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Book 1

Book 1 of Makers of the Environment

Want to build a business? You need an IT ecosystem.

Just thirty years ago, innovation in almost any category was measured in years, but today it’s measured in weeks or months. If you were to focus on information technology specifically you could even argue that change can occur in days — and that cycle will continue to accelerate…

Article from Feb. 4, 2012 by Mark Thiele executive VP of Data Center Tech at Switch, the operator of the SuperNAP data center in Las Vegas. Thiele blogs at SwitchScribe and at Data Center Pulse, where is also president and founder. He can be found on Twitter at @mthiele10

Why small cities are poised for success in an oil-starved future

Catherine Tumber, in Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World, finds potential in many busted and booming-again cities in the Northeast and Midwest,…

The following outlines the content and chapters of Makers of the Environment Book 1:

Interconnected models that focus on people, organizations and technology are among the data sets hosted by BIMSynergy. The instant that you create data and save it to a static file system the information is dated. The Onuma System’s ability to support data as a living resource and to interface with expert systems via webservices made it one of the first, and most critical, components. Schedule management, clash detection, financial management, value chain management, tagging and tracking, process automation, risk management, optimization and logistics are all supported by BIMSynergy. The SMART Connexion Server provides rules-based planning, real-life decision-making, geographic analysis and product life cycle coordination. BIMSynergy Is only one part of a global data modeling continuum.

Jun 1, 2019 Somerset County, MD

New tools and new ways of working pop up every day. By creating and managing information models with second order leadership tools, Cork Point created a system that defines how projects ought to happen. Cork Point projects are truly collaborative, reward for exemplary work, and are flexible enough to respond to change and new ways of doing business.


Even defining a wicked problem is in itself a wicked problem. Every wicked problem is essentially unique and can be considered a manifestation of another problem.


Systems focused processes that enable people to connect complex information and respond to new issues are a key to the future. By organizing around principles that allow people to learn new things that often have little to do with their current careers of specializations, we become more flexible and collaborative in our approach to the environment. With informed knowledge, one can consider the options and arrive at the optimal solution. Use technology and systems thinking to help find the ideal “big-picture” solution.


Technology that was once specific to the construction industry is no longer about designers, builders, or any other group; Technology is moving toward a world that is participatory and inclusive, and not hierarchical and expert driven.

Jul 1, 2019 Crisfield, MD

Information modeling loses much of its value if you can not get the information when you want it. We need standards, but people and archiving of information, are more critical yet. It took much soul-searching, research and energy, coupled with some pretty slick front end development to create BIMSynergy. We connect people with information, foster zero energy and other sustainable technology and let people work from anywhere at any time.

Why waste energy?

Throwing people at problems was not the solution. System thinking was natural to everyone but a lot of people never really develop their abilities. There was a lot of public comments about what people want. We knew some of the things that were creating problems in projects. We learned about how systems for managing technology and systems for managing people differed.

Infinite Solutions

Before information modeling technology became available few groups attempted to find real solutions to the larger problems that need wide public interaction. Project focused information models must be managed within a larger conceptual framework that integrates with geographic information, non-project business processes and other areas that both gain value and create value for the entire information model value proposition.

Sep 7, 2020 Princess Anne, MD

Use technology to improve processes to relieve the stresses on society and to become sustainable. Because of the complexity of the built environment, systems that give free exchange of information and transparent processes are the future. It is easy to understand that people benefit if they use technology to deliver more certainty of outcomes and better decision-making information, earlier in any process.

Wedding of technologies

Information Modeling, coupled with Geographic information Systems (GiS), relational databases, argumentation theory, ontology, socio-technical systems modeling, web services, the semantic web and the Internet are coming together to meet Toffler’s vision. Where planning once relied on vague generalities and “rules of thumb,” you can now simulate “real life” using readily annotated and qualified available tools.


Once industry leaders realized that models could become the vehicle to help people realize that the built environment is larger than design and construction, things began to change. Developers used the models to develop products, knowing where they fit into the system. Interconnected models that focus on people, organizations and technology are among the data sets hosted by BIMSynergy. The instant that you create information model data and save it to a static file system the information starts to go stale.

Fifth generation

We can create systems that leverage our knowledge to allow us to make better decisions. First-generation technology can be described as machine language. Fourth-generation technology enabled the development of commercial solutions that could use data with near human language. In order for us to take advantage of fifth-generation technologies we need to encourage a structured approach to information sharing. Ideally our solution will become the glue that lets people adjust to new needs and new situations, reusing data and tools within the system.


The construction industry wastes almost five times more than other industries. Where in other industries, a small number of technology creators can develop tools that support well-defined processes industry-wide, in the construction industry each group and subgroup seems to have different requirements.


Today many focus on using information modeling to make improvements to traditional design and construction processes. Too often tools are seen as nothing more than advanced software systems. Information modeling is about interaction and collaboration enhanced by technology. Integrated project delivery is not the end goal of information modeling. Mpost of what must be done with information modeling is best done with simple information models.


Some are sowing the seeds for the future. Others do little more than pick the “low hanging fruit” to capitalize on “what’s in it for me?” Others are little more than clouds obscuring traditional processes to make people think that they are getting the benefits of information modeling and integrated processes. Work with those capitalizing on the “low hanging fruit,” realizing that they are focusing on projects, rather than on the greater good for the built environment.

Nov 7, 2020 Westover, MD

Systems must allow for collaboration, financial system integration and connection with many other servers. At least part of the system is an open-standard Industry Foundation Class (IFC) Model Server fully configured with industry-standard data interchange, dictionaries and delivery manuals. Integrating IFC Model Server technology with Product Lifecycle Servers (PLCS) compensates for the limitations of IFC by adding the business support required for real-world integration. As the world moves toward managing assets and life cycle management of the built environment, IFC model servers will need to be supported by other systems.


The same tools that allow one to collaborate on the Internet, allow one to plan, create and manage the built environment in the ONUMA System. The ONUMA System and the ONUMA Model Server are key components of the SMART Connexion Server that provides rules-based planning, real-life decision-making, geographic analysis and product life cycle coordination within BIMSynergy. BIMSynergy Is only one part of a global data modeling continuum.


Model server utility companies such as BIMSynergy act much like the power generation facilities. Some Model server utility companies are behemoths but, the majority are small, relying on the grid for support and resources. For most people, the system’s value comes from making reliable information available when and where they need want and need it. Much of the revenue is earned from millions of people that take part in the ebb and flow of information through the system. BIMSynergy is a distributed grid, tying millions of model servers together.

Expert systems

The Onuma System was one of a small handful of systems that could actively support links to live information across the built environment life cycle. The system’s ability to support data as a living resource and to deal with expert systems via webservices made it one of the first, and most critical, components of BIMSynergy. The Onuma System demonstrated a number of key parts that BIMSynergy needed to address.

Rules-based systems

Not until 2012, did things actually start to change in the development of industry-wide systems. Using Capability Maturity Models as a high level planning tool, the development of information models accelerated. Previously software developers found themselves responding to meet individual and large clients desires, often missing the larger context.

Jun 15, 2022 Salisbury, MD

If one wants people to follow your standards, the standards must be simple. Even with interim standards and evolving tools, information modeling proven to be a more effective delivery system. As we learned to use resources and tools in new and more advanced ways, we produced a system that makes built environment information available to anyone, anytime that they need the data.

BIMSynergy Corporation

Those responsible for organizational information know that their data must be normalized to system standards, before their databases will be connected. Using simplified formats allow real-time connection of the room-by-room temperature data directly into building information models. Without certainty and data security, information modeling is just another technology that will be replaced when something better comes along… just like CADD.

Knowledge and tools

Information modeling connected with collaborative systems brings the knowledge of the many to bear on problems of society. Planning is integrated into everything in the model server environment. Work site safety, traffic control and large venue command and control also take place within the model server environment.

A likely future

BIMstorms are intended to simplify the exchange of information between architecture, engineering and construction software and to link data models to other information through webservices. In a BIMstorm, the first information might be created my hand on paper, followed by a spreadsheet on Google Docs and then imported into the Onuma System as a geo-referenced building information model. By adding detailed building information to geospatial information one can have the complete code of everything about the built environment.

Use Cases

Where planning once relied on vague generalities and “rules of thumb, ” we can now simulate “real life” built design futures. Delays to ‘study the issue’ and ‘go—no go’ decisions that take months are not appropriate responses in this fast paced environment.

Go to Book 2 Information as Force Multiplier