Design of a construction management data visualization environment: A top–down approach

Chao-Ying Chiu, Alan D. Russell
Automation in Construction, Volume 20, Issue 4, July 2011


Explored in this paper is the topic of designing a construction management (CM) data visualization environment with emphasis on its use for supporting the time management function during the planning and execution phases of construction projects which are characterized by sizeable volumes of data of different types. A brief overview of recent construction data visualization work is first provided. Then, as part of a top–down design approach, we introduce concepts and useful terminology related to a structured way of thinking about analytical reasoning and visual analytics, and their relationship with construction management functions. The focus of the latter then shifts to how a construction data visualization environment can support project participant analytical reasoning needs for the management of time, specifically planning/predicting and monitoring/diagnosing/controlling construction conditions and time performance. A case study of aspects of an actual project examined using the construction data visualization environment developed to date is then presented. Purposes served include demonstrating the breadth of support that can be offered for reasoning by such an environment, and providing a test case for demonstrating the kind of evaluation process one should engage in to assess how well an environment conforms to the requirements set out for it. Time management functions treated for this case study include assessing quality of a baseline schedule, assessing actual vs. planned construction conditions and time performance, and assessing reasons for deviations. An evaluation of the current environment is then made to assess conformance/non-conformance with the requirements established for it and to identify worthwhile extensions to it. The paper concludes with a discussion of lessons learned from work performed to date, and their application to create a more comprehensive visualization environment that supports multiple CM functions.
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