A new interactive tool launched in Australia gives authorities in Western Sydney a virtual 4D (3D + time) model of the area’s built and natural environment.
The New South Wales Spatial Digital Twin will provide digital spatial data and models of buildings, strata plans, terrain, property boundaries and utilities including power, water and sewer pipes.
According to ZDNet, the digital twin includes almost 20,000km of 3D roads, 7,000 3D strata plans and 546,206 buildings as well as 22 million trees with height and canopy attributes.
The tool was developed by CSIRO’s Data61, the digital arm of Australia’s national science agency, and the NSW Department of Customer Service’s Spatial Services.
It can be accessed via web browser and most of the data is available to the public, while built-in security features ensure only authorised individuals have access to certain types of data.
Mats Henrikson, Geospatial Web Systems group leader at Data61, said that the technology will allow planners, developers and policymakers to make more informed decisions, creating efficiencies and saving costs.
“The digital twin represents a step change in how we visualise environments and processes taking place in them,” Henrikson said. “Till now decision makers have referred to property boundaries in 2D. Having them available in 3D together with how they have changed over time, and being able to easily share this with other related data, makes it much easier to fully understand the context of the boundaries.
“Cities have never been so data rich as a result of connected sensors and many are growing vertically in addition to horizontally. This creates incredible opportunities to overlay 3D/4D data from satellite and drone technologies which is spatially accurate, to show the bigger picture of what’s happening above and below the ground over time.
“An infrastructure developer can now use the digital twin to identify the location of underground utilities before building works commence, or see the potential impact of planned future infrastructure.”