Geo Week News

October 30, 2014

BIM for Dummies

BIMx screenshot

I’ve got to admit, when I talk about BIM, most of the time I think of Autodesk’s Revit. Not necessarily because I believe it is the best BIM program out there, but because that is what I am most familiar with.  Recently I came across something that caused me to reconsider other BIM programs. After all, wouldn’t it be great if we felt like we had more options? And wouldn’t it be great if BIM was easier to use?

I recently discovered an application by Graphisoft called BIMx.  I was very impressed with the way it presented a BIM on a tablet. It isn’t actually a BIM program, rather more of a BIM viewer. Graphisoft refers to this as a “Hyper-Model.”  A BIMx Hyper-Model is a unique technology that brings the full scope of the Building Information Model into the dynamic touchscreen environment of mobile devices. The model’s integrated, context-sensitive 2D & 3D building project navigation with smooth transitions helps even non-professionals find their way in a full BIM project.

To create a BIMx,export 2D sheet views and the 3D model from the ArchiCAD BIM platform and into BIMx. 

What impressed me most is how easy the interface is to learn and use. It will work on both the iPad and Android platforms. In addition, it has a unique way of presenting 2D sheets and their relationship to the actual model from which they are derived.


In a BIMx, a fully dimensioned floor plan, as seen on a 2D sheet, is ghosted on top of a horizontal slice through the 3D model. You can change the place where the 2D sheet cuts the 3D model simply by pushing or pulling the cutting plane with your finger.

What is great about this application is that it allows persons with little to no BIM knowledge or expertise to easily navigate a BIM and fly through the model. Imagine the uses during the maintenance and operations phase of the building lifecycle, when facility engineers need access to the modeled data. This is a tool they can use to easily navigate through their building in 2D and 3D. No special training, no expensive software licenses to purchase and maintain. Yet it ties to a robust BIM platform with all the capabilities a designer needs.

The title of this blog is actually a bit misleading, as it infers that a tool like BIMx is for dummies.  However, I think it is the opposite. Why waste all your time trying to learn a tool like ArchiCAD or Revit if all you need is to view data to run and manage your facility? Using a tool like BIMx actually sounds pretty smart to me.

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