A new methodology for interoperability of heterogeneous bridge information models
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With the passing of the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) Act in 2012, the United States bridge industry has had a significant push for the use of innovative technologies to advance the highway transportation system. Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM) is emerging as an important trend in the industry, in which various technologies and software are being used in all phases of the bridge lifecycle and have been shown to have a variety of benefits. However, most software are stand alone applications and do not efficiently exchange data among other software. This lack of interoperability creates impediments for the efficient and seamless transfer of information across the bridge lifecycle. In recent years, the building industry developed standards to promote interoperability for Building Information Models (BIM). Unfortunately, these standards lack the ability to incorporate bridges. Therefore, there major need for a standard for Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM). Moreover, as technology and modeling software have been coming more prevalent in other domains (roads, geotechnical, environment systems, etc.) there is an even larger need to expand interoperability standards across multi-disciplinary domains. The purpose of this research is to develop a methodology that would enable the interoperability of multi-disciplinary information models. The scope of the methodology is for Bridge Information Models, but the approach is extendable to other domains. This research is motivated by the fundamental issues of interoperability, such as semantic, logic, and software issues. In this research, the fundamental issues of interoperability are investigated as well as an in-depth review of literature proposing solutions. Additionally, current standards for interoperability of information models are reviewed. Based on the findings of the literature review, this research develops, evaluates, and validates a novel methodology for interoperability of information models. The fundamental issues of interoperability are addressed by the use of a taxonomy and ontology. A new standardization process to capture domain knowledge, called in “Information Exchange Standard” is outlined along with a novel method of developing an ontology based on industry workflows. This methodology has been used and validated by an industry domain case study. A software tool to automate the capturing of domain knowledge and development of a taxonomy is presented.