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Video Tutorials

March 2021 Workshop

This workshop features a live step-by-step demonstration and Q&A for using the Tracer plugin for Revit and Power BI. Tracer is a toolkit for harvesting and visualizing Building Information Models within the Power BI environment. This workshop will cover how to export data from Autodesk Revit for creating interactive dashboards in Microsoft Power BI using 2D and 3D visuals.

  • Learn how to export data from a Revit model to an open database file
  • Learn how to access exported Revit data in the Power BI environment
  • Learn how to compose 2D diagrams from Revit with the Tracer 2D visual
  • Learn how to embed 3D models in your Power BI report with the Tracer 3D visual

Getting Started

Exporting a Revit Model with Tracer

This video reviews the new Tracer Exporter tool for Autodesk Revit. The addin enables user to selectively export Revit element categories to an open relational database file for BIM. The data can be used for analytical workflows with Power BI and other data-driven processes. The exporter exposes options for selecting 2D or 3D geometry and the ability to save export presets.

  • Learn about the Tracer Export UI
  • Learn about saving export presets
  • Learn about geometry export options
  • Learn how to filter Revit element categories for export

Using the new Tracer 3D Visual for Power BI

This video provides an introduction in how to use the new 3D Tracer visual for Power BI. The 3D Power BI visual can be used to display 3D objects ‘on demand’ from data fields. Here we render 3D room objects that were exported from a Revit Building Information Model.

  • Learn how to connect to a Tracer database file
  • Learn how to import the Tracer 3D Visual
  • Learn how to assign data to the Tracer 3D Visual
  • Learn how the visual responds to other report elements.

Connecting Power BI to Revit Data

After exporting a Revit document to a SQLite file, Power Bi can connect to the file as a data source to access the tables and views.

  • Set a Power BI data source to the SQLite file using ODBC.
  • Review and set table relationships between the document, element, and parameters tables.
  • Access a SQLite view containing element data.

Visualizing Revit Rooms with Power BI Visual

Use the Tracer Power BI visual to create an interactive visual that displays a Revit document’s room boundaries with data.

  • Set up a Power BI data source to the the RoomElement view.
  • Import the Tracer Power BI visual.
  • Configure the Power BI visual to display Revit room boundaries contained in the SQLite file.

Styling the Tracer Visual

The Tracer visual for Power BI has numerous options for customizing the look and feel of the visual with your Revit building information model. In this tutorial, we discuss options for styling a series of room objects exported from Revit. This tutorial covers:

  • Color code rooms based on categories
  • Color code rooms based on a gradient “heat map” of values
  • Add information to tooltips
  • Toggle outlines and background colors

Updating Revit Data in Power BI

Revit data can be easily updated in Power BI using the Tracer workflow. This tutorial covers how changes to a Revit file can be updated in Power BI quickly and easily to reflect the latest design.

  • Make changes to your Revit model.
  • Export the updated data.
  • Refresh the data connection in Power BI

Exploring Exported SQLite Revit Data

The Tracer adding for Revit exports element records to a SQLite relational database file. SQLite has many advantages for being a self-contained, lightweight, and fast database engine. The resultant SQLite export allows users to access the Revit data in various analysis tools.

  • Exporting a Revit model to a SQLite database.
  • Using the SQLite database browser to review data.
  • Overview of key database tables.
  • Querying prepared database views.

Exporting Elements in the Active Revit View

We are providing several Microsoft Power BI templates with our Tracer toolkit to demonstrate saving report layouts, data relationships, and connections. These are very useful in ‘jump starting’ your reporting without having to start from scratch! The templates are also useful to learn how Tracer’s Building Information Model data is structured for use within Power BI.

  • Learn where to download some Tracer templates for Power BI
  • Learn how to load 2D and 3D Revit data into a Power BI template
  • Learn how to curate your data to communicate a story for your needs.

Creating a 3D Multi-View Layout in Power BI

Newer versions of the Tracer addin for Revit provide an option to limit the exporting of elements to only those visible in the “active view” in Revit. This provides a way for users to isolate elements they want or need without having to export the entire Revit model. The exported elements can then be visualized in Power BI.

Creating a 3D Multi-View Layout in Power BI

The 3D Tracer visual can be used to display multiple 3D views using the “Views” input field. The result is an array of views that shows objects grouped in separate parallel 3D views. This is a good way to show components of a complex Revit assembly in multiple Power BI viewports.

Combining Data From Multiple Revit Models in Power BI

The 3D Tracer visual can be used to display multiple 3D views using the “Views” input field. The result is an array of views that shows objects grouped in separate parallel 3D views. This is a good way to show components of a complex Revit assembly in multiple Power BI viewports.

  • Learn how to ‘Append” multiple element database tables into a single table
  • Learn how to combine 3D models into a single 3D visual in Power BI
  • Learn how to index each model to filter and slice the model data

Creating a 3D Multi-View Layout in Power BI

Power BI reports have a known character limit of 32,766 characters which can make it problematic to load very large text strings into the report environment. This can have impacts on the Tracer visuals ability to parse larger Revit mesh strings (gLTF) that Power BI has automatically truncated in the report environment. This video demonstrates a workaround for working with large strings of data and getting them to display.

  • Understand Power BI’s text character limits
  • Show a workflow for splitting strings into multiple columns
  • Show how to recombine (concatenate) mesh strings as a custom column

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