What is a Common Data Environment?

A Common Data Environment is a centralised digital platform used in the lifecycle of a project to facilitate efficient communication, collaboration and information sharing among key project stakeholders, such as surveyors. 12d Synergy offers a secure cloud-based workspace where surveyors can store, manage, and share crucial data such as survey plans and geospatial information.

CDE’s are particularly important as they allow for real-time collaboration between surveyors and other project stakeholders such as engineers, contractors, and clients, thus reducing errors and costly miscommunication.

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How can a CDE help my business?

Project onboarding:

Most contractors and sub-contractors now coordinate with several other businesses on multiyear large projects, where collaboration needs to occur with different contractors and asset owners. A CDE means that data can be stored and used in a single environment where all new and existing stakeholders can operate.

Project management:

CDE’s can often link with project management tools to automate administrative tasks such as timesheets and billing.

Permission sets, job templates and folder structures:

CDE’s allow for seamless 12d model sharing, where stakeholders can easily access and store complex data sets. CDE’s also often facilitate data sets to be locked off from anyone who doesn’t have permission to use them, thus protecting master design projects and ensuring stakeholders are working from the most up-to-date data.

Asset Management and Archiving:

All project-related data living within a singular CDE ensures that all data can be returned to contractors and not stuck on sub-contractor’s personal drives. This is particularly important when working with tier 1 infrastructure, where a paper trail of all data is necessary.


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Common problems with CDE’s within the Surveying Industry

CDE’s can be difficult to implement in some senses as it is extremely rare to find a system that meets the requirements of the several different specialities, workflows, and datasets within a project. Surveyors’ needs can be distinctly difficult to manage as their data sets are complex and many CDE solutions simply do not align with a surveyor’s requirements.

The Antidote: Work in Progress (WIP) CDE

A WIP CDE refers to a digital system that allows surveyors to manage and collaborate on project-related data in real-time. A WIP CDE is highly beneficial as it allows for improved collaboration by providing a single source of truth for all data thus ensuring that all surveyors and other contractors and sub-contractors are working with the most up-to-date data and are aware of any changes to project data.

The WIP CDE has most commonly been adopted in large projects, however, its fundamentals can be seen throughout medium and small businesses and have become notably present in the wider surveying industry.

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What should be considered when implementing a WIP CDE:

A WIP CDE is extremely useful to businesses of all sizes working on any number of projects at any given time. It is important however to consider a few things before implementing a WIP CDE, that being:

  • Your WIP CDE must support all your technical and complex surveying data such as 12d models.
  • Does your WIP CDE support project folders without zipping? Zipped folders protect against missed file updates and data corruption; however, zipped files break 12d Model sharing and increase the risk of duplicate data.
  • Your WIP CDE must support 12d Model Sharing

Why you should consider 12d Synergy as your WIP CDE solution.

12d Synergy’s WIP CDE answers the most important question of them all.

Do you have confidence in your data?

  • 12d Synergy’s WIP CDE provides you with the confidence that you are working from the latest WIP version, thus all data you are accessing is the most up-to-date.
  • 12d Synergy has an extensive quality assurance system, ensuring you know you are submitting the most recent and correct data
  • Notifications for changes ensure that you have your finger on the pulse of your data.

12d Synergy’s WIP CDE directly assists your business by:

  • Improving quality processes
  • Reducing risks of using outdated data as well as data corruption
  • Improves efficiency within your business practices

State attribution and metadata:

We are seeing the development of compliance standards for larger projects throughout Australia and the world. This has resulted in a trickle-down effect for the industry to adopt, where these standards have become the norm.

State attribution and metadata are valuable tools in complying with these standards by providing transparency and accountability within projects.

Specifically, state attribution and metadata assist businesses in adhering to these standards through:

  • Ensuring data integrity through verification of data
  • Facilitating audits by providing auditors with access to detailed information about a project’s compliance history
  • Streamlining compliance reporting by providing a single source of truth for all compliance-related information

In the context of ISO19650:

The previously mentioned standards stem heavily from ISO19650. ISO19650 is a standard for managing information throughout the lifecycle of projects. It provides guidelines for the use of a CDE to ensure that project information is managed effectively, securely and collaboratively.

ISO19650 is important in the context of a WIP CDE as it provides a structured and consistent approach to managing project information. ISO19650’s standards provide clear guidelines for the capture, storage and sharing of project data which improve collaboration, reduce errors and enhance overall project outcomes.

By implementing 12d Synergy as a WIP CDE, which adheres to these standards, your business can improve its final project delivery, ultimately resulting in increased customer satisfaction and reputation for your business.

For a more comprehensive overview of the ISO19650 series, and why it’s important for your business, visit our ISO-19650 Guide 

4 States of Data:

 Effective management of project data is critical for a successful project delivery. To achieve this, it is important to track different states of data throughout a project lifecycle. The four states of data that are commonly tracked with the ISO19650 workflow include Work in Progress, Shared, Published and Archived. By attaching file metadata with respect to these states, your business can create an audit trail of key data throughout your project.

Work in Progress (WIP):

During the WIP state, data is actively being worked on and edited. The metadata associated with the WIP data includes information such as the author, creation date and the status of the data.


Data in the shared state has been reviewed and is ready for collaboration with other stakeholders. The metadata associated with shared data includes information such as the approval status, reviewer names and review dates.


Data in the published state is made available to all stakeholders in the project and is approved and ready for use. The metadata associated with published data includes information such as the publishing date, publishing party, approver name/s and file location.


Data in the archived state is no longer needed but is retained with the project for future reference if required. The metadata associated with archived data is information such as the archive date, archiving party and archive location.

Tracking the state of data and its associated metadata is crucial for effective project management and compliance with industry standards. It ensures that all stakeholders have access to the most up to date and accurate project data, and that this data has been managed securely and efficiently throughout the project.

Outcomes of adopting 12d Synergy’s CDE:

  • Improved collaboration and communication: The WIP CDE allows for seamless collaboration between surveyors and other project stakeholders, as it enables them to work on and share the most up-to-date project data in real-time.
  • Data transfer speeds: By adopting 12d Synergy’s cloud-based CDE, businesses can experience up to a 91% reduction in data transfer times through our advanced data transfer system. This is particularly useful for surveyors transferring large datasets.
  • Enhanced version control and audit trail: With the WIP CDE, businesses can track changes to project data, maintain version control, and have a complete audit trail of who made changes and when reducing the risk of errors and disputes.
  • Job templates: The WIP CDE allows for the creation of job templates to onboard new projects and packages faster, as well as ensure that all stakeholders know the location of key data.
  • Streamlined project workflows: By providing a central location for all project data, the WIP CDE can help to simplify project workflows, reduce administrative burden, and improve overall project efficiency.
  • Better compliance with industry standards: The WIP CDE is designed to comply with industry standards such as ISO 19650, providing businesses with a tool to help them adhere to these regulations.
  • Increased data security and risk management: The WIP CDE ensures that project data is managed securely, reducing the risk of data breaches or loss of critical project information.

Overall, adopting 12d Synergy as a surveying WIP CDE can help businesses to optimise project delivery, reduce risk, and improve profitability by providing a central location for all project data and enabling effective collaboration and communication between stakeholders.

For more information on how CDE’s can help your business, watch the video below

If you’re living in a data transfer nightmare, we invite you to wake up to smart, efficient, and secure data management and contact 12d Synergy today.
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Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch joined 12d Synergy in 2017 and now champions our growth across Australia. Mitch helps engineering and construction teams achieve success through the adoption of world class common data environments. Mitch is also a sports fanatic and self-confessed cricket tragic.