Sam Nseir: Export BIM 360 Project Data via Autodesk Forge

Editor's Note: This is the second of two blog posts featuring articles from Sam Nseir. The first one can be found at:

Autodesk Forge is our collection of Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that we use to develop our own web services. As part of our Autodesk Forge efforts, we share those APIs (including documentation and code samples) with customers and 3rd party developers (the Forge community) that want to leverage years' worth of legacy and current data associated with projects.

Sam Nseir is an Autodesk Building Information Modeling Premium Support Specialist who supports the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction and Engineering, Natural resources, and Infrastructure industries As part of our efforts to help Autodesk BIM customers leverage Forge capabilities, Sam developed a step-by-step guide for non-programmers to export Project data from BIM 360. This is useful for customers who want to use BIM data in conjunction with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems or conduct various analyses via other systems.


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Step-by-Step Guide: Export BIM 360 Projects using Forge

SAM NSEIR, P.E.
BIM PREMIUM SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Introduction:

BIM 360 Account Administration provides the ability to manage the information of companies that are participating in Autodesk BIM 360 projects. Companies' information such as location and trade can be added, edited, and shared across BIM 360 products. Account administrators can utilize Autodesk Forge to extract this enterprise-level companies' data for analysis outside of BIM 360 Account Administration. While utilizing Autodesk Forge requires some software development experience to leverage the APIs, this article is designed for non-programmers. This article will guide you step-by-step on how to export BIM 360 companies' data using Forge and without coding.

Steps:

  1. Create an Autodesk Forge App.

    1. Sign in to Autodesk Developer Portal using your Autodesk Account. If you don’t have an Autodesk Account, click on "SIGN UP" to create one.

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    2. Create an App.
      Once singed in, click "CREATE APP" and select "BIM 360 API," then enter your application name and description. Callback URL is not needed for this example but it is required to create an app. You can use any URL for this example, then click "CREATE APP." For more information about callback URL, see the "callback URL" definition in API Basics.

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    3. Note Your Client ID and Client Secret.
      Once the app is created, you will see a Client ID and Client Secret in your newly created app page. Note these values because they will be used in the upcoming steps.

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  2. Connect Forge App to BIM 360 Account.

    1. Log in to your BIM 360 enterprise account using the same Autodesk Account in Step 1, navigate to "SETTINGS" tab and "Apps & Integrations" tab, then click the "Add Integration" button.

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    2. Select access to BIM 360 Account Administration and click "Next."

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    3. Select "I’m the developer" option and click "Next."

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    4. Enter your app’s client ID (from Step 1), name, description, and logo.
    5. Note BIM 360 Account ID and Hit the "Save" button.

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  3. Download and Install Postman.

    1. Go to https://www.getpostman.com/apps.

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    2. Download the setup file.
    3. Run the installer.
  4. Export BIM 360 Projects to JSON file.

    1. Click here to download a zip file that contains Postman Collection and Variables JSON files.
    2. Import Postman Collection.
      Unzip the file then in Postman click on "Import" in the top left and import Postman Collection from "Postman_Collection.json" in the unzipped folder. Once imported, you should see "BIM 360 Projects Export" under the "Collections" tab.

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    3. Import Postman Environment Variables.
      Click on the "Environment Options" Image025
      wheel  in the top right corner and click on "Manage Environments," then click and "Import" and select "Postman_Variables.json" to import "BIM360Export" environment variables. Once imported "BIM360Export" should appear in the Manage Environments window.

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    4. Input Client ID, Client Secret, and BIM 360 Account ID.
      Click on "BIM360Export" and enter Client ID and Client Secret from Step 1 and BIM 360 Account ID from Step 2, then click "Update." There is no need to fill the Access Token variable.

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    5. Run Authenticate request.
      Make sure you select "BIM360Export" in the environment dropdown, then select "Authenticate" and click "Send." If the authentication process is successful, Postman will display the token information in the Body section and will fill out the "Access Token" variable in the BIM360Export Environment.

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    6. Run BIM 360 Get Projects and Save JSON file.
      Select "Get BIM360 Projects" request under "BIM360 Projects Export" collection, and click on "Send and Download" from Send dropdown. Postman will generate "response.json" file and give you the option to save it.

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  5. Download and Install PowerBI.

    1. Go to https://powerbi.microsoft.com/desktop/.

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    2. Download the setup file.
    3. Run the installer.
  6. Analyze Projects data in PowerBI.

    1. Import JSON file to PowerBI.
      Click on "Get Data" button from the Home tab, select "JSON," and click "Connect." Select the JSON file "response.json" that was downloaded from Postman in Step 4 and click open.

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    2. Convert JSON data to table.
      In the Query Editor, click on "Convert to Table" under the Transform tab and click "OK." And, click on expand column button, click on "Load more," uncheck "user original column name as prefix," and click "OK." The, click on "Close and Apply" from the Home tab.

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    3. Export to Excel.
      From the Data view in the Fields list, click on "…" next to the table name "response" and select "Copy Table." Open excel spreadsheet and paste the table.

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    4. Visualize Projects by Countries.
      From the Report view in the Visualizations list, select Pie Chart. Drag the "country" field to the Pie Chart’s Legend and Values fields.

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    5. Visualize Projects by Type.
      From the Report view in the Visualizations list, select Pie Chart. Drag the "project_type" field to the Pie Chart’s Legend and Values fields.

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Thanks again, Sam.

If you are a BIM 360 Administrator, you can try this for yourself. We'd love to hear your results. You can reach us (including Sam) at thelabs@autodesk.com.

Exporting is alive in the lab.