Theme 5

Spatial Data Infrastructures, Digital Twin and Decision Support

This research theme 5 of RIIS comprises 3 subthemes. The three subthemes (5.1, 5.2 and 5.3) build upon the digital innovations and services to the society guided by the technological advancements and market. This theme is an enabler in creating decision support systems for business, scientific research, and policy entities by utilising the transformational capabilities of location intelligence and Digital Twins. This theme offers robust infrastructure decision planning in urban and sub-urban settings on top of dissecting the technical elements associated with spatial data in multiple levels and their realisations. The dynamic interactions between infrastructure will be visualised in systemic approaches based on optimal simulation scenarios. These will help and support other research themes within RIIS in providing a converged platform which can be utilised by multiple stakeholders of Australian and global research communities.

  • 5.1 Digital twins for asset management, simulation and prognosis, construction and design

    Introduction

    There are significant gaps between infrastructure and asset management requirements and digital twins.

    Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) as an enabling technology will ensure access to large multi-source data repositories such as, 3D reality meshes, imagery, point clouds, Building Information Modelling (BIM) data and sensor networks and non- spatial data, to support urban analytics, 3D GIS, 3D cadastre and land administration.

    However, these repositories are highly heterogenous in concepts, definitions, representations, data structures, scales and accuracy. They are scattered across institutions and become easily outdated, inhibiting the development of the intelligent and trustworthy systems required for improved infrastructure decisions.

    Innovation

    This subtheme will develop a novel framework for interoperability between asset management and SDI and ensuring extended analytics across heterogeneous data.

    Firstly, we will develop a generic library of spatial concepts and asset definitions to be used for data sharing, integration and update within the RIIS platform. Secondly, a robust incremental, rule-based (smart contract) and asset management focussed approaches will be developed to establish and map relationships in a blockchain and develop properties to support advanced analytics (with Subtheme 2.2).

    The processing engines will be supported by machine learning algorithms (with Subtheme 3.2) to identify patterns and improve performance. Building on previous expertise, this project will envisage solutions for integrated above-/subsurface, in-/outdoor environments and at different scales suburb, city, regional or national.

    Outcome

    Next-generation framework for intelligent search, update and integration of SDI repositories and blockchain-enabled Digital Twins for asset management; advances in 3D data, services, urban analytics along with data and content integration to support asset management in digital twins.

  • 5.2 Visualisation, virtual and augmented reality and interactive guidance systems

    Introduction

    User-tailored visualisation of models, properties, analytics, 3D analysis, dynamic data, simulations and prediction are required to support the complex process of decision making for resilient infrastructures.

    It is well-known that GIS formats carrying semantically rich data have performance issues when attempted to be used for visualisation and guidance. On the contrary, pure visualisation formats are unable to carry semantics and attributes.

    Innovation

    This sub-theme will develop a collaborative immersive virtual reality framework allowing flexible selection of protocols with respect to type of data and targeted stakeholders to be used across virtual reality, desktop, web-based virtual environments.

    Advanced virtual reality facilities such as D-Lab in CSDILA, the University of Melbourne and UNSW EPICentre will be used to demonstrate new interfaces and experience collaborative decision-making.

    We will develop personalised augmented reality (employing HoloLens, smartphones and tablets) guidance for inspection and maintenance of infrastructure, in which human operations will be supported by system-generated instructions.

    In this sub-theme, we will investigate and develop novel representations for visualisation of multi-source data with different
    resolutions. In an entirely new consolidated effort, we will develop algorithms for:

    i) on-the-fly creation of 3D models from exiting content,

    ii) cloud management of 3D heterogeneous datasets and

    iii) compressed storage in homogeneous, continuous areas (building spaces, outside air volume, underground).

    Outcome

    A framework for immersive collaboration, a series of Augmented Reality (AR) guidance interfaces; a novel discrete environment for visualisation of heterogeneous 3D spatial data; interactive 3D visualisations (Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality) A use case to enable practitioners and executives to observe the impact of modelled climate events on assets and infrastructure for operational and strategic purposes.

  • 5.3 Managing Digital Twins and establishing Digital Threads

    Introduction

    This subtheme will build upon developments in Subtheme 5.1 to deliver a new suite of methods that allow the management, utilisation and transactional linkages of digital twins to be operationalised in a validated and trusted manner within an interoperable and federated environment. In this context, effective and efficient management of dynamic and static data for resilient and intelligent infrastructure that required robust, multi-user, multi-access and secure spatial database management systems, will be delivered.

    Innovation

    This subtheme will address the support of complex spatial representations within object-relational and object-oriented databases and frameworks. We will extend the spatial data types to be able to incorporate spatial and non-spatial data in one blockchain distributed database environment.

    The expectations are that the effort will converge when employing a common spatial scheme based on the concept library developed in Subtheme 5.1. Secondly, a novel framework linking Digital Twin databases into a Digital Thread through integration into a Blockchain network will be developed, removing a key barrier to complex decision-making, data validation and trust.

    We will use Digital Twins platform and database schemas integrated within an enterprise blockchain of two or three infrastructure assets, a 3D urban land administration management and environmental monitoring to bridge them in a Digital Thread.

    The intelligence embedded in the Digital Twins and inherited by the Blockchain Thread will support Sustainable Development Goals- SDGs with trustworthy data indicators, improve monitoring and benchmarking parameters to inform asset operation and maintenance and support policymakers and decision-makers in major infrastructure planning.

    Outcome

    Blockchain approaches for the management of Digital Twins; a novel framework for connecting Digital Twins in a blockchain Digital Thread governed by smart contracts; expanded digital twin capability and trustworthy data structures to incorporate SDGs indicators to inform asset operation and maintenance and support policymakers and decision-makers in major infrastructure planning.

Chief Investigators

Sisi Zlatanova

RIIS Hub Lead Chief Investigator
University of New South Wales
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Abbas Rajabifard

RIIS Hub Deputy Director and Lead Chief Investigator
The University of Melbourne
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Tommy Chan

RIIS Hub Lead Chief Investigator
Queensland University of Technology
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Binghao Li

Chief Investigator
UNSW Sydney
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Srinath Perera

Chief Investigator
Western Sydney University
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Johnson Xuesong Shen

Chief Investigator
UNSW Sydney
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Michael E. Cholette

Chief Investigator
Queensland University of Technology
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Jagannath Aryal

Chief Investigators
University of Melbourne
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