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How can geospatial data infrastructures guide digital twin adoption – a reflection on the National Digital Twin Day

1Spatial would like to thank the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) and Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) for hosting a thought provoking and inspiring national digital twin event, that brought together thinkers, seekers and providers. The event aimed to focus on the variety of work being undertaken at the CDBB and shine a light on how digital twin thinking can drive more value from data, maximise infrastructure performance and deliver better outcomes for society.

1Spatial would like to provide some of our reflections on the event and also continue the how can geospatial data infrastructures guide digital adoption story.

The Benefits of digital transformation

According to Mott McDonald the benefits of digital transformation could be worth £22 billion per year by 2030.  There are significant economic, environmental and social gains to be achieved from digital transformation and specifically digital twins.  Mott McDonald state that digital transformation offers vast opportunities to improve infrastructure performance, not just in the delivery of new assets, but also in their operation and integration with existing infrastructure.

The built and natural environments

1Spatial welcomes the concept raised at the event that the built environment does not operate in isolation from the natural environment.  Digital twins provide the opportunity for a system of systems, bringing together and understanding the inter-dependencies between the built and natural environments.

The need for sustainability

A key message at the event called for the need to ensure that sustainability is at the core of both physical infrastructure and digital twins (digital representation of physical infrastructure). Sustainability is a word that we use and hear frequently, but just how sustainable are our physical infrastructures, digital transformations and future digital twins?

Approaches to digital twin adoption

There are many links between sustainability and approach.  We often hear that technology is not the real priority or blocker but our approaches to planning, designing, constructing and operating both physical and digital twins are more important. The CDBB Gemini Principles for information management refers to approach – what is the best overall approach for realising the benefits of information management across the built and natural environments?

To share ideas and best practise for approaches to digital twins, the CDBB is setting up a digital twin hub to inform, validate and verify. The hub will be a collaborative web-enabled community for those who own, or who are developing, digital twins within the built environment.  The hub will give members a space where they can learn from, and share with, others who are on the same journey.

Digital transformation success stories have already told us that discovery, proof of concepts and pilots are first steps on the digital transformation journey. These first steps enable organisations to learn by doing, overcome by sharing and succeed together.  We are seeing some of the early adopters of digital twins adopt similar approaches.  At the digital twin event the Greater London Authority talked about their digital twin journey, making specific reference to 3 digital transformation projects – 1) Infrastructure Mapping Application, 2) London Underground Asset Register and 3) London Development Database Automation.

Laying the foundations for digital twins

Realising the benefits from digital transformation is only achievable if we lay the foundations for digital twins. Mott McDonald’s Project 13 digital maturity bench-marking results states that:

  • 95% of digital leaders from asset owners said poorly organised information prevents them from realising its full value
  • 74% of digital leaders from asset owners think there are significant omissions, duplications in their asset register
  • 60% of digital leaders from asset owners feel decisions are made on the basis of experience and instinct rather than being informed by evidence

Geospatial data infrastructures guiding digital twin adoption

At this point we come back to how can geospatial data infrastructures guide digital twin adoption and lay the foundation for digital twins.  1Spatial’s approach follows learning by doing, overcoming by sharing and succeeding together through data Collaboration, data Automation and data Transformation principles for geospatial infrastructures.

  • Data Collaboration – working with stakeholders internally and externally to collect, manage and share data
  • Data Automation – designing and implementing workflows to collect, manage and share data
  • Data Transformation – making digital data fit for purpose

The Gemini Principles refer to purpose, trust and function.  With regards to trust, digital twins must be built on data of an appropriate quality that is transparent, defined and measured. The above collaboration, automation and transformation principles enable organisations to effectively and efficiently collect, manage and share smarter, high quality built environment and natural environment geospatial data.

Providing a pathway to digital transformation and digital twin adoption

1Spatial provides a pathway to digital transformation and digital twin adoption and provides those responsible for the data infrastructure to effectively combine and manage the data required to build and maintain a digital twin.

If you would like to hear more about how 1Spatial are helping organisations across the UK and globally to evolve their geospatial data infrastructures for creating smarter data and information for digital twin adoption please join us at the Smarter Data, Smarter World 2019 conference taking place at the British Library on 19th November.

Author: Matthew White. 1Spatial.

Reference Links:

National Digital Twin Day

Centre for Digital Built Britain

Digital Framework Task Group

Centre for Digital Built Britain Gemini Principles

Centre for Digital Built Britain Digital Twin Hub

Mott McDonald Project 13