A query expansion method for retrieving online BIM resources based on Industry Foundation Classes

Ge Gaoa,d, Yu-Shen Liua,b,c,*, Meng Wanga, Ming Gua Jun-Hai Yonga

aSchool of Software, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
bKey Laboratory for Information System Security, Ministry of Education of China
cTsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology
dDepartment of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University


With the rapid popularity of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, BIM resources such as building product libraries are growing rapidly on the World Wide Web. As a result, this also increases the difficulty for quickly finding useful BIM resources that are sufficiently close to user’s specific needs. Keyword-based search methods have been widely used due to their ease of use, but their search accuracy is often not satisfactory because of the semantic ambiguity of terminologies in BIM-specific documents and queries. To address this issue, we develop a prototype of semantic search engine, named BIMSeek, for retrieving online BIM resources. The central work consists of two parts as follows. Firstly, based on Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) which is a major standard for BIM, a domain ontology is constructed for encoding BIM-specific knowledge into the search engine. Using the ontology, terminologies in BIM documents can be disambiguated and indexed. Secondly, by combining the ontology and local context analysis technique, an automatic query expansion method is presented for improving retrieval performance. Compared with traditional keyword-based methods and WordNet-based query expansion methods, the experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms them. The search engine is available at http://cgcad.thss.tsinghua.edu.cn/liuyushen/ifcqe/.

Platform Prototype [BIMSeek]
Paper(PDF) [1.98MB]
Video Demo:
The authors appreciate the comments and suggestions of all reviewers, whose comments significantly improved this paper. The authors would like to thank Dr. Pieter Pauwels at Ghent University for discussing the problem of IFC-to-RDF conversion. The research is supported by the National Science Foundation of China (61472202, 61272229, 61003095) and the National Technological Support Program for the 12th-Five-Year Plan of China (2012BAJ03B07). The fourth author is supported by the Chinese 973 Program (2010CB328003) and the last author is supported by the Chinese 863 Program (2012AA040902).
[Bibtex] Ge Gao, Yu-Shen Liu, Meng Wang, Ming Gu, Jun-Hai Yong. A query expansion method for retrieving online BIM resources based on Industry Foundation Classes. Automation in Construction, 2015, 56: 14–25. (SCI, 2013 Impact factor: 1.822).

Dr. Yu-Shen Liu, Email address: liuyushen@tsinghua.edu.cn.
Ge Gao, Email address: gg07@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn.