Germany as a high-resolution 3D model – this is the vision of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG). The first pilot project started in October 2021 in collaboration with Hexagon’s Geosystems division and the city of Hamburg. A survey aircraft, equipped with the Leica SPL100 LiDAR sensor, took off to map the Hamburg metropolitan region entirely in 3D. The area of approximately 8,000 square kilometres will be completed by the end of 2021.
If the pilot is successful, the project will continue in 2022. The goal is to produce a digital twin of Germany with a point density of at least 42 LiDAR points per square metre by 2024. The BKG will provide a tangible and intelligent digital world for Germany and plans to refresh its nationwide 3D model every three years.
The data will contain all relevant objects on the Earth’s surface – including railway lines, high-rise buildings, traffic lights and trees. According to Hexagon, the richness and detail of the 3D model allow users to view individual plants and optimise urban vegetation management.
For urban planners and city administrations, the digital twin is the ultimate tool for cost-effective infrastructure development. It allows for better planning, more informed decision-making and simplifies the inclusion of stakeholders. Simulations enable more sustainable projects in environmental sciences, public safety, and transportation networks.
Urban planners and administrators can also visualise changes over time and map future development opportunities. When it comes to climate change, for example, a digital twin serves as a basis to develop alternative courses of action and scenarios. What happens if the Rhine banks overflow or large areas experience power outages? With a digital twin, various scenarios can be simulated to assess the real-world impact before disasters occur. According to the BKG, the impacts and interrelations of measures are visualised for all stakeholders to recognise and avoid planning errors early. This way, optimal solutions can be developed to make life in Germany safe and worth living in the long run.