User feedback from survey

A few months ago we asked users to help us improve. You gave feedback in an  online survey. Today we present the first results. In October we present the full results at the CIB conference.

The survey shows that the spectrum of BIMserver.org users spans 15 countries.  Most respondents have learned about the project by word of mouth. A third of the respondents are commercial end-users from architectural, engineering or consultant SMEs, followed by software developers (23%) and academic researchers (16%). Service providers and academic lecturers using the platform for teaching purposes complete the spectrum of users.
The platform is actively used by 5 people on average per server instance, with reported peaks of 60 parallel users during a collaborative pilot test. Additional informal feedback showed the capability of the platform to handle large, diverse models, even though powerful hardware was mandatory and collaboration was often slowed down by mismatching sub model coordinates and other (non technical) management issues. The BIMserver.org platform is mostly used in the design development stage of a project (32%) with pre-design (20%) and construction (15%) as the runners up and occasional applications during schematic design, procurement and operation. Revit™ (26%), ArchiCad™ (25%) and Solibri™ (12%) are the dominant applications used as source or target applications by the users, and a majority (57%) of the respondents made earlier use of collaboration platforms, tools and model servers, among which are dedicated IFC model servers (14%) and proprietary model servers (24%).
The model merging capabilities of the BIMserver.org platform are both the most used (26%) and the most important (46 % ranked them as “very important”) features indicated by the respondents. Revision management (22%), simple queries and filters (16%) as well as advanced queries and rules (12%) are also frequently used.
Not to our surprise, the biggest obstacles for an effective use of the platform were neither the memory use (18%), nor the operation speed (12%) but the usability of the provided client user interface (24%) and the visualization (18%). Only a small number of respondents were unhappy with the stability of the system. By far, the most important external factor limiting the usefulness of the system is the lacking quality and compliance of IFC models exported from the source applications (42%), followed by the import capabilities of target applications (21%) and the absence of interoperability with specialized domain specific tools (18%). A tighter integration of the overall workflow e.g. by means of IDM or the coupling with document management systems and the capabilities of the IFC model schema itself are considered only minor shortcomings in comparison to the import and export.

We want to thank everybody that gave feedback (either through the survey or other means). The only way for an open source project to become successful is on active participation of the community. Feel free to keep sending us bugs, feedback, ideas and suggestions. Thank you very much.

Why IFC, and why BIMserver.org?

Why use IFC, and why did we develop BIMserver.org? Really basis questions that we don’t think about any more after so many years…. During the BIMserver Breakfast Leonardo Manzione from Brazil was kind enough to ask us these questions again and film the result. Below you will find a link to his youtube movie of his ‘interview’ with Léon van Berlo.

openBIMweek: BIM codesprint

During the openBIMweek 2011 inAmsterdam a BIM Codesprint was organized by the open source BIM network. During this codesprint enthusiastic developers were challenged by ZEEP Architects fromAmersfoort to build a webbased (WebGL) IFC viewer. As you know, there is a very buggy, beta WebGL viewer in BIMserver 1.0, but ZEEP has greater ambitions. Therefore a small team worked on a WebGL output using the ThreeJS library components. The result of this 12 hour codesprint is remarkable. The team created a viewer that has a live link to BIMserver component. By clicking on an object  (for example a wall) the object highlights and feeds the browser with the IFC GUID. This is the base for a completely new webbased IFC viewer. Please have a look at the source code or the screenshot. Credits go to the team on the photo below.