These days, many people talk and write about the use of digital twins for cities, regions or even Earth. The digital twin concept describes an integrative approach for coupling static geodata, online observational data and dynamic processes in one system. The twin opens the possibility to “play” with different future scenarios, for example for urban development or climate change, in an integrative way and analyze the impacts of different strategies on the environmental system.
In general, this approach is not new, as digital geodata in 2D and 3D has existed for decades and has always been used to assess the effects of proposed changes in the city structure using different kinds of models. The new aspects of the digital twin can more be found in the integrative way, the data is stored, updated and linked in one system. Different types of analysis can be started directly within the digital twin application and the system ensures that all the data required by the different models will be extracted and forwarded to the specialized routines or software packages. Furthermore, the simulation results of the external models are taken back and integrated into the system for further analysis.
With the next release of ENVI-met, we will take the first steps towards the world of digital twins: ENVI-met will extend its API and open its internal structure to be addressed through Python modules. Monde itself will become not only the central unit for managing vector data, but also for generating, executing and managing ENVI-met simulations. This will allow users to leverage the power of ENVI-met as an integrated part of a digital twin model.