CAD, GIS, & BIM Standards and Data Extract, Transform, and Load for GOAA

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

Orlando, FL

Associated Airports
Orlando International Airport
Orlando Executive Airport



Greater Orlando Aviation Authority manages Orlando International (MCO) and Orlando Executive (ORL) airports. Over the years the Authority has amassed huge volumes of CAD and GIS data representing the airside and landside facilities at its airports. Over the past few years, the Authority has also started receiving BIM data, especially for the South Terminal Complex infrastructure. The BIM data in particular contains valuable asset information and is of special interest to various departments including maintenance, operations, etc. As a result, the Authority is interested in integrating information from various sources, CAD, GIS & BIM into the existing GIS system and has tasked Woolpert with developing integrations for data translation between CAD, GIS and BIM.


GOAA, like many other airports, face a huge challenge when it comes to data quality, data silos and authoritative source of data. Often times agencies do not have comprehensive CAD, GIS and BIM standards or standards that are not in sync with each other, resulting in poor quality data deliverables and data that can’t be moved between the three formats to be shared with other airport systems and to be able to maintain single authoritative source of geospatial data at the airport. The current process for moving data from CAD to GIS involves a fully manual effort on part of the small geospatial team and is time consuming, tedious and slow, resulting in delays in dataset updates. BIM to GIS conversion currently involves first manually extracting BIM data to CAD format, fixing any extraction errors and then importing into GIS.


Woolpert understands the importance of good quality data and the importance of one source of geospatial data feeding multiple systems. This helps with maintaining the data, its quality and thus improve and maintain the confidence in organizational data. The first step in achieving this objective is to develop standards for CAD, GIS and BIM data in conjunction with each other to ensure synchronization between the standards so data transfer between the three formats can be facilitated without loss of data or quality. During the first phase of the project, Woolpert assisted GOAA with developing CAD, GIS and BIM Standards with the ultimate goal of facilitating data transfer between the three systems. As part of the second phase, crosswalk tables were developed for data translation from BIM to GIS, GIS to CAD and CAD to GIS. Stakeholder meetings with multiple departments were conducted to help identify assets and associated attributes that needed to be extracted from BIM deliverables for translation into GIS system. GIS being the hub for all geospatial data for the airport was the logical choice for maintaining this detailed asset information for the airport’s infrastructure. Woolpert next utilized the crosswalk tables to build data translation scripts using Safe Software’s FME Form application. These complex workbenches (scripts) read the incoming data, checked for topology issues, checked attribute values and converted attributes from one type to another (e.g. numeric to text) if necessary, formatted attributes as needed and extracted both the asset geometry and attribute values to be saved to a geodatabase for incorporating into GOAA’s live Enterprise GIS environment.


The new CAD, GIS and BIM standards being in sync with each other ensure easy data translation between the three formats with no loss of data during the translation process because the standards were written such that every bit of necessary geometry and attribute information in one system has a corresponding place in the other two systems.

The crosswalk tables and FME workbenches have helped automate data translation between the three systems. Because of the data checks built into these workbenches, GOAA is assured of a complete transfer of data from one system to the other in a process which now takes few minutes to few hours (depending on the size of the dataset) versus the days it used to take to move data between the systems. GIS is the authoritative source of geospatial data for GOAA, including the information being generated as part of the BIM deliverables. Other systems like asset management system can leverage the vast amount of asset related information from BIM deliverables via GIS in a mapping user interface familiar to the Authority’s staff. Woolpert The workbench has been configured to extract nearly 115 unique assets from BIM models with an average of 10 attributes for each asset to be translated into GIS environment.

Woolpert team conducted numerous meetings with staff members from multiple departments as well as one on one discussions with key stakeholders throughout the project duration and has learned some valuable lessons which will help with future implementations of the ETL process. Some of these lessons learned are listed below.

  • Manage client expectations of what BIM can do. (For example, the way certain assets are modelled may not translate at all or easily from BIM to GIS or CAD.)
  • Discuss the ROI on BIM deliverables based on Level of Details. Often times the LOD desired does not justify the effort needed to develop high LOD data from a return on investment perspective.
  • First step should be to create or update CAD, GIS and BIM standards to ensure they are in sync and to avoid having to update the standards again while developing crosswalk tables from BIM to GIS or CAD.
  • Develop crosswalk tables early on, as part of the standards development process.
  • Conduct needs assessment meeting, not just with Engineering & Construction, but also with Maintenance, IT, Concessions, Lease Management, Operations, Security and other departments.
  • Involve the Asset Management team from get go while writing the standards because that is the biggest driver of what will be extracted from BIM models in the future for data utilization by the asset management system.
  • Include a list of assets and attributes to be extracted as part of the BIM Standards.