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Is Australia leading the way in building data standardization?

Is Australia leading the way in building data standardization

These days, we hear a lot about BIM and IFC files, but did you know that civil engineers and surveyors in Australia have been using a similar standard for years? They call it ADAC.

Why Australia?

Local governments in Queensland needed to store the location and details of billions of dollars worth of buried pipes, and all the other communal assets that they manage -- roads, sewers, drinking fountains, bike racks etc. They formed a consortium and developed an .xml file format called 'ADAC' (Assets Designed and As-Constructed).

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Aerial view of Brisbane and the Brisbane River, Queensland. Image credit: free aussie stock

The various designers and builders of new suburbs in Australia use many different CAD and engineering programs. The different councils who need to store this information use different GIS systems. A common data format was needed to allow communication between these organizations and to provide a framework for data 'hygiene'.

How ADAC is solving the problem

People have tried doing this with drawings, spreadsheets, scraps of paper and proprietary software solutions for years, resulting in insufficient discipline and often zero validation -- the collected data can be rubbish. In contrast, the ADAC standard revolves around an XML schema definition file (.xsd), which defines all the mandatory and optional fields of information needed for each asset type. For example: a water supply pipe has a diameter and a material. (In such a case, valid pipe materials are chosen from a drop-down list.)

Twenty councils and authorities have adopted ADAC so far. They require designers and surveyors to submit asset data in this format.

Using ADAC in BricsCAD

There are implementations running on design applications such as 12d Model®, AutoCAD® and BricsCAD.

The BricsCAD version is called "ADACX". After drawing plans of a subdivision, the user can identify lines and polylines in the drawing as pipes, cadastre lots, road edges etc. and then fill in the needed data fields. The data is all stored within the drawing. Then ADACX can generate a validated .xml file from the drawing. Also, given an ADAC .xml file, ADACX can recreate the drawing providing a complete 'round trip' process for checking and verification.

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The ADAC schema is constantly being revised, e.g. to add new asset types and properties. So in ADACX, the user interface uses the asset properties as defined in the schema. When a new schema is released, the program rewrites its user interface automatically. And this can be tricky -- some properties appear and disappear. For example, the dimensions of a rectangular drainage pit are 'Length' and 'Width. But if the pit is circular, 'Length' and 'Width' are replaced by 'Diameter'.

The designer

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Mick Duprez

ADACX was developed by Mick Duprez at Duprez Construction Services in the sleepy seaside village of Geringong, New South Wales. Mick started out as a bricklayer and stonemason before moving into steel fabrication constructing sheds, garages and aircraft hangers. From that, he got interested in structural steel design and detailing software and programming and has been happily writing code for almost 20 years in many programming languages. When he's not cutting code, Mick is also a surfer, carpenter and a surfboard designer/shaper. He rides a Harley Sportster and he plays drums in a band!

Ready to get started with ADACX?

Easy to try, easy to buy, easy to own. That's BricsCAD®. Try it, free for 30 days at www.bricsys.com. Freedom of choice, plus perpetual (permanent) product licenses that work with all languages, in all places. You'll love what we've built for you with the BricsCAD® product family.

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