Our cities have never been so rich in data as they are now, providing us with an opportunity to utilise this information to better plan, design and manage our municipalities.

A powerful data visualisation, simulation and collaboration tool, Digital Twins create virtual replicas of small and large-scale physical objects, buildings, cities, regions and systems, a technology game-changer for the future of smart manufacturing and monitoring.

The NSW Government recently released its Digital Twin of the Western Sydney City Deal in partnership with CSIRO’s Data61. The NSW Digital Twin can be used by planners, infrastructure owners, builders, policymakers and residents alike to better understand and respond to the built and natural environment around them.


A Digital Twin is a secure way of allowing industries, businesses, individuals and other areas of Government to see a full picture of accurate, up to date datasets in a user-friendly format.

Infrastructure developers can use the Digital Twin to identify the location of underground utilities before building works commence or see the potential impact of planned future infrastructure.

By aggregating high-value transport, infrastructure, property, planning and environmental datasets directly from the owners, governments and industry can ensure they are working off the same authoritative data, and can use this data to effectively respond to different built and natural environments.

Users can interact with Digital Twin virtual replicas, for example, members of the public can add or remove layers to visualise past, present, and future infrastructure in the Western Sydney region when using the NSW Digital Twin.

The data sharing aspect of Digital Twin cityscapes, precincts and countries can be used to plan for, prevent, and support recovery from natural disasters and climate change.

As Australia’s population continues to grow, our nation’s urban needs are changing.

Cities are expanding vertically, and are growing increasingly rich in data.

The power to combine, visualise and interact with this data has never been so important, which is why CSIRO’s Data61 and the NSW Government have created the Spatial Digital Twin.

The digital twin is a powerful 3D+time live data sharing, collaboration and visualisation tool that can be used by planners, infrastructure owners, developers, policymakers and residents, to help better plan, design and manage our cities. 

Users can interact with a virtual replica of the Western Sydney region, adding and removing layers to visualise data and infrastructure, such as under- and above- ground utilities, live transport data, roads, schools and hospitals, building materials, property boundaries and valuations, strata plans, 3D trees, or any other data fed into the system.

“This visualisation service is quite comprehensive and sophisticated, and allows us to bring together data from government, from industry and from the community, place it all in the right context, and view it accurately and reliably. It's a very powerful communication tool."

"Without this Spatial Digital Twin, we can't have smart precincts, or smart cities or even a smart New South Wales, because this is the thing that actually coordinates and brings together all those different models and capabilities."

"Security is very important because we have a range of quite sensitive data, so the system is set up on a role-based user access arrangement, that allows the data owner to specify, quite specifically, who can see the data, and who's allowed to access it."

The digital twin also offers tools like a data splitter, allowing users to compare data at different times and see how infrastructure has changed.

“We’ve been working with the NSW Government to create an open-platform digital twin that can federate data from other digital twins and geospatial systems, so that previously locked away data can be made much more accessible and usable."

"The Digital Twin aggregates high-value data like planning,  property, infrastructure and environmental, straight from the owners of those datasets. This ensures that  governments and industry can use the same authoritative data to respond to many different issues in the built and natural environments.”

“This data sharing can also be used to plan for, prevent, and assist with recovery from natural disasters and climate change, and more broadly, can be used to consult and communicate with communities as these things happen.”

“This is only the beginning of the journey. Our goal is to create a national digital twin, to help understand our nation’s infrastructure and wellbeing, so that we can use data-driven decisions to plan for Australia’s future.”

See how CSIRO's Data61 can help you turn data into decisions. Visit our website to find out more.

Data61 Digital Twin

Cities and Regions

NSW Digital Twin

We are leveraging our deep strength in web-mapping and visualising data in 3D + time (the ability to look forward and back in time) to build a real-world ‘digital twin’ prototype of Western Sydney in partnership with the NSW Department of Customer Service’s Spatial Services.

By integrating data sets from across NSW Government, such as live transport data, infrastructure (above and below ground), building information models, and property boundaries (e.g. ‘strata’ boundaries), the platform will help to enable integrated city planning.

The NSW Digital Twin is built on Data61’s TerriaJS platform, an open-source technology that also powers National Map and the National Drought Map. It incorporates Data61’s open source catalogue technology MAGDA, whose built-in security features ensure only authorised individuals have access to certain types of data.

This first phase of the NSW Spatial Digital Twin includes visualisations of the local government areas that comprise the Western Sydney City Deal and Greater Parramatta to the Olympic Peninsula. Future phases of the digital twin in collaboration with NSW Spatial Services will include other areas of NSW.


Spark is an award-winning open framework for bushfire prediction and analysis created by Data61. It takes our current knowledge of fire behaviour and combines it with state-of-the-art simulation science to produce predictions, statistics and visualisations of bushfire spread.

A display of bushfire modelling and simulation platform, Spark.

It can also be used for land management and planning, fire mitigation analysis, real-time fire prediction and analysis of fire events. Spark can read weather data from meteorological forecasts and use this information directly within fire models. Geographic information, such as land slope, vegetation and un-burnable areas, such as roads and water bodies, also affect the spread of the fire. Spark allows users to easily incorporate such environmental data and to use this information to define a fire spread rate.

Predicting the spread of bushfire provides a range of benefits across a variety of sectors, including infrastructure planning, land management, emergency services and more.

Learn more about Spark.


Urban Monitor is an observation system that can track and communicate land cover and structural changes in a way that has not been previously possible. This system employs high-quality digital photography for unparalleled monitoring of environmental indicators.

UrbanMonitor can examine changes in these surfaces at high precision (e.g. 0.1 to 0.3m) – their presence, area, condition, volume and height above the ground or above sea level. To achieve this, the data is geometrically and radiometrically calibrated making quantitative comparisons in space and time possible

Learn more about UrbanMonitor [pdf · 3.4 MB].

Predicting and managing traffic congestion

In partnership with Transport NSW, Data61 developed an artificial intelligence (AI) engine to predict traffic congestion across Sydney.

Predicting traffic congestion using modelling and machine learning.

The engine complements the existing solutions by integrating machine learning with traffic simulation for short-term transport network prediction.

It ingests transport datasets for the training of special purpose predictive models, forming a closed loop with simulation models to continuously train the AI engine with new situations and responses while calibrating the simulation model.

Scientific fundamentals of the AI engine have been thoroughly tested using both historical and real-time transport datasets, such as smart card (Opal), GPS, and traffic signal data.

This work is contributing to the delivery of the next generation congestion management system for the NSW Transport Management Centre (TMC), with the system enhancing the capability to predict two hours into the future and act in five minutes, which is likely to lead to significant improvements in efficiency in managing traffic flows.

Learn more about predicting and managing traffic congestion.


Monitoring the health of structures

We have developed structural health monitoring technology using sensors, bespoke machine-learning based predictive analytics and distributed processing capabilities to enable maintenance scheduling based on the condition of assets, increasing efficiency and extending their service life.

We have used this approach to help the NSW Roads and Maritime Services with monitoring the Sydney Harbour Bridge road deck with 2,400 sensors collecting information on the road condition to provide early warning before affecting bridge users.

Learn more about how we monitor the health of structures.

Monitoring structural health on the Sydney Harbour Bridge


Mixed Reality Lab

Our state-of-the-art Mixed Reality Lab enables manufacturing and multiple other industries to create Digital Twins of real-world objects.

Infographic showing how the Mixed Reality Lab works.

An example of a manufacturing use case:

  1. manufacture an object (drawn graphic of rocket ship in a 3D printer)
  2. scan the manufactured object (drawn graphic of simplified scanner; camera; light projector; rocket ship)
  3. create and compare a digital twin of the object (drawn graphic of rocket ship on computer screen)
  4. use augmented reality to identify defects between the digital twin and the original design (drawn graphic of person wearing augmented reality googles).

Infographic: Mixed Reality Lab - how does it work?

Located in Clayton, the lab houses a set-up of industrial and consumer optical cameras and sensing equipment to capture detailed information about a physical object and the space surrounding it. The equipment is underpinned by sophisticated algorithms (Workspace) which merge the enormous amounts of data collected to create a digital twin in a matter of minutes.

The lab is a unique combination of Data61’s research expertise across machine learning, computer vision, computational modelling, IoT, and CSIRO’s patented Stereo Depth Fusion technology for depth estimation.

Learn more about the Mixed Reality Lab.


We’re able to generate highly accurate 3D maps of indoor, outdoor, built and natural environments, as well as compile the associated high-quality sensor trajectory data.

Our 3D mobile mapping technology allows direct real-time capture data of built and natural environments, which can be utilised for analysis, synthesis, decision-making, manufacturing, and more.

This award-winning technology is the world’s first continuous-time SLAM algorithm, where the trajectory is correctly modelled as a continuous function of time. This rigorous formulation has allowed us to lead the market in mobile mapping and producing the world’s first hand-held mobile mapping system and 3D spinning lidar system based on passive actuation.

Learn more about 3D SLAM.


Bluetooth Low Energy Aware Tracking (BLEAT) offers a low cost, low maintenance, long term solution capable of room level accuracy tracking of people and objects moving throughout various infrastructure.

BLEAT technology

BLEAT technology

This offers dramatic opportunities for productivity improvement (time lost locating objects and people), advanced health and safety (knowledge of people remaining during evacuations, real-time alerting to staff and customers of location specific hazards) and unprecedented knowledge of infrastructure utilisation through analytics (which can be used for optimising planning, maintenance, cleaning, building etc.).

In addition to real-time localisation of objects, BLEAT offers a novel language for describing the state of nearby objects and other contextual information that can be used to produce notification, alarms and other autonomous behaviour.

Learn more about BLEAT.

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