Scan to BIM of mechanical room

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers in the Oregon State University College of Engineering are looking for a better, faster way for architects and engineers to design, construct and manage buildings.

The group of construction, geomatics and computer science researchers will work at developing building information models, or BIMs, from lidar data. Lidar, short for light detection and ranging, is a remote sensing method that produces measurements based on reflected laser pulses. Geomatics refers to the measurement, analysis and management of data relating to the Earth and the built environment.

“Our team is turning lidar data into BIMs by automating the tedious and time-consuming manual work required to develop and maintain a BIM,” said Yelda Turkan, the project’s lead principal investigator. “We are doing this with deep learning algorithms to process the lidar data. Modelers – the people who convert lidar data into BIMs – will be able to model buildings within hours instead of weeks and thus transform how the built environment is managed and maintained.”

BIMs are used to create and document building and infrastructure designs. Each detail of a building comprises a model used to explore design options and to create visualizations that help people understand what a building will look like before it’s constructed. The model is also used to generate the design documentation needed for the construction process.

BIMs are also used for managing existing buildings, facilities and infrastructure. This can be more challenging than using BIM for design because what exists in the real world, including imperfections, must be captured and modeled.

The end product of the OSU team’s work will be a combination of a database and a deep learning framework that accelerates the creation of BIMs from lidar data, Turkan said.

The project is part of a National Science Foundation effort to drive transformative research in artificial intelligence and quantum technology.

The work led by principal investigators Turkan, Mike Olsen and Fuxin Li is under the auspices of the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator program. The OSU team received $920,000 for nine months of a phase one grant and can compete for a two-year phase two grant worth $5 million.

OSU will collaborate with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii at Manoa as well as industry professionals from AllVision and MPN Components. Also involved in the project from Oregon State are Erzhuo Che, Jaehoon Jung and Yeongjin Jang from the College of Engineering and Marta Maldonado from the College of Liberal Arts.

College of Engineering

About the OSU College of Engineering: The college is a global leader in artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced manufacturing, clean water and energy, materials science, computing, resilient infrastructure and health-related engineering. Among the nation’s largest and most productive engineering programs, the college awards more bachelor’s degrees in computer science than any other institution in the United States. The college ranks second nationally among land grant universities, and fifth among the nation’s 94 public R1 universities, for percentage of tenured or tenure-track engineering faculty who are women.


Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039
[email protected]


Yelda Turkan, 541-737-2631
[email protected]


Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.