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AECOO-Phase 1 Testbed

RFQ/CFP: AECOO Testbed Phase 1 (AECOO-1) - buildingSMART alliance Project 2008-STP-01

Wayland, MA, USA. May 02, 2008.

The buildingSMART alliance, the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) and Sponsors of the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator) Testbed have today issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) and Call for Participation (CFP) for the AECOO-Phase 1 Testbed. The testbed aims to foster business transformation as defined in the United States National Building Information Modeling Standard, Part 1 (NBIMS) with technology for interoperability involving intelligent building models with 3D geometric capabilities. Business and communications, quantity take-off for cost estimating, and energy analysis are considered as they relate to planning and design for a capital facility. These three topic areas were selected by the Sponsors to focus attention on defining workable information solutions and services for information visualization and sharing.

The RFQ/CFP is available at:

Responses are due by May 30, 2008.

All organizations and individuals with expertise in the building information management field are encouraged to review and respond to the RFQ / CFP. Limited cost-sharing funding is available to help offset engineering costs incurred by participants in support of this effort.

Effective management of buildings and other capital facilities increasingly requires information exchange among all disciplines and professions that have a stake in the design, construction and operation of those facilities. Numerous information exchange approaches have been developed independently within the community. Understanding how particular exchanges and related technology might best support AECOO end-to-end business practices is a high priority for the industry.

The buildingSMART alliance and OGC decided that OGC's Interoperability Program is the right mechanism to encourage broad international participation in solving well-defined sets of AECOO community problems; facilitating cooperation among AECOO standards bodies; and achieving results no group could achieve alone.

The AECOO Testbed is an Interoperability Initiative that features a global, hands-on and collaborative rapid prototyping program designed to develop and deliver proven candidate standards into OGC's, NBIM's and buildingSMART International's specification programs where they are formalized for release as open standards.

In Interoperability Initiatives, teams of technology providers and users collaborate to solve specific interoperability problems posed by the Initiatives' sponsors. Interoperability Initiatives can be test beds, pilot projects, or interoperability experiments, all designed to encourage rapid development, testing, validation and adoption of open, consensus based standards.

buildingSMART International and its National Chapters and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) including its buildingSMART alliance and National Building Information Modeling Standard (NBIMS) Project have large roles in the ultimate success of this testbed. It is through these organizations that results of the testbed will be delivered.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 350 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OpenGIS standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at

The buildingSMART alliance is a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences. The alliance was established to: (1) coordinate the profound constructive changes coming to the fragmented real property industry in North America; (2) be the coordination point for fund raising and uniform marketing of member programs; and (3) provide a centralized process for strategic planning, resource allocation and decision making for the member programs. Our collective goal is open interoperability and full lifecycle implementation of building information models. The focus is to guarantee lowest overall cost, optimum sustainability, energy conservation and environmental stewardship to protect the earth's ecosystem. Visit the buildingSMART alliance website at


Sam Bacharach
Executive Director, Outreach and Community Adoption
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc
35 Main Street, Suite 5, Wayland, MA 01778 USA
Tel: +1-703-352-3938

CFP/RFQ Supporting Materials

XML Standards: Excerpts from the Annexes

Open standardization and how it relates to interoperability: Open standardization is the reason for the success of the Internet, the World Wide Web, e-Commerce, and the wireless revolution. The reason is simple: our world is going through a communications revolution on top of a computing revolution.

Open standardization means 'agreeing on a common definitions of terms and names, attributes and properties of information.' At the fundamental levels this type of open standardization has been developed by:

  • buildingSMART International: IFC and IFD
  • Associated General Contractors with buildingSMART alliance: AGCxml
  • International Code Council: SmartCodes
  • Construction Specification Institute: OmniClass

Open standardization also means agreeing on common means for communication — the actions of 'transmitting or exchanging through a common system of symbols, signs or behavior concerning that information and how it needs to be delivered, presented or made capable'.

Put together, open standards for information and communications causes interoperability to happen...

Industry alignments at the M&A level have yielded proprietary development of energy export and import capabilities in several major engineering modeling tools. A number of these involve use of GBxml. Since GBxml is virtually a defacto industry standard schema, it is suggested that this technology be considered as an authoritative standard. A number of respondents requested OGC and buildingSMART alliance to include GBxml and work toward harmonizing it with IFC based information model...

IFC2x3 and IfcXML: There was considerable feedback about how IFCs would interact in a loosely coupled architecture such as Web Services. In 2004, buildingSMART International began a project to recast IFC from STEP to XML. A methodology for generating .xsd from EXPRESS definitions was developed. It is thought that ifcXML is suitable for a variety of uses like those being addressed in AECOO-1.

IFC or ifcXML are established as requirements for testing. Participants have the choice of each or proposing a hybrid. Specification access to IFC STEP and ifcXML are provided in Section 3.1.1 of Annex B...

A significant input to the design of these MVDs is Green Building XML (gbXML). The gbXML schema describes building information needs between standalone CAD and energy modeling programs. The relationship between IFC/ifcXML and gbXML to produce MVDs will need to be further clarified during the work on this thread.

It will also be necessary to develop a shared handling of Cartesian geometry and earth geometry to support the types of common analyses desired. OGC's OWS-4 Testbed prototype implementations did achieve the exchange and proper registration of geo-referenced BIM, OGC did not implement the geo-referencing model of the proposed draft standard IFC2x3g. Yet we understand that this geo-referencing model instantiates the full geo-referencing specification of the European Petroleum Survey Group (EPSG) and we presume, ISO 19111. We believe that this indicates a fairly complete specification of the sorts of coordinate referencing systems expected in the world of AEC and portends a high level of interoperability with other geospatial service architectures.

IFC2x3g along with CityGML should be considered as a means to achieve this goal...

CityGML is a common information model for the representation of 3D urban objects. It defines the classes and relations for the most relevant topographic objects in cities and regional models with respect to their geometrical, topological, semantic and appearance properties. Included are generalization hierarchies between thematic classes, aggregations, relations between objects, and spatial properties. This thematic information goes beyond graphic exchange formats and allow to employ virtual 3D city models for sophisticated analysis tasks in different application domains like simulations, urban data mining, facility management, and thematic inquiries.

CityGML is realized as an open data model and XML-based format for the storage and exchange of virtual 3D city models. It is implemented as an application schema for the Geography Markup Language 3 (GML3), the extensible international standard for spatial data exchange issued by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the ISO TC211. CityGML is an open standard and therefore can be used free of charge.

CityGML does not only represents the graphical appearance of city models but especially takes care of the representation of the semantic response, thematic properties, taxonomies and aggregations of Digital Terrain Models, sites (including buildings, bridges, tunnels), vegetation, water bodies, transportation facilities, and city furniture. The underlying model differentiates five consecutive levels of detail (LOD), where objects become more detailed with increasing LOD regarding both geometry and thematic differentiation.

CityGML files can — but are not required to — contain multiple representations for each object in different LOD simultaneously...

[Announcement source]

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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