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LIM: BIM for landscape projects and professionals with Rémy NAVARRO [Dossier]

Cover Article-LIM-Remy-Navarro

Definitions, business, deployment, benefits, solutions, interoperability, projects, actors, perspectives and useful resources

Land / Landscape Information Modeling, in English, the term Land translates to "Land, land, country and stateThe term Landscape refers to "landscape and landscape design. The LIM is therefore in French the "Landscape Information Modeling".

The LIM is broken down into two categories:

  • ThesoftscapeBrings together all the elements of the living, that is to say the vegetation (shrubs, plants, trees, etc ...), rivers (lakes, rivers, rivers and other water points in surface or subsoil) and terrain (surface topography and geological layer).
  • ThehardscapeRefers to the materials present in the landscape, that is to say, the structures implanted by man (riprap, slabs, pontoon, etc ...).
All the data we can integrate into the LIM is extremely varied.

Archive image of the 1ère LIM model

LIM and the profession of landscape / landscape

Many companies claim the author of the LIM and some have even filed the mark at the INPI, however the LIM is much older!

Stephen ErvinIs the inventor of the LIMpioneered computer applications in landscape architecture, planning and design. Ervin is the author of numerous articles, including "Digital Landscape Modeling, a Research Agenda," and the book, co-authored with Hope Hasbrouck, Landscape Modeling: Digital Techniques for Landscape. Visualization (McGraw HIll2001).

Although still very shy, it is a field that is growing thanks to many researchers around the world and today bears a name. LIM would therefore serve model the landscaped spaces of the projects but also theexternal environment models CIM.

For the part "Landscape"We are talking a lot here about building projects that include a vegetal area that needs landscape. This is usually one of the reasons that drives them to adopt the BIM to follow the grouping.

The digital model would then contain the architectural project and all that results, like networks, electricity, plumbing, etc., but also thelandscaped areasCorrectly modeled in BIM. We must not believe that a digital model is necessarily synonymous with architecture. A redevelopment project of street, park, square or any other landscaped space in a municipality can be done without an architect, and the landscaper is an agent. He can then design the project in BIM, and even in LIM, allowing simulate growth and the needs of plants, to design a sustainable project.

With LIM software, the professional landscape architect will no longer use the computer to create lines, lines, symbols, and ribs of the technical drawing that he must present to his client; it will no longer add three-dimensional objects manually to obtain a perspective view; it will no longer redefine the landscape forms when creating an elevation; he will no longer manually count objects and drawings in order to obtain lists of plants. Instead of all this, the architect will have tools to easily insert hedges and rows of plants, sprinklers and pipes, fences and paths, land, stairs, flower beds, etc. The architect will not insert an 2D plant symbol into an 2D plane and an 3D plant symbol into an elevation. It will simply define a plant in the landscapee.

Some problems with the LIM will no longer be needed!
Why make LIM?

The integration of a LIM model for a landscape area has several interests. It is developed to answer several problems:
  1. Data and appearance management on vegetation elements.
  2. Estimation of the water consumption of plants over a period of time (evapotranspiration) and its effects.
  3. Prediction of landscape growth during the complete life cycle.
  4. Simulate development / growth: youth, fertility period, period of death.
  5. Simulate remodeling: design changes.
  6. Simulate the seasonal cycle - behavior, requirements, appearance through the seasons.
  7. Understand the degrees of shadow density (masks, shading, etc ...)
  8. Produce and share usable data for non-expert users (flowering season, age, CO2 reduction, ...).
  9. Missing interaction with open source data and GIS platforms -
  10. Knowledge and management of the territory's data for the community and for the State.
  11. Reduce management and maintenance costs.
  12. Integration of IoT data.
  13. Better management in case of natural disasters (land with risk of mudslides, etc ...).
  14. Database of geological resources (ores, rare earths, water, trees, plantations, agriculture, etc.) of the territory.

The benefits and benefits of LIM

The benefits of LIM tools for landscaping professionals are similar to those of BIM for architects, as they derive from the same work philosophy. The LIM brings in particular:

  • Increased productivity, by reducing the repetition of tasks in different documents.
  • Greater focus on landscape design and reduction of documentation tasks.
  • Better coordination between the different professionals working on the same project.
  • An information control through a single LIM database for the entire project.
  • Better customer relations by obtaining and providing information in real time.
  • A better understanding of sustainable development in projects.

LIM dedicated technologies and solutions

Research has already been launched to build the database needed by landscapers, particularly by Land'Act in France, and by software developers such as ArborCAD, Revit et Vectorworks in the USA. To model the plants in 3D, these developers work in parametric design. That is, they establish algorithms that model trees according to user-input data, such as size, specimen age, width, port (stem or clump) ), and the season. Once the model is established, the simulation will reveal the evolution and the growth of the plants, anticipating in the long term its management by analyzing the constraints which could thwart its growth (border, canalization, building, etc ...), or the interventions to be envisaged (by for example, cutting trees if they become too bulky).

Vectorworks Landmark

Vectorworks - Landmark

The most famous of the few players offering a BIM package specifically for landscaping is Vectorworks, a design company belonging to the Nemetschek group. Their "Landmark" software has evolved considerably towards a landscape approach. Vectorworks has embarked on data creation to bring "landscape information modeling" to life.
Naviate Revit Plugin

Revit and its plugins

The Revit software from the Autodesk editor allows the modeling of topography as well as the parametric creation of plants. Thanks to datasets, it is possible to manage the evolution of plants. It also allows the integration of data for the exploitation of landscaped areas. The use of the plugin NAVIATE Maximizes the possibilities of the LIM in a Revit model.



Lands is a software that integrates the concept of LIM in its environment. Lands uses LIM's concept to add value to its platform: AutoCAD.

In addition, Lands can generate a fourth dimension: the temporal dimension. It allows you to visualize the project at different phases of vegetation growth, and simulate the changes that occur during a seasonal cycle.

LIM, IFC and Interoperability

The Scandinavian countries have been pioneers in IFC classification research for LIM models. If you would like to know more, please refer to the appendices of this article.

  • (BFL) BIM For Landscape 2018 - Suggestions for mapping Landscape objects on IFC4 and suggestions for new future IFC objects for Landscape
  • IFCforSiteAndLandscapeProposal_v1_0.pdf

LIM projects and actors in France

Several actors are pioneers in the field of LIM in France including BIMtech (the company in which Rémy works) and Land'Act.

BIMtech is a French company created in 2014, specialized in BIM Process Management. She accompanies the project management in the integration of BIM processes in the context of major urban projects and housing, equipment and hospital projects, from launch to operation. BIMtech now has more than 290 models piloted to his credit, including 27 LIM models under Revit Autodesk since 2014.

The set of LIM models integrates at least:

  • An 3D representation.
  • The essence of the tree or plant.
  • Size of plants (height, diameter).
  • GIS data.
  • The root protection system.
  • The year of planting.
  • Parameter of growth simulation over several years.
  • IFC classification.

Depending on the needs of the MOA, BIMtech realizes services with high added values.

More informations :

French company in the field of landscape engineering, since 2016 she is one of the pioneers in the use of LIM in France. Land'Act offers an integrated offer on all professions related to landscaping and urban development, in a systemic and global approach to the "more nature in the city", in the spirit of biophilia.

Land'Act has completed several LIM projects including:

  • Shopping and Leisure Center for INTER IKEA
  • Marina Giovata for BOUYGUES
  • Forest Management Project for SMAPP

More :

What perspectives of evolution?

The multiplication of BIM projects and IoT data opens new perspectives in the field of LIM. More and more landscape agencies are integrating LIM models in order to improve the quality of projects and reduce the operating costs of buildings.

The LIM will contribute to a better integration of plants in projects, and consequently to a reduction of the environmental impact of cities. The BIM LIM provides an answer to the problematic of global warming with the possibility of creating carbon sinks in cities!

CHU de Tours - Model LIM | BIMTECH


Graduated with a BE License and BIM Project Management at CNAM Paris, I spent my first 6 years on construction sites before returning to BIM design office. In 2014, during a research project "exploitation / maintenance", I discovered the BIM.

Today, I work at BIMtech as a BIM Coordinator for urban, residential and hospital projects ranging from 20 000 to 400 000 m².

File name : IFCforSiteAndLandscapeProposal_v1_0
File size : 578 kb
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File name : Landscape-Information-Modeling
File size : 1 mb
Download the file
File name : BFL - BIM-For-Landscape-2018 --- Tips-for-mapper-the-objects-Landscape-on-IFC4-and-suggestions-for-new-for-future-IFC-object-to-Landscape
File size : 47 kb
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comments (5)

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If you have any questions, I am available to exchange.

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thank you Remy for this excellent article

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Thank you, another area just waiting to emerge. Another excellent article

Jean-Marc Group
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What aroused you the most?

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What interested me most is the potential that all this will bring in remote nature management.
Anticipate plantations at 10 years, 20 years, 30 years ..., plan maintenance teams (humans then robots), diagnose ...

What interested me most is the potential that all this will bring in remote nature management.
Anticipate plantations at 10 years, 20 years, 30 years ..., plan maintenance teams (humans then robots), diagnose the state of plants in real time (temperature, pollination, state of maturity of fruits, diseases, treatments ...)
In your article, your images show landscape spaces: the current small-scale LIM is ideal for this, but my vision of the future is to bring nature back into the city through the big gate by multiplying its surface and density. The LIM of the future will prevent fires, promote the renewal of plant species (and animal), manage the air quality and lower its temperature ....
Huge, it's huge as this area will evolve. Just like BIM in urban areas, the LIM will revolutionize our green spaces, then our fields, our rivers and our forests but take care, do not go too far: Mother Nature manages herself better without our help.
Yes, Rémy!

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Jean-Marc Group
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