In our last article on the GovDesignHub, we featured part one of a two-part conversation with Jose Covarrubias, the BIM/CAD Manager at the Tampa International Airport. In his short time since joining the airport, Jose has been working to bring together all of its past and present CAD, BIM and GIS data to ensure that it is aggregated and easily accessible to the individuals that are responsible for managing, maintaining and repairing the airport’s facilities and terminals.
Much of his work with the airport will be discussed with attendees at the upcoming Digital Design Symposium, where Jose will be a featured speaker and presenter.
However, there is a lot more going on at the Tampa International Airport than just maintenance of existing facilities. There is a future expansion in the works to help accommodate an expected increase in passengers. There are also new initiatives – including green initiatives – that will make the airport more efficient and environmentally conscious in the future.
To help make these things possible, Jose is turning to new technologies – from drones to BIM/GIS integrations. In part two of our two-part discussion, we talk about the future, how new technologies can benefit the airport and make life easier for employees, and what attendees to the upcoming Digital Design Symposium can expect to take away from Jose’s presentation.
Here is what he had to say:
GovDesignHub: Earlier in our discussion, I heard you say that you’re looking to start utilizing drones around the airport. What use case is there for implementing drones at the Tampa International Airport?
Jose Covarrubias: The GIS team benefits greatly from access to aerial imagery. Traditionally, we get this imagery from satellites, but that’s expensive. Because of the cost, we only get satellite aerial imagery about once a year. But that imagery is important. It can help us to determine what large, macro changes have been made to the airport. It can also be used to document large outside projects – such as changes to taxiways or changes to utilities like pipes and gas lines.
If we’re relying on expensive satellite imagery, we’re limited by price as to how often we can update those images. Drones are far less expensive. We could conceivable send up a drone every few days to keep tabs on changes and document work that is done or is being done.
I know other airports even do runway inspections with drones – and that’s something that we could explore in the future. But, for now, I’d like to use them for monitoring what has changed so that we have real-time, up-to-date images of the airport.
GovDesignHub: We’re seen some recent announcements from Esri and Autodesk that are going to result in better integration of GIS and BIM data and applications. How is this useful for a large facility, such as the Tampa International Airport?
Jose Covarrubias: In my experience, GIS has been more based on environmental science and covers huge areas. GIS can cover the entire world. With BIM and CAD, your focus is just on a small area – a building or a town. But I’m starting to see those boundaries blur and get closer and closer every year. That’s great to me because then you can combine building information and geographical information.
CAD and BIM is what’s used by the architects and engineers to design a building – like a hotel. GIS is all about location and coordinates. It’s the information that tells you where the hotel goes. For small projects, the architects don’t care about the GIS data because they don’t need that information.
However, when you’re talking about an airport, you’re talking about multiple buildings in one area, some of which interact. In that situation, you need to ensure that those buildings are in the right location. That’s when the BIM and GIS data need to integrate.
With the integration of BIM and GIS, you can import BIM files into a GIS application and [the proposed building designs are] going to display in the right place. And that’s a huge advantage, since you don’t need to move or rotate your design to make it match the real world. This is helping to make the interactions between the design teams and GIS teams easier and simplify the workflows.
GovDesignHub: You’re going to be presenting at the upcoming Digital Design Symposium in Tampa on October 16. What do you hope attendees at the symposium will take away from your presentation?
Jose Covarrubias: During my presentation, I’m going to be talking about the airport and how we’re using Autodesk tools. I’ll talk about why we chose Autodesk, specifically, for our BIM applications and information. I’ll also be talking about what’s next for the airport – how we’ll be using new technology.
What I’m most excited to share with the attendees is how the convergence of BIM, GIS and CAD information is making things easier, more efficient and more cost effective across the airport. I want to show attendees how that information is being used to save time and money.
For example, just a few weeks ago, we finished our cleanable areas plan and utilized it to get an accurate area reading for our janitorial contract. By using Revit for that area measurement, we saved a substantial amount of money per year in this contract – in contrast to the old CAD method of measuring area.
I want people to see how easy it can be to acquire information from BIM and BIM 360 Docs. I want to share with them how they can manipulate BIM 360 Docs and incorporate real time changes. I want them to see how all of that data can be accessible from anywhere, in the palm of their hands. If you need to check floorplan or a door type, just go in and check with two clicks and you have the information you need.