Could a battle be brewing in the area of mobilizing BIM (building information modeling) data in construction? Amid a year in which partnerships and M&A (merger and acquisition) activity highlight the technology market for construction, such deals could be setting the stage for a battlefront when it comes to connecting backoffice and BIM data with field technology.

The moves of Trimble, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., throughout the course of the year have been well documented. The technology company continues to position itself to be an all-encompassing player in the realm of BIM technology, acquiring a myriad of brands that touch nearly every aspect of the process.

But on another front, Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., has been making moves that continue to position the company to challenge Trimble’s quest for an all-encompassing strategy for delivering BIM-related technologies. The latest such announcement is of a partnership with Topcon Positioning Systems Inc., www.topconpositioning.com, Livermore, Calif., which provides precision positioning solutions for a range of markets, including construction.

The companies have announced the signing of a letter of intent under which both companies will collaborate to enable BIM-related products from Autodesk to interact more efficiently with the on-site field positioning hardware from Topcon. Targeting building and civil infrastructure construction customers, this collaboration hopes to create a tighter level of workflow for field workers, with key objectives established around productivity, field safety, and quality control.

Topcon has long been a development partner of Autodesk and the synergies that exist between the two product sets could create some exciting options for construction companies. One such example is the recently introduced Autodesk BIM 360 cloud services and mobile applications.

Autodesk launched its Autodesk 360 initiative in September 2011, and with the inclusion of Autodesk BIM 360—releasesd this past summer—geographically dispersed AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) teams are now able to access information for design, proposals, and feasibility evaluations, from the cloud. Now take such cloud-based data and layer in the field technology from Topcon and you have the idea of taking that and making it available in the field, right at the point of installation.

At this time, the companies are at the initial phases of the agreement, focusing on API-level integration between Autodesk’s AutoCAD WS product and Topcon’s systems. Further exploration of potential combined offerings, according to the companies, include Autodesk’s design solutions, including AutoCAD, Revit, and Navisworks. In addition, other cloud-based applications within Autodesk’s BIM 360 offerings, including BIM 360 Glue and BIM 360 Field, seem like a natural fit as well.

The market for construction technology continues to heat up, fueled by partnership and M&A activity across multiple fronts. In all, it presents a winning proposition for construction companies looking to take BIM further to the field.