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How can transportation owner operators transform a mass of project data into an enduring resource for a lengthy and successful whole life operation? 

Penny Swords

Director, Seequent Evo, Seequent  

Transportation infrastructure projects are magnets for data. During construction they attract and require vast amounts of it, offering the potential to make clearer, better, faster decisions. But just as importantly, the data collected can be invaluable across the whole life operation and maintenance of a new asset – potentially a lifetime of many decades.  

Unfortunately, the processes used to manage and analyse this data are often disconnected and manual. Its volume and variety are overwhelming and constantly changing. Quite often data arrives at such a rapid pace that it can be hard to understand the significance of the changes it portrays, while the opportunity value of data capture and storage may also be missed. 

As road and rail assets increasingly rely on data and analytics, how do we facilitate the convergence of that data to ensure better and more confident decisions? How can we build connected ecosystems that turn a mass of disparate data into real-world value for resilience and operation? 

The role of the digital twin 

One versatile and powerful solution to this onslaught of data is to harness it in the form of a digital twin – a digital representation of a physical asset that also encompasses its engineering information. Bringing together data in a cohesive digital twin helps us to understand and model the asset’s performance in a detailed and insightful manner.  

It allows for a full representation of the data even when the nature of that data is enormously varied. Importantly it can also be continuously updated from multiple sources, including sensors and surveying, delivering a near real-time representation of its status, working condition or position. 

Why the Cloud and digital twins make a compelling partnership 

Meanwhile, the Cloud also offers an important opportunity in creating a connected and automated environment, one that can extract maximum value from the zettabytes of data collected by our modern world.  

Geoscientists and engineers need to be able to use the right tools for the right job. Sometimes these tools will come from a single vendor, but most often not, adding extra layers of conversion and data manipulation. Cloud-based technology, when linked to a digital twin, allows for seamless data interfaces between software vendors. This removes manual tasks from users’ workflows, so reducing the potential for delays and errors.   

With a powerful digital twin and flexible cloud support to enable it, organisations can become proactive rather than reactive. Instead of waiting for change to happen, owners and operators can anticipate that change and take a proactive approach to maintaining the assets under their control – extending their life, increasing their resilience, and containing their budgets. 

For the full version of this feature, with more ideas, practical tips, product suggestions and a case study, download our eBook.

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