Geotech IE

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The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is operating the OGC Geotech Interoperability Experiment (IE). This IE is assessing the integration of geotechnical engineering data encoded in different specifications within Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) environments.

The goal of this IE is to ensure that geotechnical engineering data can seamlessly move between GIS and BIM environments to support engineering and infrastructure projects that rely upon those technologies. The IE will leverage OGC and buildingSMART International (bSI) Standards.

IE participants are working to publish an OGC Engineering Report (ER) that summarizes the activities of the IE, describes the suitability of the experiments for more broad use, and provides a description of gaps and further necessary experimentation, if any.

The Call For Participation (CFP) for this IE describes the effort in more detail. 


This IE is open to the general public. Participants are required to make a resource commitment and include technical experts from non-OGC organizations. Other individuals from non-OGC organizations are allowed in the IE as Observers. Any OGC member may register as an Observer.

Join the project mailing list and/or follow the project GitHub repository and contribute to the IE.

Participants and Observers join the founding organizations of the IE. Founding organizations are:

  • MINnD (Modélisation des informations interopérables pour les infrastructures durables) National Project, France
  • Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), France


The objectives of the IE include:

  • Align OGC and bSI conceptual models for geotechnical engineering and define possible calls to approved and in-development OGC APIs from bSI IFCs;
  • Consider the IFC Geotechnical extensions for infrastructure, especially the work done by IFC Tunnel for the description of geotechnics;
  • Extend existing OGC Standards for geoscience accordingly;
  • Draft a Technical Paper for coordinated management between OGC and bSI for geotechnical data management;
  • Draft technical documentation on the use of OGC APIs for this application domain; and
  • Draft implementation guidance for software publishers. 


The extension of Industry Foundation Classes (IFCs; also approved by ISO and CEN as ISO 16739-1:2020) to geotechnics allows the description of semantic objects commonly used to observe and describe the environment of an infrastructure. Thanks to this advance, drawing and describing these geotechnical objects from a BIM tool and then sharing the information becomes possible.

However, in geotechnical engineering, much of the data is usually already available and described in other formats, particularly in some GIS format or encoded based on an OGC Standard such as GML. Having to re-enter the same data “for BIM” is both an effort and offers risk of error. Being able to use and read the data provided as an OGC encoding would thus constitute a significant gain for the user and would make the processing chain more fluid.

This project aims to propose a solution in this area and thus contribute to improving GIS – BIM continuity. Among other things, the project organizers aim to exploit the standardization resources already available from the OGC and other organizations as an input for OpenBIM resources. This work is illustrated by geotechnical data.

A proof of concept of this approach was completed and presented at the buildingSmart International Summit in Beijing in November 2019. The project described aims to build on this work and make this practice more standardized.


BIM, buildingSMART, Smart Cities

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