Authors: Paulo Ivson, Daniel Nascimento, Waldemar Celes, Simone DJ Barbosa
Abstract: Building Information Modeling (BIM) provides an integrated 3D environment to manage large-scale engineering projects. The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry explores 4D visualizations over these datasets for virtual construction planning. However, existing solutions lack adequate visual mechanisms to inspect the underlying schedule and make inconsistencies readily apparent. The goal of this paper is to apply best practices of information visualization to improve 4D analysis of construction plans. We first present a review of previous work that identifies common use cases and limitations. We then consulted with AEC professionals to specify the main design requirements for such applications. These guided the development of CasCADe, a novel 4D visualization system where task sequencing and spatio-temporal simultaneity are immediately apparent. This unique framework enables the combination of diverse analytical features to create an information-rich analysis environment. We also describe how engineering collaborators used CasCADe to review the real-world construction plans of an Oil & Gas process plant. The system made evident schedule uncertainties, identified work-space conflicts and helped analyze other constructability issues. The results and contributions of this paper suggest new avenues for future research in information visualization for the AEC industry.