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Atkins and Ordnance Survey to research ‘the benefits of a national digital twin’

Atkins and Ordnance Survey are going to research into the benefits of a national digital twin of the UK’s infrastructure. The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) has awarded the tender to both organizations.

Atkins and Ordnance Survey appointed to research benefits of a national digital twin
The Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) chose Atkins, and Ordnance Survey to research the benefits of creating a national digital twin of the UK’s infrastructure. It is going to be led by design, engineering and project management consultancy Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group. The research project will explore the baseline benefits of creating digital twins of the UK’s critical national infrastructure. This means from hospitals to railway stations, to form a connected ecosystem of data-sharing. Construction and engineering consultancy Mott Macdonald will provide a supporting, advisory role to ensure a whole-industry view is achieved.

Roadmap to resilient information sharing

The research forms part of the CDBB’s National Digital Twin Programme. CDBB created this to provide public and private sectors with a roadmap to resilient information sharing across the built environment. While interfacing with the natural environment, and at the same time with the aim of creating a national digital twin. Firstly, the project will involve measuring the performance, efficiency and resilience of the UK’s existing infrastructure. Secondly, there’s the potential impact of a national digital twin to the UK’s productivity. Thirdly, there’s the effect on future costs. The resulting baseline benefits case will also highlight which sectors, networks, regions and industries would benefit most.

Operational expenditure and maintenance costs

Together, Atkins and Ordnance Survey will conduct interviews with industry figures. Also, they will collate data on the likes of operational expenditure and maintenance costs. This will create a detailed database of all critical national infrastructure assets in the UK. It will be exploring potential synergies across sectors such as transport, energy, water and urban regeneration. Thus, adding a greater level of creativity when mapping the potential benefits. In a press release, Will Squires, Project Lead, Atkins, said: “This flagship project provides a great opportunity to explore the benefits to both industry and end users. Working together with Ordnance Survey, we will provide an outline of the baseline benefits of creating a digital twin. It will help future-proof our critical national infrastructure by understanding its needs and the impact of future events.”

Read more: UK framework framework, digital twin hub and white paper launched at Digital Construction Week

Benefits of a national digital twin

Miranda Sharp, Director of Innovation, Ordnance Survey, explains: “From this research, we hope to gain a better understanding and be able to more confidently describe the benefits of a national digital twin. Not only to asset owners, but also to people with new ideas about the use of data to provide new services in the UK and abroad. We are leading a piece of work to create a ‘logic model’ that describes the nature and scale of benefits to of an information management framework. This framework links together individual digital twins, using geospatial data to create a national digital twin. “Done well, it will ensure an increased profile for the National Digital Twin Programme as we are able to engage more businesses and users of infrastructure on the possibilities of using data to increase efficiency and generate value and spend less time talking about the technology.”