Visualization, communication and copresence: using building information models in virtual worlds
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In the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, work in distributed teams is becoming more common, adoption of building information modeling (BIM) is increasing, and effective time management is essential to remain competitive. BIM is a powerful technology, but the current method of sharing and collaborating with BIM, typically on a shared screen where viewpoints are controlled by one person as others passively observe, limits interaction with the building information model which, in turn, may hinder cross-discipline communication and understanding of issues. In this dissertation, a 3D virtual world as a collaboration medium is examined as a potential way to engage a team with BIMs for more effective and efficient collaboration. Participants were asked to navigate the 3D models by creating an avatar and entering a virtual world into which their building models had been imported. The ability to explore the avatar-sized model in a 3D environment with members of the team also present in the virtual space allowed the team members to find and reach agreement about issues in the model at a much faster rate than those who were sharing their model on a shared screen with one person in control of the viewpoint, indicating that viewing 3D models in a 3D environment with members of the team increases productivity during the construction design and coordination process.
- Built environment