A few weeks ago we dedicated one of our articles to one of the technologies that is best facilitating the capture and analysis of information in the field of smart cities.
That’s right, we talked about the digital twin concept. Do you remember exactly what digital twins are? It is an initiative that is revolutionising the world thanks to the reproduction of exact replicas of an element or product, in short, of the reality that surrounds us. A digital representation that, as we have already mentioned, and which we must not forget, takes place through other leading technologies such as Big Data, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing.
However, how is it possible to relate the digital twin with Geographic Information Systems? What are the advantages of this integration?
There are many processes in which both technologies form a perfect tandem. For example, think of the daily urban mobility of a city or municipality. It is essential to understand, analyse and control traffic flows, but how to do it? Through the integration of GIS and digital twins? That’s right, right answer.
The fusion of the two favours the creation of digital twins of roads and urban movements, and thus facilitates everything that happens in these scenarios, from emergency management to the planning of rubbish collection routes or logistics operations, as well as the study and implementation of public transport itineraries that are efficient in terms of time and economic resources.
And if not, imagine if you had to use the bus to go to work, and the driver had to decide a different route for that journey every day, depending on the traffic on the streets. Wouldn’t it be feasible? Precisely for this reason, technology, and in this case, GIS and digital twins, are a very useful and beneficial combination.
Integration of GIS and digital twins
So what does this process of integrating digital twins and GIS consist of? Firstly, through the capture of geolocalised information, it is possible to obtain valuable data that subsequently facilitates the generation of 3D models.
However, it is not just a matter of collecting the information and then immediately reproducing entities. No, there is an arduous and complex process behind it, involving tools such as the 3D scanner. This allows, by means of a laser beam, to analyse the distance to the surrounding elements, to then register a cloud of points located relatively to the scanner in the X, Y and Z axes.
The information is then processed, carrying out an optimised treatment of the data collected and always taking into account the use and purpose to which the previously generated point cloud will be put. Then, from this point cloud, the geometry of the «As-built» model is generated, to which all the characteristics and attributes of the information previously obtained and processed are assigned. In this way, the data is incorporated into the final product, correctly organised and structured, which favours the integration of digital twins and BIM, facilitating its legibility.
Advantages of combining digital twins and GIS
Did you find this whole process interesting? If the answer is yes, then wait until you discover the many advantages of digital twins combined with GIS.
We have already mentioned, a few lines back, how beneficial urban mobility planning is for public transport, but also for emergencies and the routes of logistics and delivery companies, and all for precisely one reason: improved decision making in any process. The reason? To be able to base these initiatives on completely up-to-date and accurate data. But that’s not all, making joint use of both tools allows us to anticipate, knowing in advance the results we are going to obtain, but also to reduce possible risks, by making decisions with a smaller margin of error, due to the quality of the information collected. And what can we say about the simplification and automation of processes, undoubtedly advantages that have an impact on greater efficiency and effectiveness of the resources used.
GIS applications in BIM modelling
As we have already mentioned, digital twins are now the cornerstone of sectors such as architecture, construction and engineering, areas in which BIM and GIS have a lot to contribute.
Let’s not forget, thanks to spatial data, it is possible to have a more exhaustive knowledge of reality, with accurate and updated information in real time, which will allow us not only to visualise the final results of a project in advance, but also to respond from minute one to any type of contingency or difficulty. Moreover, the number of cities that require the reproduction of digital twins of their urban environments has increased considerably, and all with one objective: to have all the data so that, in the event of a climatic catastrophe (floods, burnt areas, etc.), the place can be faithfully reproduced and reconstructed.
Projects in which Fisotec has integrated both technologies
And Fisotec, how has it adapted to the merger of the two tools? More and more public administrations and companies are requesting the scanning of their infrastructures for their urban inventories. The purpose? To obtain improvements in energy efficiency, the exact geometric representation of the layout of pipes and networks in factories, or the implementation of tourist projects and 3D virtual tours.