12 Nov 2017

Sam Nseir: Integrate BIM 360 data with PowerBI using R

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Sam Nseir is an Autodesk Building Information Modeling Premium Support Specialist who supports the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction and Engineering, Natural resources, and Infrastructure industries. As part of our efforts to help Autodesk BIM customers leverage Forge capabilities, Sam developed some examples of BIM 360 data with PowerBI.

Integrate BIM 360 data with PowerBI using R

BIM 360 products enable project teams to coordinate better, communicate more effectively, and resolve issues more quickly, resulting in faster and more efficient project delivery. As cloud-based software, BIM 360 products are designed with data at the center. Data analytics is part of the standard functionalities that are offered by BIM 360 products such as the analytics tab in BIM 360 Account Administration or the Project Overview tab in BIM 360 Field. With different teams having different use of the data, the in-product analytics might not answer all of the needs. Custom analytics could enable teams to drill down to specific details and identify correlations that would not have been possible otherwise. These days, one of the commonly used tools for custom analytics is "PowerBI." Power BI is a data analytics product from Microsoft that allows users to create reports and dashboards powered by interactive visualizations to analyze data. The question here is how do we integrate BIM 360 data with PowerBI?

Autodesk Forge offers a group of APIs that provide access to BIM 360 data such as BIM 360 API (for BIM 360 Account Administration) and Data Management API (for BIM 360 Docs). By utilizing Forge APIs, we can send BIM 360 Data for additional analytics. To connect BIM 360 data to PowerBI, Forge APIs calls can be made from within Power BI using R programming. R is an incredibly easy to learn programming language that is designed for statisticians and data scientists and can be executed in PowerBI. To access BIM 360 data using Forge APIs, a Forge app will need to be created and integrated with BIM 360 Account Administration. For more details, check the following articles:

The examples below are sample custom analytics that can be performed by integrating BIM 360 data with Power BI using R programming. Each example is provided with a Power BI template to test the integration, setup instructions, a GitHub repository to access the R script.


Example 1: Analyze documents’ attributes from a BIM 360 Docs project

The template in this example offers the ability to analyze documents’ attributes from a project in BIM 360 Docs. This type of analysis could help the project team in the document control process such as monitoring file types, naming convention, and file versioning for documents hosted on a BIM 360 Docs project.



Example 2: Analyze projects’ data from a BIM 360 Account

The template in this example allows us to examine profiles’ data projects from BIM 360 Account Administration. This type of data can be useful if integrated with data from maintenance and operation systems. It also can help in drilling down to details about projects such as locations, types, and values.



Example 3: Analyze companies’ data from a BIM 360 Account

The template in this example provides us with an insight into companies’ data from BIM 360 Account Administration. Companies’ information such as location and trade could be beneficial if mapped with data from enterprise resource planning systems (ERP).





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Scott Sheppard

Strategic Foresight Scott Sheppard (scott.sheppard@autodesk.com) has worked for Autodesk for 27 out of the last 29 years depending on if you count acquisitions and dot coms. Scott is now a Program Manager in the Autodesk Research working with Autodesk product managers to help Autodesk researchers transition new technologies into production-worthy cloud-based services using the Autodesk Forge platform.