“A huge time-saving exercise which would have ordinarily taken up to 40 times longer if using traditional surveying methods.”
Singapore is home to some of the most proﬁtable ﬁnancial services, manufacturing and oil-reﬁning corporations in the world. But with its accomplishments come some very specific challenges for a city-state which is limited by space but still demanding growth. Determined to future-proof Singapore’s success, the country has embarked on one of the most ambitious digital twinning projects the world has ever seen – creating a dynamic 3D city model and collaborative data platform, including 3D maps of the region.
Titled “Virtual Singapore”, it will be the authoritative 3D digital platform intended for use by the public, private and research sectors. The tool will contain previously-collected and real-time data, allowing users to simulate both present and future scenarios. Virtual Singapore relies on key input datasets from multiple sources to build up a clear, accessible, comprehensive tool to analyse and understand Singapore’s built environment.
Interactive 3D models of Virtual Singapore
At the initial stage of the project a signiﬁcant challenge was thrown up. It quickly became clear that aerial imagery would not adequately capture information on ‘void decks’ – open spaces typically found on the ground ﬂoor of the city’s apartment blocks. Also, semantic 3D modelling was required which comprises detailed information such as texture and material representation of geometric objects. In the face of ﬁerce competition, GeoSLAM’s ZEB-REVO was selected as the most innovative and efﬁcient scanning solution for these ‘hard to reach’ places.
With a handheld “go-anywhere” ZEB-REVO, ﬁeld teams could quickly capture a dense and accurate point cloud of an entire void deck, which was then used to model the deck geometry to incorporate into the existing building models. 376 buildings with void decks were scanned using the ZEB-REVO, taking approximately 100 hours – an enormous time-saving exercise which ordinarily would have taken up to 40 times longer using traditional surveying methods.
The ZEB-REVO is often used alongside terrestrial hardware as the products are highly complementary. The data output can be easily combined through geo-referencing or scan-to-scan matching and then used to build complete 3D models. In this instance, the combination delivered highly detailed and rapid results while also signiﬁcantly minimising costs.
About Virtual Singapore
Singapore’s intricate digital twin is an extensive R&D programme championed by National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore (NRF), the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech).
Even upon completion, this project will be ever-growing and developing due to the incorporation of static, dynamic and real-time city data. This will be a powerful tool which could revolutionise the way in which we optimise our cities through analysis, decision making and problem-solving processes.
Examples include, identifying the safest route for cyclists to take, or overlaying heat and noise maps for simulation to establish optimum levels of these elements, or using rooftop data to determine which buildings have the most potential for solar energy production.