Tag Archives: Construction

Emergent versus Imposed Boundaries

When organizing large quantities of resources and information in the digital world… putting things into groups, determining what goes where and assigning boundaries, it can be helpful to look at the real world for lessons learned.  Imposing boundaries in unnatural locations is bound to fail sooner or later, the results can be disastrous taking generations to overcome.

Take for example Southern Africa. Oceans, mountains, deserts, vegetation and other natural features determined where people lived and worked.

 

Physical Geography and Natural Vegetation
from Exploring Africa at Michigan State University 

Over time, people settled in various areas surrounded by their culture. Learning the best ways to be productive based on the conditions in their area – whether it was a jungle with vast resources or a desert with very few. 

From Africa Expat

Ancient people such as the Shona in modern day Zimbabwe congregated and stuck together in different areas.  Many of these languages and traditions continue today. But these curving, natural, and emergent boundaries don’t match boundaries imposed from outside cultures.

From Wikimedia Commons

Occasionally, an imposed boundary may coincide with a natural boundary such as a river.  More often though, imposed boundaries are designed to work within larger more global schemes, without paying enough attention to the local impact.

From Wikimedia Commons

Anyone can see where arbitrarily drawing lines has gotten us today.  What can be learned from history to avoid similar situations in the fresh, clean, brand new digital world where ideas and information are still patterning out and have no where in particular to belong except where they are emerging as “next to something else” or arranged for convenient, all encompassing, upper level views

Linked Open Data, Colored, as of March 2009

What about situations where digital terrain and intellectual data boundaries are being purposefully laid out. For example Master Web of Science, mapofscience.com and Places & Spaces where navigating the data is like exploring uncharted territory, and Katy Borner and collaborators seek to enable the discovery of new worlds while also marking territories inhabited by unknown monsters.


The difference in the semantic world versus the physical world should be that the digital world has no constraints like rivers or mountains. Eventually all of the layout can be determined.  Attention does need to be paid to where cultures are emerging, and how this can benefit everyone both globally and locally.

 Not only watch how the semantic web is emerging, but to direct it’s flow in productive ways, geared for people in different areas that may vary widely in their density and resources, rather than as one empire. Because that only causes trouble in the long run.

Layout Algorithm, NYU

Data Mining at Information and Visualization

Random Layout Algorithm at Cell System Markup Language (CSML) an XML format for modeling, visualizing and simulating biopathways.

The advantage of paying attention to this is, reaching an appropriate balance between random emergence and directed flow will ultimately serve end users and programmers better than any other option, and the solutions will last for a long time.


Communities of Practice at NASA

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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

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Exponential Documentation vs Just Building

cathedral

Compressive Transverse Section of a Typical Gothic Cathedral from Bearing Walls: Monolithic Masonry Construction, Columbia University

People tend to assume the way things are done now is the way they have been done forever which is not always true. For example, the thrilling video Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Photosynth Demo shows a sequence where Flickr images are assembled to form Notre Dame cathedral.

coneshand
One geometry can be put together from different view points and angles because we know what Notre Dame cathedral looks like now.  In comparison, trying to decipher the geometry of knowledge being built over time, or precisely reconstruct the topology of similar idea and information exchanges, is very difficult because the geometry of the end result is not known yet.  There is not one existing structure to assemble the different points of views and angles to a single structure.

Surprisingly, according to Brian Bowen of Georgia Tech and the newly forming Construction History Society, it turns out many builders of the old cathedrals did not know what they were doing ahead of time either.   Scholarly research indicates there are only approximately 3000 drawings and 400 contracts from the medieval period.  Paper was not available and papyrus was simply to expensive.  More often than not, plaster was used as a temporary canvas to depict parts of the building until that stage was complete.  New plaster was applied on top to show the next phase of work.  Thomas Jefferson used similar techniques in the design and construction of the University of Virginia.  The masons controlled the execution, often changing their minds part way through the construction process.

Today, the contract documents for 1 building may be comprised of 3000 drawings with 400 contracts and subcontracts = the entire history and all of the documentation left of the medieval period.  3000 and 400 are the quantities that can be validated now, maybe scholars will discover more records in the future, especially if these records can be pieced together by subject matter or physical location.

The whole world of buildings and geography is being constructed and documented both backwards and forwards in time.  At some point instead of documentation rising exponentially, hopefully the tide will reverse to become smaller, shared records of places stepping back in time and detail as needed.

Now when you see a video like 1 Week of Artworks

flower

cover

startover

It makes more sense that perhaps semantic space can be built in a controlled and creative fashion without knowing the optimal geometry of the end result.  This is actually history repeating itself from other monumental efforts in the past.

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Single Point of Failure

Duane Nickull Senior Standards Strategist for Adobe Systems set forth a set of goals on Ontolog Forum
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Start thinking about the 2008 Ontology Summit

+ Free public API’s where organizations with folksonomies (tag clouds often represent these), can link terms in their folksonomies to disambiguate words like “Washington” which may have several meanings.

+ a system architecture with no single point of failure and a flexible service oriented approach to creating a platform for ontology work on the web.

+some artifacts to explain in simple lay terms, how to use the ontology and how to reference items in it from taxonomies and folksonomies with simple context and event declarations.

+ a strong thrust of work on context.

…which lit a fire of discussion over the term context.

Implementing Duane Nickull’s stated goals would benefit the general public in a number of ways. But there are unanswered questions for example: What is meant by a single point?

SinglePoint

Single Point Perspective by Mark Reeves

 

What system features fail and how can the single points of such failures be diffused to enable functional workarounds on the fly?

Diffuse

The behavior of a perfectly diffuse, or Lambertian, surface is described with the help of this figure by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in their remote sensing tutorial.

 

Duane Nickull states the following in response “Single point of failure in (Service Oriented and System) Architecture is a concept whereby one component has the power to render a larger set of components useless if it fails. When architecting ebXML, the W3C Web Services Architecture and the United Nations architecture, we employed multiple failsafes such as a federation of registries instead of a single registry repository since the single one represented a potential point of failure. Even if we employed multiple registry-repositories and syndicated master records from one, the one represented a single point of failure. Instead, all these architectures use a system of high water marks and federation (much like DNS for the internet) to guarantee no single point of failure can bring the entire infrastructure down”


SCIP, meaning the Stanford Computer Industry Project, reports “major computer industry problems such as interoperability, systems errors and project failures are in large part software problems.”

collapse

Collapse the Light into Earth by ~EvidenceE~

 

The other SCIP, meaning Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice, has lively discussions about failures. Everything from a wood floor product failing in adhesion, to windows not passing performance tests, to buildings falling down and exit doors failing to operate during an emergency. What emergencies are caused by the single point of failure in a system architecture?

systemcollapse

System Collapse by isbsh

 

In the real world, people get trapped in a nightclub fire and exit devices are not only invented, they are required by building codes and local laws. Where do ontology users get trapped?

Trapped

Day 30: Trapped Inside a Migraine by Susan and her 5d’s

Who maintains the system of building codes and laws to avoid system wide failures caused by single points in semantic space? In the case of an exit door in physical space, the point of failure is the unfortunate fact there is only one way out, the opening might be too narrow, and untrained people do not know how to operate the locks or control the flow.

Locks in Hugh Moore Park 6 by Mareboy

Locks in Hugh Moore Park 6 by Mareboy

The Construction Specification Institute CSI has a discussion forum on Code Interpretation and Failures. Because building the physical world is already an established process, the roles of contractor, architect and engineer are defined. Are the only architects designing “system architecture with no single point of failure and a flexible service oriented approach to creating a platform for ontology work on the web” actually engineers? Who are the Contractors and Owners of these semantic spaces and designs?

design

Palais de congres de Montreal 2 by Cocolinda

The CSI discussion on code interpretation and failures include contractors points of view “with a lot less time to research the code requirements than the Architect and the Engineer that already have the contract to produce construction documents, would it not be the proper thing to just list the requirements , instead of putting the responsibility on all the bidders to research code requirements which only one bidder will be successful?”

 

Architects designing systems without single points of failure are researching which code requirements? Common Logic? Conceptual Graphs? ISO Standards? Yet, outside of failures to communicate which could be caused by crossed wires between originators and interpreters for a million reasons – what are the current worse case scenarios? What fails, falls down, breaks and blocks the path of progress? What checklists are used to contract the Architects, Engineers, and Contractors for large scale public projects? What construction documents are available to end users as if the plans, specifications, and warranties were in the hands of a condo board, comprised of lawyers, waiting for their windows to leak?

leak

Its Time to Break Up by Nobel4

 

 

What are the warranties against failure? Failure of what? Adhesion? Not passing performance testing? Emergency response or instantaneous reconfiguration, opening up, structural disappearance or collapse to allow large scale escape during an emergency? Has the digital age faced these emergencies yet?

 

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Breaking into Constructable Parts

Favorite quote from Edward J. Barkmeyer in the Manufacturing Systems Integration Division at National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

“….the problem is that Internet is still the big city of the Middle Ages. We know how to build all kinds of buildings and we have a lot of demand for them and a lot of construction of various kinds and qualities going on. But no one is responsible for much of it, we have no civil engineering discipline, we have no land use planning, we have random patchworks of streets, we are carrying the water on foot in buckets from the most convenient well, we have no police force and no fire brigade, we have sewage problems, crime problems and frequent plagues. Some communities thrive and some die out, and we don’t really understand why. And yet people keep coming here, because there is education, and jobs, and entertainment, and money to be made. Ultimately, technology enabled us to get control of it, and fires and plagues forced us to. But it took 7 centuries. I hope the Internet experience is shorter.”

4CMILastYear

 

Collage made for CADD Microsystems June 2006

PROBLEMS:

Complex Geometry

Breaking into Constructable Parts

Automated layer reduction for repeated assemblies

Checking the drawings and project requirements

Calculating estimates and pricing

Showing the extent of materials

Showing work by each contractor

Showing dependent work sequences

Standard layers, symbols, & drawing notations

Automated placement of call outs and details

Sloppy drawings, inconsistent terms & symbols

Danger of a facility wide error or omission

How do Contractors and Owners participate?

What is dynamic?

Can models document the construction and operation processes?

Can progress photos be overlaid and fit to the drawings as construction moves forward?

What do they do in this place?
What is the status of the inventory?
Where are the collection elements?
What are the specifications of those environments?

Humanizing the spaces and materials
Default scale and perspectives

Tracking better combinations for cost efficiency and aesthetics

Sharing one up to date approved model over time

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