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CDDB highlights need for consistent data in National Digital Twin

03/06/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

The planned National Digital Twin for UK infrastructure needs consistent data standards within the underpinning information management framework (IMF), according to a new report from the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDDB).

Twins in silhouette

It has published a summary on its approach to building the national asset, highlighting the role of the IMF and the priorities for ensuring it works effectively.

The plan for a National Digital Twin emerged from the National Infrastructure Commission’s Data for the Public Good report in 2017, reflecting the growing interest in a digital replica of the physical assets that make up the national infrastructure. This included creating an ecosystem of digital twins for a national system and using an IMF for data sharing and information management.

The CDDB, which is leading the effort, reiterates the plan to connect a network of digital twins, and says data standards will be crucial in ensuring they can communicate with each other.

It says the data used by the twins should be consistently structured and machine readable, rather than in formats such as PDF, along with consistent definitions for assets that are perceived differently by different users, citing the examples of lighthouses and bridges.

Provenance and integration

Other requirements are that the data can be simultaneously used by multiple parties, that there is confidence in its provenance, and that it can be integrated across infrastructure sectors and other data sources.

The report also reiterates the importance of the Gemini Principles in underpinning the National Digital Twin.

It adds that the CDDB is working with digital innovators from industry and academia to develop the language for twins to communicate.

In the report’s foreword, Sir John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, says: “It’s positive that our roadmap towards a UK digital twin – via greater collaboration, new standards, and strong leadership – is helping create a grammar and a vocabulary of sharing that everyone in the industry can use.

“A shared understanding of data usage will catalyse change in every sector and encourage firms to invest in new approaches and techniques. And the more organisations which choose to and help expand the adoption of this framework for information sharing, the sooner we’ll reach our shared goal.

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