buildingSMART Forums

A specific BIM software open source?

Hello, my name is José, I am an architect and software developer and I work at a public university in Argentina (UNPaz).
From the Argentine universities, we want to obtain an open source BIM modeler within a reasonable time.
We are interested in the digital transformation in our country being done with open source software. We have relieved Freecad and Blender (with plugins) but so far it does not seem feasible to replace Revit or Archicad with these tools. Especially since to replace them it is necessary to extract the construction documentation from the 3D model, and in that aspect both solutions seem to be far behind.
We greatly appreciate the effort that many of you are making and we want to contribute.
We are building an organization that brings together our university programmers to get down to work and speed up the times of obtaining an open source BIM modeler.
We do not know whether to start working on the Freecad platform (fundamentally oriented to mechanics) or Blender (oriented to 3D animation).
Wouldn’t it be better to take the best of each (including Inkscape for 2D drawing) and create a new BIM-oriented open source organization? We could adhere to the ifcopenshell and maintain a constant exchange with Freecad and Blender, but focusing development in the BIM world.
I see incredible people like @yorik and @Moult whose opinion interests me a lot. From here in Argentina we could contribute resources from our universities to support the project.
If what I propose is crazy do not hesitate to criticize me with the corresponding vehemence.
Best regards,

Good morning @joselaks! I’m thrilled to hear you are excited about the work @yorik and I are doing :slight_smile:

FreeCAD has been around quite some time, but did not start with architecture as its focus, from my understanding. This is similar to Blender, also didn’t have architecture as its focus.

In fact, prior to building the BlenderBIM Add-on, I had contributed a bit to the FreeCAD codebase, and similarly, Yorik also has a history with Blender. I personally do not see any advantage in choosing one open-source platform, either FreeCAD or Blender, and then pouring the efforts into that - because they both have strengths! When using free software in delivering live commercial projects, I use both Blender, FreeCAD, as well as Inkscape, CloudCompare, The GIMP, you name it! I use the tool best suited to the job, and I believe @yorik does the same. Actually, under the hood, FreeCAD and Blender share many libraries - we share IfcOpenShell for IFC, we share the BCF parsing code, and we share the geolocation code, and are increasing to share!

In fact, there are some experimental partial editing features where Blender can be used to edit parts of an IFC, and then FreeCAD can be used to edit another part of the IFC, and then another tool can extract a portion of the IFC for futher analysis, and so on. This allows IFC data to be treated as a native format database, which everybody extracts a portion, modifies, and updates the IFC database. This workflow has proven very promising and is unlike anything ever seen in the proprietary world, which wants to keep all their data in one place.

I believe that investing efforts to develop this decentralised “database-like” workflow further would be very, very good. For instance, if construction documentation tools are lacking, help build construction documentation tools that can extract a portion from an IFC, document, and re-update with the 2D data back in the IFC.

There is plenty more to discuss, but perhaps its best to have a call with both @yorik and me as a start? These buildingSMART forums are not meant to focus on a single vendor, so this forums is perhaps the wrong place to further discuss, and I do not want to distract from the buildingSMART topics.

The good news is that I have now started - a free software community for people who want to push free software for an end-to-end pipeline in delivering and maintaining our built environment. Perhaps start a new thread there :slight_smile: You will find @yorik there too!

There is also a monthly online meetup, the first one starting next week, on Saturday 8pm UTC in April 4th 2020. See this and this. After the call, perhaps we can continue to chat. I will also give a demo of Blender during the call.

There is also - and in particular this page which may be of interest:

Oh, also maybe of interest:


Thanks @Moult for de reply !!
See you at the OSArch Community.

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