The University of Bradford and Bradford Council have begun to develop a digital twin of the city centre.
As part of the EU funded SCORE project on smart cities and the re-use of open data they are aiming to create a high resolution clone of the area with the potential to expand it in the future.
The university said it will be used by the council for purposes including planning, air pollution and traffic management; and provide the potential for others to develop their own projects such as virtual shops, exhibitions and heritage trails.
Academics will use an electric trike with hi tech laser scanners to take 360-degree images from ground level and a drone to capture Bradford’s skyline. They anticipate that the first version, to be outlined at the city’s UNIfy Festival on 16 April, should be completed by the end of the year.
It is expected to provide data from 100km of streets and will be openly available for re-use.
Syd Simpson, flood risk and mapping officer at Bradford Council, said: “For a long time, it was too expensive for a local authority to build something like this. As the years have gone by, it has become cheaper and easier to do these things.
“We had an opportunity through the SCORE project, which is really where the seed of this has come from – it has enabled us to commission this work and the university won the tender.
“This model will be freely available for people to use – anyone can take it and use it in their designs. A games manufacturer could take it and put the software in place to create something interactive, for example.”
Professor Andrew Wilson from the university’s School of Archaelogy and Forensic Sciences said: “The benefit of 'Virtual Bradford' will be to support various strategic priorities for the council, including urban civic planning, improve traffic management, support the modelling of air quality, flood risk and noise pollution, and to highlight the heritage of the city and its benefit to enhancing education, tourism and in fostering civic pride.”
Image from iStock, SAKhan Photography