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Data61 Building Australia's National Digital Twin with Cesium

Update: The NSW Digital Twin launched in 2020. Read the latest on their site.

We’re excited to share a very interesting project being made with Cesium: the National Digital Twin of Australia being built by our friends at Data61. Data61, the creator of TerriaJS, was an early adopter of Cesium and of 3D Tiles. Their NationalMap, built in collaboration with Australian government agencies nearly five years ago, makes it easy to discover, explore, and access open geospatial datasets.

The National Digital Twin is even more ambitious. While most of the data on NationalMap is 2D and static, the National Digital Twin will include 3D, time dynamic, and even real-time data. The National Digital Twin will also allow non-open datasets, such as BIM data, to be securely shared within and between governments and industry. Bringing these diverse datasets together in a web browser, the National Digital Twin will make it possible to visualize large-scale 3D data and easily share scenarios for those who plan, design, and operate infrastructure and cities.

Penrith digital twin

Building strata visualized in Penrith, New South Wales. Image courtesy of Data61, data source: NSW Government - Spatial Services.

Because Cesium makes it possible to fuse diverse datasets in an easy-to-share, interactive environment it’s a natural platform for building large scale digital twins like this. Data61 explained why they chose Cesium for the National Digital Twin:

Cesium’s mission is essential to our mission. High-quality, 3D, web-friendly, geospatially-enabled standards like glTF and Cesium 3D Tiles help make the vision of a National Digital Twin attainable. These two international standards were created in part by the Cesium team, and they are an essential alternative to the vendor-controlled “standards” and ad-hoc solutions we would otherwise be stuck with. Meanwhile, Cesium ion pushes the envelope on the quality and scale of 3D geospatial data that can be delivered on the web.

Data61 wrote more about how they’re visualizing large-scale 3D data with the National Digital Twin on their blog.

To see your own datasets in Cesium, sign up for an ion account.