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3D models support digital cities to connect and converge people, processes, data, and technology.

As urban populations continue to grow and governments struggle to deal with aging infrastructure, digital cities are emerging as the solution to manage and mitigate risks associated with changing environments. By connecting and converging technology, data, people, and processes, city planners are adopting a digital strategy that is quickly becoming part of the infrastructure lexicon.

Digital cities are taking advantage of new and exciting technology and leveraging the proliferation of reality modeling — the process of capturing existing site conditions with the use of digital photographs or point-cloud data. These 3D reality models can be easily shared and streamed, accelerating the decision-making process by improving collaboration with outside agencies and services.

Bentley’s ContextCapture application can generate 3D reality meshes that meet numerous needs, from engineering-ready detailed information to city-wide contextual models to provide up-to-date information to support asset design, construction, and operations. The 3D reality models can be used for a variety of purposes, including urban planning, as illustrated by Helsinki 3D+ for the City of Helsinki, Finland, to detailed engineering design and construction workflows, as done by Huadong Engineering Corporation Limited for the City of Shenzhen in China.

Helsinki 3D city model

The City of Helsinki launched a EUR 1 million project to produce a 3D representation of the city to improve Helsinki’s internal services and processes, promote smart city development, and share city models as open data to citizens and companies for research and development. The Helsinki 3D+ project team will deliver a pilot portfolio to demonstrate the power of new modeling technology and promote its use in higher education.

The City of Helsinki used a combination of laser scanning and oblique photogrammetry to acquire data and images for the project. Leveraging ContextCapture and a host of Bentley 3D reality modeling applications, the team modeled the surface and terrain and generated a reality mesh model of the entire city. ProjectWise served as the collaborative interface to manage all information and share data across internal and external teams.

Using Bentley software significantly lowered the cost of making the reality mesh model of the city and the semantic city information model. Bentley’s interoperable modeling applications provided the City of Helsinki the ability to implement smart city development, advanced city analyses, and the opportunity to participate in frontline progress. Using ProjectWise accelerated information mobility and kept the three-year project on track. Upon completion, the project is expected to promote the use of new technology and change work methods at universities, companies, and within city departments.

The City of Helsinki used Bentley’s reality capture technology for geo-coordination, optioneering, modeling, and visualization throughout the Helsinki 3D+ project. For large-scale base maps and utility maps, the team used Bentley Map. They relied on Descartes to process oblique and orthophotos, Bentley Pointools to model the surface and terrain, ContextCapture to create the 3D mesh representation of the city, and LumenRT for visualization to present the models. Using ProjectWise as the common environment for all project data optimized document management and streamlined workflow among internal and external teams.

According to Jarmo Suomisto, architect, project manager, Helsinki 3D+, “Future cities need advanced tools and innovative city models for creative design and well-grounded decisions.”

Application of BIM strategy for Shenzhen Qianhai municipal infrastructure. Image: courtesy of Huadong Engineering Corporation Limited, POWERCHINA

Shenzhen BIM strategy

In Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, the Qianhai Cooperation Zone is undergoing concentrated construction across 14.92 square kilometers of reclaimed land, valued at nearly CNY 390 billion. The development includes more than 180 kilometers of roads and 32 kilometers of rail lines above ground and below ground, and CNY 68.2 billion in infrastructure. Huadong Engineering Corporation Limited, POWERCHINA led BIM implementation and coordination for the 17 designers and two constructors working on multiple, interconnected projects in the region.

Using Bentley’s BIM solutions, Huadong Engineering’s daily management and coordination of BIM execution ensured that project participants leveraged the technology to solve the numerous challenges. Overlapping planning, geotechnical, and geographic 3D models of the Qianhai Cooperation Zone created a comprehensive digital model for use in checking construction work against the multidiscipline 3D design models. The 3D reality model of the construction zone also provided a GIS-based view for spatial coordination of projects.

BIM implementation provided unified technology standards that enabled disparate engineering teams to work more efficiently. Under the BIM strategy, 3D collaborative design workflows helped finalize the design schemes in 50 fewer days and saved more than CNY 21 million in averted rework. Bentley’s BIM technology was utilized throughout the planning, design, geotechnical, and construction stages to deliver a comprehensive city model that will be used for life cycle management of the municipal infrastructure.

ContextCapture created the reality mesh based on 35,000 photos of an 18-square-kilometer area. Inspection of the worksite through the reality mesh was five times more efficient, allowing 20 site visits per day, saving CNY 5 million. The 3D design models built with AECOsim Building Designer, Power InRoads, Bentley Substation, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, and other products reduced errors, omissions, collisions, and deficiencies. Navigator streamlined BIM reviews and issue resolution.

“Bentley’s 3D digital technology platform eliminated the tough problems of overall technical and management planning for the Qianhai infrastructure construction project,” said JinfengWang, IT director, Huadong Engineering. “We avoided the management and control risks and investment waste caused by imperfect design. We achieved digital engineering construction, laying a solid foundation for building Smart Qianhai.”

Huadong Engineering’s daily management and coordination of BIM implementation ensured that the team leveraged the technology to solve the numerous challenges. A 3D reality model of the zone, used with the project’s multidiscipline 3D design models, created a GIS-based view for resolving errors, omissions, collisions, and deficiencies. Using the 3D collaborative design helped save more than CNY 21 million in averted rework alone.

As demonstrated by these projects, leveraging reality modeling allows for the realization of digital city goals.


Information provided by Bentley Systems. For more information about Bentley’s reality modeling solutions, visit www.bentley.com.

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