In a recent story, US media giant CNN reported that Helsinki is a world leader in developing a digital twin of the city.
Helsinki’s digital twin is highly praised around the world. According to CNN, pioneering cities such as Helsinki, New York, Shanghai and Singapore have started to pilot and simulate urban planning solutions virtually in a digital twin before deploying them. This will help avoid costly mistakes in urban or transport planning and create even better services for residents.
What is Helsinki’s digital twin?
So, what exactly is the digital twin of the city? A digital twin is like a city in virtual form on the internet. It combines different types of city data from various sources such as sensors, cameras, measuring devices and registers. Helsinki’s digital twin includes a 3D city model that shows how the new buildings and parks would look from different angles and at different times of the day. The digital twin streamlines construction, and it can even reduce complaints during the construction phase, when the plans can be presented to residents online in a clear, three-dimensional format.
“The digital twin can be used to simulate the future. It makes it possible to digitally test things like houses, parks and traffic solutions in a new residential area before any construction work is started,” says Forum Virium Helsinki’s Technology Director Timo Sillander.
This is how Helsinki is using its digital twin
The City of Helsinki and its innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki are systematically developing the digital twin. So far, the digital twin has been used for purposes such as:
- Mapping the accessibility of the urban environment from the perspective of people with reduced mobility.
- Planning and optimising winter road maintenance.
- Designing urban green spaces.
- Examining the energy efficiency of the city’s buildings.
Forum Virium Helsinki’s Technical Specialist Juho-Pekka Virtanen believes that the utilisation of the digital twin is still in its early stages.
“In the future, the digital twin will become increasingly interactive, with residents and other actors being able to collect and enter data on e.g. air quality or roadworks in their own residential area into the digital twin. This provides an increasingly accurate real-time picture of what is happening in the city,” Virtanen says.
The digital twin can therefore be used to react more quickly to issues such as the need to repair streets or public buildings, and to forecast future urban development. It can also enhance the attractiveness of cities and help reduce climate emissions. In its article, CNN predicts that the digital twin will become very widely used in the world’s major cities.
Learn more about Helsinki’s digital twin.