Digital Twin Requirements

published on 19 June


Digital Twin requirements: First steps towards a Digital Twin

Digital Twins are seen as game-changers for data-driven planning and problem solving. These models offer  a virtual mirror of real-world assets and their environment. Digital Twins have a lot of advantages for different sectors, such as construction, healthcare, manufacturing and spatial planning. In this series we will dive deeper into a Digital Twin for the spatial planning, as one of our expertise is the creation of GIS related Digital Twins.

We are happy to share more about these as we  see that users are not always aware of the different steps in the creation of a Digital Twin. In the first article of this series, we will dive into the Digital Twin requirements. These are the first steps in the creation of a Digital Twin. Get inspired now!

Digital Twin requirements

One of the first requirements for building a new Digital Twin is defining user stories. This involves identifying the specific processes and user needs that the Digital Twin should support. With a requirements analysis it is possible to create a clear project plan.. This plan outlines the necessary data, functionalities, and tools required for the Digital Twin’s development.

Based on the wishes, a User Experience (UX) design will be made for the Digital Twin application. This design focuses on the end users in order to provide a relevant and user-friendly experience.


Open data for Digital Twin

Data forms the foundation of Digital Twins, with open data playing an important role in their development. Governments and research institutions offer a wealth of open data resources, freely accessible to the public. Platforms like the Netherlands’ PDOK provide high-quality geospatial data, facilitating innovation in Digital Twin projects.

Looking ahead, we anticipate greater accessibility to open data for users, driven by the European Union’s initiative to establish dataspaces as a key component of its digital strategy. These dataspaces will facilitate seamless data sharing across borders and sectors, fostering collaboration and innovation.

The European Data Portal serves as a central hub for open data from European countries, offering access to datasets for different sectors such as transportation, environment, and public services. Moreover, institutions like NASA and ESA are expanding this open data by providing Earth observation datasets. These datasets exist of high-quality imagery and geospatial data, offering valuable insights into climate patterns and land cover dynamics. These insights are important for the creation of the Digital Twin.

Do you want to know more about the Digital Twin in which we used open data? Read more about this project in the our expert article.


Digital Twin data collection

Although open data is valuable, it may not always meet the full requirements of a Digital Twin. Additional data collection may be necessary to ensure the creation of a sufficiently accurate and up-to-date database. Think for example about field surveys, sensors and data archives.

  • Field surveys serve as a prime example of this supplementary data collection method. These surveys are organized to gather detailed information about the components incorporated into the Digital Twin. For instance, advanced equipment such as LiDAR can be utilized to capture detailed point clouds, aiding in the creation of the Digital Twin.
  • In addition to field surveys, the deployment of sensors plays an important role in collecting additional data. IoT sensors can be used to collect real-time data such as water levels, air quality, temperature, noise, and many other environmental factors. By collecting this data, a live representation of the environment can be generated within the Digital Twin, ensuring its responsiveness to real-world conditions.
  • Furthermore, organizations possess valuable data archives that can serve as another potential source of data for Digital Twin development. Organizations often have large data archives that are not publicly available. Although accessing these archives may be challenging, the insights from these archives are often valuable for the creation of a Digital Twin.


Key takeaways

  • User-Centric approach: Defining user stories is the cornerstone of Digital Twin development, ensuring alignment with user needs and processes. This is stated into a clear project plan, laying the groundwork for a successful implementation.
  • Open data serves as one of the most important sources of the Digital Twin development, providing a wealth of information freely accessible to the public.
  • While open data is valuable, supplementary data collection is often necessary to align with the Digital Twin requirements. Techniques like field surveys, sensor deployment, and accessing organizational archives provide additional insights for enhancing the Digital Twin’s accuracy and relevance.


Frequently asked questions

How do Digital Twins benefit different industries? Digital Twins offer a wide array of advantages across various industries, such as the construction industry, by providing insights into asset performance, predictive maintenance, and enhanced decision-making capabilities.

What are the key steps in creating a Digital Twin? The first steps in building a Digital Twin involve defining user stories, conducting requirements analysis, and designing the user experience (UX) to ensure relevance and usability.

How important is open data in Digital Twin development? Open data can be important for a Digital Twin. Yet, this depends also on the type of Digital Twin project. Within Spatial planning, open data is important. However, for Asset Management, real-time information of the assets are key.

What additional data collection methods are used besides open data? Supplementary data collection methods, such as field surveys, sensor deployment, and accessing organizational archives, are often employed to meet specific Digital Twin requirements and enhance accuracy.

Visit our Digital Twin FAQ page for more frequently asked questions about Digital Twins. Next to that, here you find more information about the Digital Twin concept as a whole.

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