Northern Ontario town gets government funding to create a digital twin


Acorn Information Solutions (Acorn)the geomatics and software development branch of the non-profit organization Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center (SSMIC) which provides solutions for building smart cities, has won a contract for the implementation of a digital twinning project for the City of Elliot Lake, Ontario.

SSMIC claims to have used ESRI’s new technology as the platform for the digital twin. Elliot Lake will be one of the first in the province to implement ESRI’s GIS technology, which is based on ArcGIS online and what is called a Utility Network Platform. Acorn previously created custom code in existing software to create the original digital twin in Sault Ste. Married.

“We are currently updating our digital twin with the latest technology from ESRI. However, our award-winning part is not a technology but an approach to creating a digital twin based on how it is described in our case study“, a spokesperson for Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Center told Computer World Canada.

The town of just over 11,000 inhabitants applied for a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Municipal Modernization Grant to be one of the first cities in Ontario to implement this solution. Funding details were not disclosed.

The digital twin will focus on digital modeling of all city assets such as fire hydrants, streetlights, transformers and underground pipelines, says SSMIC, which primarily functions as an enabler of economic development in energy technologies. information and knowledge-based sectors.

Acorn has developed its base of expertise over a 20-year period, when it first digitized all assets in the City of Sault Ste. Married. “Through this process, we found it allowed us to layer additional data from multiple industries to help many stakeholders make more informed decisions,” said Paul Beach, Director of Acorn.

Beach explained that “when you start with the basic data of your community [infrastructure and utilities] you can overlay other data already available from sources like Statistics Canada and your local public health units to make decisions that will improve the overall well-being of your community.

“We sometimes refer to ‘digital twinning’ as a community information utility because it is comprised of data that will aid in decision-making for infrastructure, utility management and multiple community service providers. noted Peter Bruijns, Executive Director, SSMIC. “If you can use data to improve responsiveness to community needs and increase efficiency, that’s what makes your city smart.”

An example of data overlay that Acorn has implemented to help provide insights to city decision makers is the installation of Audible Pedestrian Signals (APS) at pedestrian crossings. Typically, money spent on APS installation would be spent equally across all neighborhoods in the community, but overlaying municipal infrastructure data, using CNIB customer survey data, commonly used pedestrian routes, street speed and several other data points, Acorn says it has created a suitability map for city decision makers to help guide their choices regarding the locations of the APS that would best serve the community.

“Being able to move from a paper environment to a digital environment will make a world of difference by allowing us to see elements of our city in real time, saving us time and money,” said Daniel Gagnon, general manager of Elliot Lake. . “With a digital twin of our community, we will be able to operate more efficiently and achieve more.”


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