"digital twin" of cities to improve urban planning

A team of UT researchers from the Faculties of ITC, BMS and ET has recently published a new study published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation that found using digital twins can improve planning and coordination in cities. Digital twins are digital representations of physical objects or systems, and have been widely used in manufacturing, construction, and maintenance to improve planning and coordination. Now, researchers are exploring how they can be adapted to serve cities and their complex, dynamic ecosystems.

ITC researcher and the study’s lead author, Dr Ville Lehtola said: "Digital twins have the potential to bring significant benefits to cities, by allowing city officials, residents, and businesses to access up-to-date information on the city’s infrastructure and services." The researchers believe that their findings could significantly improve the efficiency of planning and managing cities. By using digital twins, cities can save time and money, and ultimately make our urban environments more sustainable.

Broad concept

In their publication, the authors discussed the technical challenges and open questions surrounding the realization and benefits of urban digital twins. "There are many different types of digital twins, each with its own technical characteristics and applications, so it can be challenging to integrate them into a single, comprehensive urban digital twin". For example, the creation of a digital twin for manufacturing and construction starts with the digital twin and ends with a physical product. Meanwhile, creating digital twins for maintenance or smart city management purposes require constant changes and updates.