Western cities manage their buried utilities through a large number of distinctive owners. This current fragmentation of the utility sector, and the poor registration of utility locations in the past has created an underground puzzle containing data pieces with different formats, accuracies, and completeness. We argue that virtual technologies address this problem but require that basic modelling conditions be fulfilled first. To structure this discussion, we use literature on Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies in construction. BIM supports construction management tasks through the use of object-based parametric design models. This enables 3D and 4D design reviews as well as multi-stakeholder scheduling and planning. Furthermore, BIM integration with geospatial data enables the on-site use of construction data for facility management. Based on the experiences from our lab, we explain that the utility sector should train engineers in 3D utility mapping, and develop 3D/4D underground data models for design, scheduling, and maintenance. Such 3D models consequently integrate with other geospatial data to support risk analysis, construction site decision making, and on-site Virtual Reality applications. Our lab currently works on these needs together with industry. It seeks collaboration with other partners that also contribute to BIM for buried infrastructure.


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