NDTp February 2021 Editorial – Growing support for a National Digital Twin

Digital Twin Hub > Articles & Publications > NDTp February 2021 Editorial – Growing support for a National Digital Twin

As we head in to a new year, it’s exciting to see both industry and government recognise and support the work that is being done around a National Digital Twin.  

An important boost came at the end of 2020 with the publication of the Government’s National Infrastructure Strategy. It unveiled plans for a ‘radical improvement’ in the quality of infrastructure and included support for the adoption of the Information Management Framework and the National Digital Twin. It’s an encouraging sign of the Government’s ongoing support to the programme.  

Further support came from HS1, who are on track to revolutionise the railway industry by developing a 5G Augmented Reality Digital Twin Project. They plan to virtually replicate rail assets on the HS1 line by 2021. The technology will monitor the real-time performance of rail assets and allow for the swift detection and repair of faults. It will act as a clear example to others of the many benefits of digital twins and we’re delighted to have them team up with the NDTp, to share their insights and experience.

The power of collaboration 

In our latest case study, we showcase the success of the ‘Colouring London’ project. The platform is a model for open databases on urban building stocks, and is specifically designed to provide data to support other building related digital twins, for example 4D procedural models of cities. 

The site has already received 4.17 million edits, an incredible 200,000 of which have been made directly by individual contributors – the remainder have been made by automated processes. It is a great example of collaboration between various bodies and demonstrates how sharing knowledge and data can have such a positive impact on the sustainability of our cities. 

Colouring London pre-dates the creation of the Gemini Principles though the team have welcomed them as a valuable tool in describing their work. The platform’s clear purpose of serving the public good, it’s openness, quality and functionality offers a model to others also aiming to adhere to the Gemini principles. 

Other activities I would like to highlight are: 

  • DT Hub Progress. We now have 970 members and expect to reach 1000 by the end of the month. The update to the website has also been completed and we’ve had positive feedback on the improved accessibility of information. It is great to see more community generated content, in addition to other resources, such as the 49 articles and publications available. I’m particularly pleased to see 12 data sources listed next to the ‘share the data’ tab. It’s a promising start and I want to encourage others to add in their data too!  

  • Hub Together launch. In the first of our monthly ‘Hub Together’ town halls, we invited members to bring their lunches and voices to help shape the community over the coming year. Sam Chorlton, DT Hub Chair and Tom Hughes, Delivery Lead were there to answer questions on what the plans are for the community going forward and what influence the community can have on the information management framework. Hub Together takes place on the third Wednesday of each month and the next one is the 17th February at noon. 

  • Legal Roundtables Outcome Report. We have completed a series of four carefully scoped roundtables, bringing together nine leading lawyers, across practice areas such as planning, IP, data protection and ethics. The overarching outcome was that, although there are legal challenges, there are no red flags to the IMF. The roundtables were led by Sarah Rock, principal associate in the construction and engineering team at Gowling and it has been fantastic to have her input. An outcomes report has been published to provide further insights into the findings.  

  • Launch of Community for “”Data Value and Quality“”. This is a place to focus discussion around how our collective approach to data governance, value and quality must evolve. It provides a central point for the storage of resources that are relevant to each topic, and a forum for the open sharing of ideas, research and case studies.  

  • Progress of the Gemini programme. In our weekly Gemini call, which takes place every Tuesday from 10:30-11:00, we are regularly joined by over 50 individuals from across Government, industry and academia. It is open to all DT Hub members and is an opportunity to hear updates on the various NDTp streams. It is also a chance to invite attendees to collaborate on projects, such as the ‘Digital Twin Toolkit’. Already nine organisations have volunteered their time to supporting it and are currently preparing a DT Toolkit report to go out in sync with the Tech Digital Twin Report.

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