of recent integrations that help our customers plan, design, build, and operate with greater insight, resulting in better, more sustainable and equitable outcomes within the water and civil infrastructure industries.

From desktop tools to cloud-based integrations, the convergence of BIM & GIS helps transform how infrastructure assets are designed, delivered, and managed.

Data flows upstream and downstream for water infrastructure

The digital maturity in water infrastructure is wide-ranging. Some systems still adhere to color-coded mapbooks, and others are in various stages of digital technology adoption. Regardless of where they fall, many water professionals still lose time manually blending disconnected data, models, and maps.

Those days are ending. Now, key hydraulic modeling and cloud technologies are integrated with ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online, giving water professionals seamless access to geospatial context. The benefits include:

  • Asset management and operational analytics: Info360 products–including Info360 Asset, Info360 Insight and Info360 Plant–now share results directly with ArcGIS Online to provide a seamless two-way exchange of data. This enables collaboration and visualization of Info360 results through webmaps and customized dashboards within ArcGIS Online.
  • Water distribution: InfoWater Pro allows engineers to model water distribution systems in an easy-to-use GIS interface and present results clearly in ArcGIS Pro.

We recently heard from OHM Advisors about the value of GIS integration and modeling:

“Having the GIS layers on when you’re developing scenario recommendations is really important,” said Susan Knepper, a water resources engineer. “In models without GIS information displayed, a modeler could provide isolation recommendations where true isolation valves don’t actually exist.”

Water networks and terrain continually evolve, along with the communities around them. This GIS-to-BIM model connection allows water professionals to keep pace, at every stage.

Reducing risk from the world’s most complex projects

Civil infrastructure is profoundly complicated, inherent data gaps across products and workflows take a lot of time to bridge and communicate, resulting in errors and omissions that can have significant negative project consequences.

But we’re closing the gap between GIS and BIM. Today, tighter connections exist and continued enhancements are giving customers greater control and flexibility. The benefits extend to:

  • Design: Autodesk Connectors for ArcGIS maintain a live link between our desktop design software and ArcGIS. Connectors are available for Civil 3D, Map3D, and InfraWorks.
  • Cloud collaboration: Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro and Esri’s ArcGIS Online integrate through ArcGIS GeoBIM for a holistic view of design models and location intelligence to reduce risk, provide better project collaboration, and improve communication with stakeholders.
  • Project and asset management: Manage every stage of the asset lifecycle more efficiently with this GIS-BIM cloud connection between the Autodesk Info360 platform and Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise.

Arcadis shares the benefits of integrating BIM models directly into ArcGIS GeoBIM

Our customer, Arcadis, shared that these connections saved them time and improved their client relationships.

“From a client perspective, the biggest benefit is to access the information in an easy way,” said Francois Appéré, Global Autodesk Platform Director, Arcadis. “The fact that we connect the building, put it in its environment, and communicate that back to a client is game-changing because you have the context.”

A better process benefits the client. But perhaps more importantly, it benefits society and everyone who utilizes the built environment, everything from roads, bridges, transit, water, and power systems.

BIM and GIS, together, for a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future

From a technology standpoint, our partnership with Esri is about bringing together disconnected data sources to drive better decision making and project outcomes. But from a people standpoint, it’s about solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Global dynamics like climate change, population growth, and water scarcity put increased pressure on project teams. The world needs infrastructure that’s more sustainable, and we need these critical infrastructure assets to be more resilient.

The City of Livonia’s water system is hardly an outlier. Communities around the globe are maintaining and modernizing their infrastructure networks and preparing for the future. And we’re thrilled to partner with Esri to help make that future stronger.

To learn more about our partnership, visit the Autodesk-Esri web pages here and meet Autodesk at the Esri User Conference, July 10-14 in San Diego, CA.