Event Round-up: Digital Twins and Geospatial Data

On 17 November techUK's Technology and Innovation Programme teamed up with the Digital Twins Programme to create an industry led webinar as part of the Geospatial Data campaign. Watch the panel below #GeospatialFuture

In this session, techUK explored how digital twins can leverage geospatial data to create emerging opportunities to visualise and bring to life geospatial data in new, eye-opening ways.

There is real opportunity that the integration of geospatial data within digital twins could enhance our understanding of the built environment, drive forward progress on national-level sustainability objectives, accelerate and de-risk innovation, and present the need for horizontal collaboration across market domains.

In recent years, prospects for building extensible, scalable and interoperable digital twins have improved dramatically as our ability to use models and data-centric techniques to tackle complex problems has progressed.

Speakers include:

  • Seb Lessware, Chief Technology Officer, 1Spatial
  • Matthew Wood, Principal Consultant, Fraser-Nash
  • Dr. Chandra Taposeea-Fisher, Consultant - Earth Observation, Space, Defence and Intelligence, CGI
  • Krupa Nanda Kumar, Geo information Marketing and Sales Manager, Telespazio

Presentations start 06:00 

This session had five key objectives:

  1. How do we build a digital twin that is geospatially aware?
  2. What industries will benefit the most from geospatially aware digital twins?
  3. From sensors, IoT, LiDAR and satellite data, what technology is needed to bring together a geospatially designed digital twin?
  4. How can location-enabled ‘digital twins’ using sensor technology and advanced data analysis improve the resilience of our infrastructure?
  5. How can decision-makers use geospatial data to ensure that sustainability is at the core of both physical infrastructure and digital twins?

Seb Lessware kicked-off the session by defining what data and assets are needed for a digital twins, including sensor data and reference data, and underlying that automation in key. Seb shared examples of digital twins and geospatial data converging, such as the use of 3D mapping for buildings (to assess environmental impact). Here, 1Spatial highlighted why clarity in data infrastructure is important, and showed how they have worked to bring 2D and 3D data sets together to be appropriate for effective, cross-functional digital twinning.

Next up, Matthew Wood from Frazer-Nash presented his thoughts on ontologies and graph technologies for digital twins. Matthew defined digital twins as a computer-based model that reflects reality and can be used for strategy and planning, managing assets, or assurance. It ultimately is a decision-making tool that will enhance the ability of humans to engage with the real world.

Throughout Matthew’s talk, he demonstrated that the use of ontologies can help organisations to describe data, creating a functional independence of information. Ontologies help to harmonise different data sources by showing properties and the relations between them. Frazer- Nash highlights best practice on ‘Ontology Standards’ (which can be found on slide 35.)  

Following Seb, Dr. Chandra Taposeea-Fisher from CGI Ltd (UK) brought us an interesting use case from the European Space Agency project on digital twins, specifically regarding the European Comission’s Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative. Through this use case, Dr. Taposeea-Fisher showcased the challenges of model integration and driving innovation through digital twins, by both geospatial data and other emerging technologies such as AI. The challenges cited included scalability, quality and validation of data, and rate of progress. We look forward to learning more about CGI’s work with ESA over the next 12 months.

Kupra Kumar from Telespazio delivered the final presentation of the webinar, who  discussed the diversity and versatility of earth observation technologies for digital twins. Krupa emphasised that the nine threat areas identified in the Geospatial Commission’s 2020-2025 Strategy all benefit from Earth observation, alluding to eye-catching examples such as predictive digital twins in infrastructure and mobility. Through diving into different use cases, Krupa emphasised the breadth to opportunities for geospatial data and digital twins over the coming years.  

Thank you to all of our speakers who participated in this webinar. We will be continuing with techUK’s Geospatial Data campaign in 2021. If you would like to learn more, please do reach out to Laura Foster or Tom Henderson below!

Sue Daley

Sue Daley

Associate Director, Technology and Innovation

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Programme Manager, Technology and Innovation, techUK

Zoe Brockbank

Zoe Brockbank

Programme Assistant, Policy, Tech and Innovation, techUK