Fishermans bend artist impression. Image: Arup

The Victorian government is using state-of-the-art planning and mapping technology to create a digital ‘twin’ of Australia’s largest urban renewal project, Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.

The use of 4-dimensional building information modelling (4D BIM) to map the emerging Green Star redevelopment of this major urban development projects will allow stakeholders and development partners to visualise the impact of planning and design decisions through time.

Victorian planning Minister Richard Wynne said the cutting-edge technology would allow architects, planners and the public to look into the future of Fishermans Bend.

“It will ensure Victoria takes the lead in planning and spatial services – meaning we can make better decisions and keep Victoria one of the most liveable places in the world,” Mr Wynne said.

University of Melbourne has been selected to design and develop the Fishermans Bend ‘Digital Twin Demonstrator Project’

The digital twin, being undertaken in partnership with the University of Melbourne, will collect, manage and visualise complex information using geospatial innovations to make better decisions about future cities, according to director of the Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration at the university, Professor Abbas Rajabifard.

City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and CSIRO’s Data61 are key partners in the project, while Melbourne Water and other state agencies will be engaged as collaborators.

The modelling will incorporate 3D mapping of both above ground and below ground elements using geospatial technology and incorporate modelling of changes over time, that is, the 4th dimension.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Dick Gross told The Fifth Estate there would be benefits for sustainability, planning, community engagement and Council’s own capabilities in the virtual engineering space.

“The new digital twin model enables Council to test the impact of new development and better understand the location and planning of infrastructure, and capture these changes over time, resulting in better decisions about the future of Fishermans Bend,” he said.

Partnering with the state government on the initiative also enables Council to take advantage of the latest developments in technology for city modelling, ensuring the best outcomes for current and future residents of City of Port Phillip.

“The advantage of the 4D digital twin is it captures a level of detail previously not possible,” Mr Gross said. “It shows everything which currently exists, and can then model changes over time – both above and below ground, and even inside buildings.”

“Walking, cycling, and transport routes, and green space can all be shown in the model and we are able to test the intersection of these amenities with planning controls, creating better and more sustainable outcomes.”

Mr Gross said the 4D model would also be a great tool for demonstrating the changes envisaged for Fishermans Bend to the community, with Virtual and Augmented Reality enabling members of the community to experience planned changes in real time.

The Victorian government is using digital modelling across the state’s portfolio of current and planned infrastructure assets. In February this year, it launched the Victorian Digital Assets Strategy, which includes both digital engineering and the use of BIM.

The strategy will be applied across all infrastructure categories, including roads and rail, and buildings and system-based assets.

The Queensland and NSW governments are also using digital engineering in asset planning, delivery and management.

From 1 July, this year, all Queensland government construction projects with a value greater than $50 million will be required to use BIM from the early planning phase.

In NSW, an ambitious plan is seeing the entire state gradually cloned in digital space. The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, Spatial Services and CSIRO’s Data61 have partnered to develop an interactive platform that will capture and display in real-time both 3D and 4D spatial data to model the built environment.

The first phase of the twinning project is now underway, with a digital visualisation of the local government areas within the Western Sydney City Deal, and the Greater Parramatta to Olympic Peninsula area being upgraded from conventional 2D mapping to 4D geospatial representation that integrates infrastructure and building modes, and temporal elements, such as live transport feeds.

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