Autodesk and Esri: Partnering to Advance Infrastructure Planning and Design

Autodesk and Esri, global leaders in BIM and GIS, are partnering to drive the integration of spatial intelligence and 3D design model information.  Connecting “The Science of Where” to “Make Anything”.

Technological acceleration, population growth and movement, climate change, and shifting geopolitical climate, these are just some of the megatrends that are already shaping the economic, social and environmental state of our world.

By 2050, the global population is estimated to reach nearly 10 billion with approximately 70% living in urban areas.  With this accelerating population growth and density trends come demands for higher living standards, resulting in significant increases in energy use, greater complexity of transportation needs, and tightening water supply.

Over the last century, global sea levels rose about 8 inches – however, that rate has nearly double, in the last two decades alone.  While specific forecasts are mixed, new reports suggest that sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe.

How can we accommodate the needs of a rapidly growing population with socially and environmentally responsible city planning, site design and development?  Can we plan and design cities to more safely and efficiently move people and goods?  What can we do to make better planning and design decisions to help vulnerable communities mitigate the potential damages from natural events?

Infrastructure owners, planners and modern civil engineers today concern themselves with creating a safe, sustainably built environment that enhances our quality of life.  They are concerned with the delivery of resilient and sustainable infrastructure that contributes to a societies’ economic growth and social fabric.  For these professionals, addressing these concerns requires systems that can help them make better decisions about how to build things in the context of both the natural and existing built environment.

At the intersection of this system, is GIS and BIM.

Bridging GIS & BIM

The announcement between Autodesk and Esri is intended to build the bridge between BIM for Infrastructure design tools and GIS mapping technologies.  The plan is to work together to create a more direct, bi-direction and frictionless flow of information, enabling owners and AEC firms to work with more robust existing conditions models for planning and design, minimize data loss, and more effectively manage and operate infrastructure assets.


“Partnering with Esri is intended to combine the power of BIM and GIS mapping which will enable our shared customers to build anything, anywhere. Our goals are to provide industry and city planners the ability to design in the context of the real world. This will allow communities to build more connected, resilient cities, and infrastructure with a focused eye on sustainability.”  Andrew Anagnost, CEO, Autodesk


By bridging the flow of data between GIS and BIM and placing that information at the center of infrastructure projects, houses, schools, roads, inter-modal transit facilities, drainage and energy networks, waste management, and other assets, no longer need to be planned, designed and built in isolation of everything else around it.  Instead, planners and designers can better view infrastructure projects in relation to how those assets fit and interact with the surrounding ecosystem.  More tightly connected GIS and BIM workflows can help stakeholders better understand how the natural and existing built environment connects with the new assets to be built.


“It is important to consider the needs of future generations during the design and building of projects today. The benefits of partnering with Autodesk will include securing sustainable resources for the growing population, a responsible human footprint on our natural environment, better use of our planet’s resources and more resilient cities.”  Jack Dangermond, President, Esri.


GIS and BIM, together, connects the intelligence in a detailed, 3D design model to the more granular data indexed geospatially and managed through GIS.  The promise of this more tightly integrated GIS and BIM is to empower AEC firms and project owners to focus not only on what to design and build, but also better understand where and why, helping them to deliver more sustainable and resilient infrastructure through more economical, social, and environmentally responsible planning and design practices.

About Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure.

About Esri.

Image courtesy of Kalyani Group