Major engineering and construction in Western Sydney will be transformed following the launch of a ‘digital twin’ which will provide real-time data of thousands of buildings, trees, roads and strata plans covering the region

Launched by the Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello and delivered in partnership with the CSIRO’s Data61, the NSW Spatial Digital Twin will provide a 3D and 4D digital representation of buildings, strata plans, trees and roads throughout eight local government areas across Western Sydney comprising the Western Parkland City, Greater Parramatta and the Western Peninsula.

Covering 546,206 buildings, 7,000 3D strata plans, nearly 20,000 kilometres of 3D roads and 22 million trees with height and canopy attributes, the tool will serve as a ‘digital workbench’ for government, industry, academia and the community which the government says will offer better design, construction and operation of assts and services.

Using data from telco, water and energy utilities, meanwhile, the digital twin will enable visualisation of below ground infrastructure as well as above-ground assets.

It also shows features such as administrative boundaries and planning zones, and will display real-time information such as energy production and air-quality.

As well, the 4D nature of the data will enable visualization of historical considerations and to model future scenarios.

Essentially speaking, a ‘digital twin’ is a digital. representation of real world buildings, assets and communities which is accurate from both a visual and a geometric viewpoint.

Around the world, a number of cities are looking to use them to improve asset planning, design and operations.

Cities having deployed digital twins to date include Newcastle, Rotterdam, Boston, New York, Singapore, Stockholm, Helsinki, Jaipur, and Amaravati.

In research released last year, ABI Research predicted that the number of cities which are covered by digital twins will rise to more than 500 by 2025.

According to a video published by the New South Wales Government, benefits of the initiative will be significant.

Engineering and construction of new assets will be planned, ‘built’ and operated in a digital environment prior to anything being constructed.

This enables mistakes and unforeseen conflicts to be identified and designed out in the digital environment before they happen in the physical environment.

Beyond individual assets, the planning of precincts and community engagement will become more intuitive as people are able to visually see and understand how proposed developments might impact the surrounding environment.

The digital twin could be used, for example, to show the impact of proposed buildings in creating shadows over parks, to plan buildings and precincts with optimal sunlight and to simulate local traffic flows.

Finally, the new tool will deliver a wealth of data for the planning of resource allocation and service delivery.

Dominello welcomed the digital twin’s launch.

“The Spatial Digital Twin will allow us to better plan infrastructure, precincts and communities by providing real-time information and visualisation of buildings, roads, hospitals, schools and libraries, even before construction begins.

“A picture paints a thousand words – being able to visualise a project before it starts means we can plan for and predict future outcomes.”

Initially the twin will support shires with the Western Sydney City Deal covering the councils of – Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly.

Beyond that, it will continue to be developed in collaboration with governments at all levels as well as industry to expand it capacity beyond Western Sydney.