GIS for Facility Management - Uses of GIS in Facility Management

We have been honored to be asked by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) to write a white paper entitled "GIS for Facility Management". This is the third chapter in the series.   A full copy of the paper can be downloaded from the IFMA web site.  We would like to thank Manhattan Software and ESRI for their support of the white paper.

 GIS for Facility Management - Chapter 4

For years, facility managers have been using GIS at the landscape level to manage a number of the assets in their facility portfolio. Some of the earliest applications of GIS in facility management were related to pavement management at airports, municipal water and wastewater infrastructure, and electric utility distribution. For example, facility managers of the US Air Force have developed a standardized set of GIS layers to support the management of Air Force bases.

For years, facility managers have been using GISat the landscape level to manage a number ofthe assets in their facility portfolio. Some of theearliest applications of GIS in facility managementwere related to pavement management at airports,municipal water and wastewater infrastructure,and electric utility distribution. For example, facilitymanagers of the US Air Force have developeda standardized set of GIS layers to support themanagement of Air Force bases.

The spatial data that exists in a facility geodatabase has often been developed from aerial imagery or global positioning systemenabled (GPS) field data collection practices. The limitation of these data collection techniques is that they are blind to building interiors. Aerial photography cannot see through the roof. GPS signals are not available inside buildings. The result of these constraints has been that significant holes have developed in the rich geospatial data fabric that describes our facilities. These holes correspond to our most concentrated financial investments and the places where people spend most of their time – inside buildings.

New technologies and techniques have become available to register existing information about the insides of a building, such as CAD floor plans or building information models (BIM), with the surrounding landscape-level geospatial data framework. This integration is making it possible to apply geospatial analysis and visualization to business processes that occur inside buildings.

Today, it is becoming possible with GIS to think about and analyze the spatial aspects of every component of facility management workflows to decrease cost and increase productivity. None of
the enterprise applications used within the arena of facility management have advanced spatial analytic capabilities to support business processes that span geographic areas or provide complex scenario modeling that includes multidimensional visualization including 3D (space), 4D (time) and 5D (money).

GIS is a platform that supports the integration of information from all of these spatial, temporal and informational dimensions. Examples of such integrations include:
• Combining cost data with the visualization of space and occupancy across the campus
• Analyzing routing barriers for disabled persons for use during evacuation planning and emergency action planning
• Conducting visualization of energy consumption data at the room level while simultaneously managing maintenance workflows for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems for a nationwide facility infrastructure
• Managing security concerns both inside and outside buildings, across regions and continents, simultaneously (4D) and contiguously (3D)

4.1 Spatial Data Infrastructure for Facilities

As GIS is becoming more widely used inside buildings, facility managers are applying the insights gained from spatial data infrastructures to the spaces inside buildings. There are framework levels inside the building, just as there are framework levels at the landscape level, such as roads and parcels. A few examples of framework layers inside a building include floor levels, walls, windows, doors and the spaces that are defined by architectural structures (Figure 2).

Figure 2:  Spatial data infrastructure can spatially enable many enterprise systems

Once the core architectural elements of the building have been established in the GIS, it is possible for many other layers to be derived from this foundation. Some of the layers that can be derived from basic floor plans include:
• Space use and type definitions
• Lease areas
• Security zones
• Management zones
• Asset locations
• Evacuation collection areas
• Navigable routes

Once this basic data has been added to the GIS, it is possible to provide geospatial support to a wide variety of information systems and business processes for the facility management community:
• Grouping multibuilding and multisite work orders by location to reduce transportation and logistics costs
• Visualizing energy consumption data at the room, building and/or enterprise level over time
• Analyzing space use, space availability and space optimization across campus or regional extents
• Conducting building condition assessments, fire safety inspections and asset inventories using handheld, location-aware (GPS-enabled) devices. These devices provide rapid data capture and precise location of issues, items and assets, supporting visualization, analysis and reporting.
• Analyzing and visualizing lease performance metrics across the portfolio, regardless of geographic extent
• Analyzing, route mapping and reporting of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and/or ADA facility and fixture availability across the campus or portfolio
• Visualizing the impact of proposed building projects on the campus environment
• Conducting line of sight analysis for special events
• Modeling the impact of proposed use changes on the supporting utility infrastructure
• Visualizing proposed space planning scenarios

In order to provide best practices guidance and support for facility managers interested in establishing facility GIS capabilities, an independent committee made up of software vendors, government users, higher education facility managers and facility managers from various levels of government formed the Building Information Spatial Data Model (BISDM) committee in 2007. This committee has published several versions of the Building Information Spatial Data Model and continues to enhance and extend the model and its tools, making them available to the community. A diagram of the conceptual BISDM is shown in Figure 3. Further information and materials are available for download at the following Web site:


Figure 3:  Conceptual data model diagram for BISDM