goBIM™ : the first BIM iPhone app
Hold the presses, the day has arrived! It seems just in time for the release of the iPad - due this Saturday - a cunning developer has created what looks like the first BIM app for the iPhone + of course the iPad. (and no I promise...this is not an April fools gag)
A few weeks ago I had talked about the possibility of Graphisoft bringing out an iPad / iPhone app for viewing 3D BIM models - similar to their Archicad project viewer ‘Virtual Building Explorer’ - but it seems this guy has beat everyone to the punch.
It's called goBIM™ - write that down! ...or you know, just click the iTunes link at the end.
So as I understand it, the designer Ian Keough independently created goBIM™ to solve the problem of viewing real-time 3D BIM models outside the office. It essentially allows the user to navigate through 3D models created by a BIM (Building Information Modelling) application, and view their associated data. It’ll run on all the iPhone models + iPod touch, though with significant speed increase with the more powerful models, and the developer is said to be creating a separate iPad app that will take advantage of the capabilities it offers.
At the moment it can only handle small size files - roughly 4Mb - in its own ‘.gbm’ format, apparently chosen over say ‘.dwf’ or other widely used formats because ASCII is text-based and much simpler than binary format of ‘dwf’, though in the future it will possibly evolve into ‘.xml’. Sparing any more geeky terms, the point is that with the text-based format, it will be simpler for companies to write an exporter for the app.
Sadly so far there are no Archicad or Vectorworks Architect exporters, the ones that exist have been written for Revit, Rhino, and Digital Project. This has nothing to do with - in any sense - favouritism, but rather the developer has expressed that those three are the ones he uses and knows well. He is excited though to get some developers growing the API into other exporters for CAD + BIM applications.
The way goBIM™ works at the moment is it exports a the .gbm file, which is then uploaded to the web / server, where it can then be viewed within a browser by typing in the URL - though the developer is looking into a way of exporting models straight from to the iPhone, most possibly syncing over Wifi. Even though it’s technically still in the ‘beta’ stages of development, it’s a very promising start to a BIM app revolution - and I can’t wait Archicad exporter....hint hint...nudge nudge Ian!
To learn more about goBIM™, go straight to the goBIM app on iTunes.
Senior Technical Designer
Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, LLC. (New York)