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Digital twins make urban planning a lot less messy

Work & Lifestyle

Urban planners can fix your city without disrupting daily life

Spotted: Digital twin technology has been around for decades, but now urban planners, engineers and others are using the technology to problem solve city development projects, before tearing up streets. Digital twins (in this context, virtual replicas of physical cities) work like sophisticated 3-D maps, but ones hooked up to real-time data collected from the real world. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), and falling technology costs, simulated cities can tap into huge amounts of data on things like traffic, people’s movements, power systems, streetlights and the weather. Computers can use this data to build a more realistic twin, before playing out various “what-if” scenarios, such as how a new streetlight would affect commuters.

A digital twin of Singapore serves as a perfect example. With software made by French firm Dassault Systemes, a virtual Singapore uses real-time data such as traffic, demographic and climate information, in a platform used by urban planners to test innovations. Several other companies are also working on digital twin simulation software, including Cityzenith, Siemens, Microsoft and GE.

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