Going Digital Awards for Innovation in Infrastructure -Finalists
The finalists for the 2022 awards have been announced, and we’d like to highlight a few…
The finalists have been announced for the annual Year in Infrastructure – Going Digital Awards. Selecting from global nominations for projects in categories representing innovation in key aspects of the digitalization of AEC and infrastructure, this is one of the premier annual awards and event for these sectors.. Categories focus on infrastructure industry sectors, that include transportation, energy, facilities, and more, in any phase of infrastructure lifecycles—planning, design, construction, and operations.
Finalists will present their projects before an expert panel of jurors, and attendees of the Year in Infrastructure event, hosted by Bentley Systems, held in London, 14-15 November 2022. Winners and finalists will be honored at the gala Going Digital Awards dinner and will be featured in the annual Infrastructure Yearbook.
You can check out all the finalists for each of 12 categories, but we’d like to highlight a selection of finalists from several of the categories that substantially include geomatics elements—our “hot picks”, so to speak.
While the projects themselves are impressive often from sheer scaler and scope, what these awards focus on is the benefits realized by digitalization of various aspects of the projects, through the use of modelling, visualization, analysis, project management, and collaboration software solutions.
There is a new category this year: Surveying and Monitoring. It is great to see the vital role of surveying and geomatics highlighted in these prestigious awards.
Surveying and Monitoring: HDR – Murray Dam Condition Assessment
The monitoring of structures like dams and bridges is time consuming, costly, hazardous, and hence legacy methods may only provide limited samples of data. HDR and their client have taken the approach of developing a digital twin for the purposes of condition assessment for the dam at the Lake Murray Reservoir in Sand Diego County, USA.
HDR combined UAS images and terrestrial scans to produce a high-precision 3D meshed model digital twin to which multi-sourced data is attached. This reduces the need for manual inspections and helps analyze future issues. While models like this would not directly replace structural health monitoring sensors and mandated deflection surveys, being able to eventually combine all data in a digital twin is a welcome prospect. Folks involved in such monitoring (like me) have been looking forward to such developments for a long time.
Construction: ACCIONA – Safely Removing Dangerous Level Crossings Through Digital Construction
A project to remove 20 street-level crossings and build 13 stations along the busy Melbourne-to-Frankston rail line was streamlined through the employment of collaborative digital planning and construction software. Of particular interest is the use of simulation software to find the safest and most efficient construction approach. This collaborative environment, and digital twin elements reduced staging and ad-hoc drafting work and made for effective stakeholder engagement. The impacts on passenger service are also minimized.
Enterprise Engineering: National Highways (UK) Complex Infrastructure Programme – Digital Twin Deployment Pilot Project
Complex infrastructure in all phases of planning ,design, build, and operations generates (and requires) massive piles of data that is often not very well federated. This pilot project to leverage digital twin-based data federation to create designs and manage construction to reduce congestion and preserve the area around the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. This project greatly improves the efficiency of data exchange processes.
Facilities, Campuses, and Cities: Kokusai Kogyo CO., LTD. – Project PLATEAU: Japan’s Largest 3D City Model Project
56 cities in Japan are undergoing a digital twinning process. Digital twins of cities can be so much more than simply a UAS image generated mesh model. While those can be of great value, it is great to see an example like this one that drills down into the intricacies of complex structures, and other infrastructure that can enable true smart city management. Adding the extra detail put a premium on processing of massive amounts of data, that was reduced to a manageable level with advanced software employed by this finalist firm.
Geoprofessional: GHD – Cressbrook Dam
This example of building a 3D digital twin for this water supply dam in Queensland Australia includes historical data, going back as far as the 1980s. The model provides an excellent environment for condition assessment, especially as historic data, including geotechnical data, could be federated to provide a fuller picture for analysis, dam safety, and future design.
Rail and Transit: PT Wijaya Karya (Persero) TBK – Integrated High-Speed Rail And Station Jakarta-Bandung
Again, here is an example of how a digital twin can serve as a “single source of truth” for collaborative design and construction teams. This finalist reflected on experiences with legacy 2D methods, compared to the gains from the streamlined workflows of going 3D and fully digital. From the improved efficiency, and design quality, they estimate savings of $185M (USD) in construction costs and shortening the construction schedule by six months.
Roads and Highways: AFRY – New Test Track For Autonomous And Electrified Vehicles
A test facility for Scania, a transport solution provider, built on varied terrain, needed to include representative road and traffic conditions that could fit into their site in Sweden. It is a very complex design, and a challenge to construct. Detailed 3D models were produced that enabled automated drafting where appropriate, improvements in construction staging, and substantial reductions in expected rework for a construction project of that scale and scope.
Bridges and Tunnels: Ferrovial Construction and Alamo NEX Construction – IH35 Nex Central Station
Fitting 3 additional lanes each way in a limited width existing Texas highway right of way was certainly a challenge. The solution was to build elevated viaducts. Designing these in advanced road and bridge software, creating a digital twin for the project collaborative environment. In addition to utility clash detection, improved materials management, and other benefits, they also leveraged the 3D environment to resolve potential visibility issues.
Trends and Opportunities
Other categories include process and power generation, grids, structural engineering, water, and wastewater systems. These also share what seems to be a running theme: the leveraging of digital twins. It seems that digital twins have evolved rapidly from wonderful idea to real-world applications for projects large and small. Keep in mind, that digital twins, especially in the pre-design and construction as-built phases need precise and accurate surveyed and captured data—a lot of data. A global digital twin revolution should equate to a lot of work for surveyors and geomatics professionals. As these project exemplify, this is the path forward for infrastructure and the digitalization of AEC. We’re looking forward to more in-depth profiles of some of this year’s winners.
Note: The Year in Infrastructure Going Digital Awards and event are sponsored by Bentley Systems; nominee, finalist, and winner projects all feature the use of one or more Bentley Systems software packages.