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New South Wales plans to create a digital twin of the entire state

Existing Spatial Digital Twin project set to expand following successful trial across eight councils

The New South Wales (NSW) government is expanding its digital twin platform across the entire state as part of a $40 million (£21.2 million) investment.

The Spatial Digital Twin brings together data sources from across government including spatial, natural resources, and planning, and integrates it with real time feeds from sensors to provide insights for planners, designers, and decision makers across industry and government.

The digital twin system is an open platform that can visualise 3D and 4D data to generate plans for buildings, terrain, property boundaries, and utilities. In the last 12 months, the digital twin platform received 18 million requests for access to 3D datasets.

Initially launched in early 2020 for use across eight ‘high-growth’ council areas, the platform is set to be expanded across the whole state over the next two years.

Council areas of Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith, and Wollondilly have all been part of the initial rollout.

“This investment will cement NSW’s position as the world leader when it comes to Spatial Digital Twin technology,” said Victor Dominello, minister for Digital and Customer Service. “This digital architecture makes it possible to visualise a development digitally before it is physically built, making it easier to plan and predict outcomes of infrastructure projects, right down to viewing how shadows fall, or how much traffic is in an area.”

The twin is part of the newly launched Live.NSW programme, which aims to develop a new platform, set to launch in early 2022, to allow communities to search for information based on their needs and places of interest. Dominello said it would bring information together to inform people about new developments, such as local schools or a proposed hospital, creating a snapshot of what exists and what is planned.

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The funding for the project came from the NSW Digital Restart Fund (DRF), which is set to spend $2.1 billion across four years to invest into digital transformation projects.

The NSW Spatial Digital Twin was originally developed by CSIRO, the country’s science agency, and NSW Department of Customer Service’s Spatial Services. It was introduced to help planners, developers, and policymakers make more informed decisions, saving costs and creating efficiencies.

NSW isn’t the only state investing in digital twins, as Victoria announced in July it would spend $35.2 million to deliver Digital Twin Victoria. This would provide a digital replica of the state modelled on a successful pilot project that created a digital twin for the country’s largest urban renewal project. The government said it would transform planning and unlock efficiencies from the start to finish of infrastructure projects and help drive the state’s economic recovery.

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