By Data Day Committee (Tammy Adolf, Andrew Cole, Moses Scott, and Arif Hanif)

DBEI’s Data Day celebrated its fifth birthday online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. While it was unfortunate that attendees couldn’t gather in person this year, it was great to see that the enthusiasm for data-centric discussions and learnings has not waned. 

Thank you to our presenters, sponsors and attendees for a successful Data Day Online. The event took place over 4 dates in July where we received over 50 registrations across 8 countries, of which 40 attended the live sessions.

All sessions were recorded and are available on-demand for registered attendees and DBEI Associate and Professional members. If you missed the event this year, the Data Day Committee have recapped key takeaways from each session below.

Collaborating before the Model and Start Collaborating around Data (Brok Howard, dRofus)

Brok’s presentation and roundtable were a fitting start to the launch of our event. His topic of discussion was on how we should not just focus on the model data but really start coordinating data as soon as a project kicks off.

He did a great job navigating this complicated subject and explained what value it can bring to the entire design team, contractors and eventually, the owners and operators of the building. It became evident by the end of the session that the AEC industry has a long road ahead to create data standards and delivery methods.

Excel for Design Professionals (Patrick Knee, HG Architects) 

Our previous event attendees have suggested that a session on Excel would be helpful for design professionals, which is why we decided to host a session on this topic. Patrick did a marvellous job of walking through the basics of using Excel to review and visualize different information. His use of a non-AEC data sample (in this case, boardgames) was insightful and refreshing. 

Sometimes presentations using data sets that we are all familiar with make it harder for attendees to focus on what is being done and shown because we instead focus on what similar datasets in our offices would look like and how we might visualize them. Patrick’s session was a reminder that we are always surrounded by data. Hence why having the ability to visualize and analyze data can be useful, even outside the office.

Revit Dashboards the cheap and easy way (Jason Kunkel, CADD Microsystems)

Jason’s presentation provided sound clarity on the accessibility of managing your data and how to communicate insights. From basic steps of data maintenance to understanding how to easily communicate your findings, the presentation demonstrated a strong starting point for those  looking for  the answer to “what can I learn from my BIM model?”

The importance of communicating data visually was put on in a big way during Jason’s presentation when understanding Model Integrity. Dashboarding tools have never been more accessible, and when used in conjunction with simple data exports from Revit, great insights can be leveraged to improve many aspects of BIM daily life. Throughout the interactive presentation, Jason brought along an interactive example workflow to Microsoft PowerBI environment. The session highlighted how to communicate answers to the questions you’d ask of your data from attaching data, manipulating data structure, and visualizing on the canvas.

Revit. A One-stop Data Shop (Eileen Phan & Timon Hazell, Walter P Moore)

Are you interested in adopting an enterprise-level strategy for Data Management? In this presentation and roundtable discussion, Timon and Eileen summarized how their company has shifted its delivery process from a traditional one (which commonly resulted in information loss) to a Data-Centric one, which makes information more transparent, up-to-date, and constructible.

As the title suggests, Eileen and Timon described Revit as the chief repository for project data, however, their continuously-improving protocol is designed around the capability to move, enhance, and validate data regardless of what software is demanded of the project. 

Key parts of the process that Eileen and Timon described included; creating identity schemas that tell a story for each model element, attaching Meta-Data to projects to improve project clarity, creating Central Information Databases to aide in data interoperability, and using parametric tools to keep model geometry up to date.

Timon and Eileen described that a data-centric approach improved client-relationships while at the same time improving project outcomes. They gave project-specific examples of their results which supported their techniques and strategy.

Methods for Collecting data on the use of computation (Richard Schmitt and Dana DeFilippi, SmithGroup)  

There is a growing population of custom scripts being deployed in our workflow, but how do we ensure which scripts are performing as we expect? Richard and Dana presented how implementing data loggers and visualizing usage data allows for a better understanding of the effectiveness of the digital computational toolkits communities spend time building.

This was a great presentation for computational designers or AEC scripters to understand the value of implementing logging methods and to ask questions of their scripts. Asking questions that better understand the value of their scripts; such as runtime, user data, and project deployment – teams are able to identify value propositions for implementing new methods of supporting team workflows, new opportunities for task automation, and better project deliverables.

Big Data for Big Projects (Tadeh Hakopian, HMC Architects)  

We were very happy to have Tadeh close out Data Day Online with his presentation on Big Data.  In fact, he summed up his own presentation with “there’s plenty of data all around you, just collect and use it”, which further emphasises Patrick’s session where we learned that our day to day lives are full of data just waiting to be mined. Tadeh’s presentation gave a good summary of where data can be found and collected in our industry to visualize and leverage in order to make good construction and business decisions, not just for the different phases of projects but also for internal business operations. He also reminded us that data is an asset and in order for us to keep up and move towards the future, we need to ensure that we have a road-map for Data Asset Management and Data Analysis; to get the most value out of every project. 

Tadeh’s presentation was a great ending as our final presentation as it really reinforced a lot of what we learned earlier from the previous Data Day sessions, and reaffirmed that data is here to stay and the use of it and reliance on it is only going to grow. Below is one of his final slides, and I think it is a good summation of some of the most important take-aways from Data Day Online.

Finally, thank you once again to our Data Day Online Sponsors; Gold Partner dRofus and Supporting Partner Ideate Software for making this event possible. We look forward to bringing together more Data Professionals in person next year in Denver!

Access the recordings for Free as an Associate or Professional DBEI Member. Find out more about DBEI Membership here.

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