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NSW’s Digital Twin to aid bushfire planning

Image Credits: GovTech Review, News Article

The NSW Department of Customer Service’s Spatial Services division has teamed up with the CSIRO’s Data61 to make the state government’s Digital Twin available to assist emergency services in developing effective emergency management strategies.

The Digital Twin Visualisation Service, developed in collaboration with Data61, will be updated with a new 3D spatial dataset mapping the locations of telecommunications towers and critical assets across NSW.

This new dataset will be used to enable emergency services to better protect these vital locations before and during a disaster. The new capability has been developed in response to the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry, which identified the loss of connectivity as one of the recurring issues faced during the devastating last bushfire season.

The enquiry found that the reliable sharing of critical infrastructure, telecommunications and spatial information will be a key component to preventing a similarly devastating summer in 2020–21.

The Head of Resilience NSW and previously NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner stated that there is nothing more powerful than the spatial layers to paint the picture about what’s at risk, so having access to the Digital Twin allows for the investigation into preventative and mitigation strategies.

He added, “in an unfolding emergency, like a bushfire, we can know in advance what’s likely to happen in that fire in the next few days, making sure we can shore up protection as much as we can. Having a Digital Twin for communications infrastructure means we can factor into our risk planning and our annual treatments in the months and years before a fire impact.”

The Data61 Web Geospatial Systems Group Leader also noted that the collaboration highlights Data61’s role as an ecosystem enabling data infrastructure, helping governments and industry make better planning decisions.

He said the Digital Twin Visualisation Service leverages Data61’s deep strength in web-mapping and visualising data in 4D (3D + time, which is the ability to look forward and back in time) to build a real-world digital twin that can help protect communities and assets in times of need.

Using tech to help navigate bushfires

OpenGov Asia previously reported on the recently-launched  My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app which guide users through the creation of a plan in easy-to-follow steps that can be completed in just minutes. Designed and built-in WA, the new platform is an Australian first innovation commissioned by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

The website and companion app will assist people to make critical decisions ahead of the bushfire season. It will help them decide what they will do if a bushfire threatens their home and guide them to identify when they will leave, what they will take and where they will go.

Having a plan in place before a bushfire strikes can make all the difference when decisions made during a highly stressful event can cost lives. The new website and app were launched in conjunction with a bushfire awareness advertising campaign.

The campaign urges people to rethink their personal risk with just one in 10 Western Australians having a bushfire plan. The $1 million How Fireproof is Your Plan? campaign asks the community to evaluate their bushfire plans by showing the devastating consequences of being caught in a raging fire.

The new My Bushfire Plan website and mobile app are very straightforward and contain some vital information that can save lives or properties. Users must know beforehand what actions they will take during a bushfire and having a plan in place at their fingertips during an emergency could be the difference between life and death.

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