Bath & North East Somerset Digital Twin

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Digital Twin Overview

Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Council owns approximately 1200 property assets. Our property team are custodians of the authority’s estate which includes an array of properties from Ancient Monuments, obelisks and listed urns to Crematoria, depots and park, to phone masts and abandoned mine workings. The authority initiated an in-house laser scanning programme to inform refurbishment and development projects. Use cases for the service have now expanded significantly and the team have now surveyed in detail some 450 of an estimated 8000 vaults and tunnels below the streets of the city as part of a programme to verify and record their condition, the total streetscape within the medieval walls of the city, and many of the listed buildings within the estate such as the Pulteney Bridge, Guildhall and significant parts of the Roman Baths. The data captured forms a significant asset in its own right that has been used by a number of internal teams, and the authority is now exploring how the information may be aggregated together with the many other data systems held by the authority, and potentially with third party asset owners such as utility companies grappling with the complex spatial and heritage challenges presented to those working within the city and beyond.

Opportunities & Challenges

The Challenges

Roman, Mediaeval, Georgian and Victorian subterranean layers of the city
~8,000 vaults in up to three levels below the street.
Corrosion of Victorian and Georgian steelwork, some now significant
Utilities – legacy works, and future interventions for renewables, lead pipe replacement, communications
Masonry vault deformation
Vehicle loading/vibration
Hostile vehicle mitigation
Flood mitigation
Multiple / complex ownerships
Public realm co-ordination
Provenance /accuracy of existing records
•Diminishing resource and budgets
•Climate emergency
Uses of 3D survey data from programme to date
Record Verification
Conservation Management
Construction & Engineering
Structural Assessments
Commercial & Insurance Valuation
Condition Surveys
Topographical Surveys
Measured Building Surveys
Listed Building Consent Applications
Highways Maintenance
Hostile Vehicle Mitigation works co-ordination
Post accident recording
•Post opening up contractual defect recording
•Abandoned mine surveying
The future
Multiple potential use cases identified if the various data systems can be aggregated into a single platform to enable monitoring, analytics, simulation, and management.   

Summary of existing material

The authority holds a plethora of existing data systems however in the majority of instances each is standalone and not accessible to staff in different teams. The 3D laser scanning survey programme has provided an opportunity to assist in breaking down internal organisational silo’s with data having been used directly by several teams and aiding the work of many more. 

The 3D survey programme has now captured a significant area of the city as well as multiple locations across the wider district. Circa 15Tb of scan data has now been captured, comprising a visual record of a multitude of areas not normally accessible to the public below the streets of the city that will be of interest for a variety of reasons whether it be historical or archaeological, or for engineering purposes by urban planners, utility companies or development purposes. Whilst at present the 3d survey data is standalone, the intention is to explore opportunities to bring together with other data systems in an over-arching digital twin where the true value can be realised in supporting infrastucture and societal change programmes such as simulations and subsequent monitoring and feed back loops on air quality in conjunction with the roll out of clean air zones, or the planning and implementation of on-street electrical charging networks the cabling of which has to weave through the thin crust sometimes thinner than 600mm between top of tarmac and crown of the inside of vaults below.

Following the events at Notre Dame, the authority has also surveyed many of its own high profile assets for record and conservation purposes. 

The development of a digital twin for B&NES and access to information held will and must be mindful of security considerations based on advice from CPNI et al.