Precinct Information Modelling – position paper

26 Sep 2017

Precinct Information Modelling (PIM) describes the process of creating a 3D digital model at the scale of a precinct, defined as any area of the built environment that is of interest for some practical purpose. As such, it describes an activity where all the information pertinent to that precinct is held in a digital form, defined in a way that supports the processes that are critical to that purpose. Some examples of precincts include brownfield or greyfield areas earmarked for redevelopment, a campus facility, a retail district that is being monitored for planning purposes, or a land reserve designated for the development of transport infrastructure such as a new road or railway.
PIM entails a process that is supported by a digital database technology that can be used by a wide range of industry practitioners who are responsible for the planning, design, delivery and operational management of the built environment. It goes further because the same information can then become a resource for the community who use and interact with the built environment, lending critical support for the smart cities and communities that are emerging in response to the challenges of rapid urban growth in Australia and urbanisation across the globe.
This position paper describes the development of an open data model for representing a precinct in a format that allows it to be shared across all application software tools that are used in the process of managing the built environment, with a focus on carbon management.
The discussion is grounded in the precinct planning and development context as the main use case, drawing on interactions with a range of CRCLCL projects from the Low Carbon Precincts Program. Reference is made to the broader applications of this work, especially in the geospatial domain.
The underlying concepts and principles that have driven this work are explained, addressing the technologies that are deployed and the precinct modelling objects that must be handled to support the identified use cases. Further details are addressed in a set of technical documents available through the CRCLCL.
This is followed by practical sections that describe how precinct models may be created and managed using available software tools in conjunction with purpose-designed tools. The aim is to demonstrate PIM processes based on the proposed open standard. Some prototype applications of PIM are then described, related to specific CRCLCL projects.
The final section discusses the prospects for PIM, its significance within the context of the challenges that face built environment professionals and the future directions that this work needs to take towards full utilisation and impact.