Digital twin

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system that spans its lifecycle, is updated from real-time data and uses simulation, machine learning and reasoning to help decision-making. Originally a concept for product development in the engineering world (e.g. jet engines), digital twins have been applied more widely over the last ten years (to the construction industry and the natural environment including environmental and geosciences).

For the interests of the OneGeology Digital Twin Group (ODTG), our focus is primarily with geospatial data hence a spatial digital twin. Spatial digital twins include a specific spatial context and provide a holistic dimensional and location-based representation of assets, infrastructure and systems (WGIC Spatial Digital Twin report, 2022-01). This refers to much more than the built/natural-environment and exist at various levels of accuracy, detail and aggregation. Spatial digital twins can be at site scale or for linear infrastructure (roads/rail), entire networks, cities, countries and even the globe.

What are we trying to do?

The ODTG aim is to collate evidence of spatial digital twin activities from around the globe and provide a platform whereby people can share their knowledge, their interest in the subject and take part in a community effort to shape the future of spatial digital twins and the use of these in geosciences.

A catalogue of spatial digital twins is in the process of being created and will be published on the website soon, the catalogue will be added too over the next few months. Workshops and events will be announced in due course.

For further information please email Ricky Terrington (