Tag Archives: COBie

History of Open Geometry Exchange

 Investigation into the history of open geometry exchange for a better understanding of the origins of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and its relationship to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), relational database specifications, and ontologies. 

Organizational Structure by Mike Bergman


Slides to advocate the Open Floor Plan Display Project and the development of a Floorplan Markup Language, in collaboration with the Building Service Performance Project ,  were presented at Ontolog Summit 2009 Symposium, Towards Ontology-based Standards, held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Summit organized by Steve Ray and Peter Yim.

1984 The development of the Standard Exchange of Product Data (STEP) begins as a successor of IGES, SET and VDA-FS

 1991 GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library (GMP)
1991 US Government transferred responsibility for non-military component of ARPANET to the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF lifted restrictions on commercial use of the network.


1992 Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)

1993 European Process Industries STEP Technical Liaison Executive (EPISTLE) founded
1993 Organization for Structured Information Standards (OASIS) founded
1993 Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) founded

1994/95 ISO published the initial release of STEP as international standards including the following parts on which the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) depend:
Written in EXPRESS (ISO 10303-11)
Exchange structure in Part 21 physical file (ISO 10303-21)
Shape representation adopted from ISO 10303-42 and ISO 10303-43.
3D design is controlled by the AP203 Configuration


1995 International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) founded
1995 JavaScript spawned
1995 X/Open introduces the UNIX 95 single specification

1997 Object Management Group (OMG) releases Universal Modeling Language (UML)
1997 XML is compiled by a working group of 11 members supported by 150-member Interest Group

Layout showing major ISP in 1998 by Bill Cheswick

1998 XML 1.0 becomes a W3C Recommendation
1998 Google arrives
1998 Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) are commercially exploited, database access uses the STEP Standard Data Access Interface SDAI (ISO 10303-22:1998)
1998 eSPECS development begins
1998 Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN)


1999 OASIS aecXML for Architecture, Engineering and Construction working group formed
1999 ISO 11179 Information Technology, Metadata Registries (MDR) first published

2000 OASIS XML Conformance TC Closes
2000 W3 Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

2001 Creative Commons Founded
2001 VerticalNet was the first eCommerce company to use ontologies to map between disparate databases to achieve a interoperability in B2B.

2002 Ontolog Forum mailing list created (May), then organization chartered (September)
2002 gbXML.org site is created to host and further stimulate the development of green building schema

2003 EPISTLE took over the work of ISO 10303-221. For modelling-technical reasons OSC/Caesar in Norway proposed ISO 15926, thereby writing the integration model in 15926, Part 2.
2003 OASIS Open Building Information Exchange (oBIX) begins
2003 W3C publishes Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
2003 Single UNIX Specification standardized as ISO 9945. Solaris 9.0 E ships. Linux 2.6 kernel released

2004 OASIS Common Alerting Protocol v1.0
2004 W3 RDF/XML Syntax Specification
2004 W3 OWL Web Ontology Language
2004 ISO 1117 Information Technology Metadata Registries v2

In 2004, when it came to translating data from one model to another, all the data could not be translated due to lack of place-holders for that data


2005 AJAX asynchronous loading of JavaScript and XML content
2005 Google Maps goes live, Google Earth unveiled
2005 IFC2x Platform Specification, ISO/PAS 16739

2006 OASIS UnitsML begins
2006 OGC Geography Markup Language (GML)
2006 OGC cityGML
2006 OASIS ebXML Business Process Specification Schema
2006 OASIS Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) Distribution Element v1.0

2007 ISO 10303-28: STEP-XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) to represent EXPRESS schema
2007 POSC/Caesar and ANSI Reference Data Libraries merge, ISO 15926-4 is signed
2007 OASIS Web Services Context (WS-Context) v1.0
2007 IFC references back to ISO 10303-41 and ISO 10303-42
2007 National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) released
2007 International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) standardized as ISO 12006 IFD in a Nutshell


Google acquires Sketchup and launches 3D Warehouse
2007 319 GNU packages hosted on the official GNU development site

OmniClass formed from ISO TC59/SC13/WG2 to look at classification a different way

 2007 US National Building Information Modeling Standard (NBIMS) v1 published by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI), now building SMART alliance (bSa).

Common Operating Picture, Golden Gate Safety Network

2008 SVG Tiny published as a W3C Recommendation for small portable devices
2008 W3 Geolocation API Public Working Draft
2008 W3 SPARQL Query Language for RDF and XML
2008 OGC Observations and Measurements
2008 COBIE Construction Operations Building Information Exchange
2008 CERN Geometry Description Markup Language (GDML)

2009 Ontolog Summit, Toward Ontology-based Standards at NIST

from The Eurozone – A Structural Assessment




Open Standards / Commercial Technology

Benefits of Using the BIMstorm Process and OPS Onuma Planning System to develop Open Standards  

Open standards for building and geospatial information are rapidly changing.  So much is being figured out at the same time its hard to know which of the many parallel tracks will eventually meet in the distance.  For example:

Performance Specifications:  Proprietary versus generic names of things are very tricky ~ the CSI Construction Specification Institute International Framework Dictionary is currently being developed;   

Data Exchange Policies:  Recording brand names, model numbers, and manufacturer’s warranties as performance specifications, designs and data change hands from Architect, to Contractor, to Owner ~ COBIE Construction Operations Building Exchange is currently being developed;  

Building Codes:  Construction type and use group are able to align with building data by facility type and location ~ ICC International Code Council SmartCODES are currently being developed;  

Space Definition Rules:   BOMA calcs and owner program requirements ~ OSCRE Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate are currently being developed;  

Geospatial Coordination: OGC Open Geospatial Consortium has already made a huge impact, open standards continue to be developed with an impressive focus on interoperability amongst the standards themselves;  

Sustainability: Owners, Architects, and Contractors understand how to go for LEEDS points now ~ USGBC US Green Building Council has already made a huge impact, standards and requirements continue to be developed;  

Tools for Public Inquiry:  How can environmental organizations assess their area using USGBC/LEED data, GIS Watershed, BOMA Calcs, SMARTCodes and all the above while OmniClass, MasterFormat, UniFormat and all the words we use are constantly evolving?

BIMstorm and OPS provide an opportunity for non-technical people to like and understand the potential of BIM and open standards in simple ways.  Room Criteria Sheets and Google Earth are OK, regular people can play out a variety of scenarios without liabilities, deadlines, or costs.  It can’t be only technical people who solve these problems.   The main benefit of using the BIMstorm process and OPS is being able to figure out how open standards SHOULD work together with commercial technology.  Open standards need to be vendor neutral, but it takes vendors to help develop these standards along the way.  There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead and true interoperability will never be “done”.  Until then, using the BIMstorm process and OPS provides a unique opportunity to work together towards the same shared end goals.  Can’t get there without using real products and technology.

Deborah L. MacPherson AIA, CSI CCS
Specifications and Research, WDG Architecture PLLC
Projects Director, Accuracy&Aesthetics
NBIMS National Building Information Modeling Standard, Consensus and Model Implementation Guide Task Teams
Member of the buildingSMART alliance


Name, Rank, Facility Number

Download PDF Where Does All This Information Belong [ DMacPJBIM08 ] to appear in the Fall 08 online version of the Journal of Building Information Modeling



“I see this as a topic map question with a good query mechanism that would allow you to match patterns and bubble to the top the requisite variety of solutions to the query.

There is something you see and talk about that I rarely do, the ability to fold, twist, and reveal. I have no clue how one goes about that except along the lines I suggested in an earlier post about manifolds, intersecting them, and playing them using something like a GBG (will ask: one of these or Glass Bead Network?) as an interface.

An old (late) friend Iben Browning used to talk about using evolutionary program and “spring” metaphors to let things like this self organize. The idea is that you arrange nodes in relationship to each other and add springs between them. You can watch this happen with touchgraph – the nodes jiggle around until the dust settles. You can tweak spring coefficients until something “makes sense” – – that’s what evolutionary programming does for you.”


See the big picture of clusters and interrelations within your data, and zoom in on whatever catches your interest, by TouchGraph.



RE: “Set of data structures, or code templates, to extend semantic relationships that already exist in CSI and OCCS classifications to capture and describe building information by construction type, use group, code requirements and so on.”

I see (in the pdf below) that you are linking core concepts (Uniformat and MF2004 names) to various the classification systems and specification clauses (step 1 ,2) and related these to their usefulness for some building types (step 3-5 Looking at ICC allows  you to relate some requirements to ‘core concepts’ and/or ‘building types’. COBIE exposes the  classification of spaces, systems and registered types. Lastly your spreadsheet mentions standards that are relevant. Overall you have a tree of references and relationships.


Developing a set of code and classification templates to track and standardize building information modeling exchanges. See pdf for explanation.


and the following links

bimSMART lab


BuildingSMART Alliance


Building Code templates are a way of understanding the design of buildings and also what happens inside there. Some of this information is private, some is related to overall energy awareness and efficiency concerns, some are public services that could be shown on Google maps, some are simply where a person lives with preferred and ranked restaurants around them. Whatever the concerns, how do you get from all the possible information and building control system readings to the necessary and sufficient information needed for the general public to live their daily lives and participate in the governance of their local, regional, national and global community? Code templates are a stab at it. It is assumed every building type can use the same Division 01, General Conditions in their contract documents while being built. Its still unclear what happens after that in terms of the building lifecycle. Where building codes fit is still being figured out but probably in another band above Division01.