From “Earth observation” to “Earth intelligence”: EGW 2023 spotlights digital twins

calendar_month October 13, 2023 visibility 480 views timelapse 2 minutes
EGW 2023

The EuroGEO Workshop 2023 (2-4 October, Bolzano, Italy) highlighted key advances in digital twin technology dedicating a full session to “Digital Twin Development in Europe.” The inclusion of this dedicated session spotlighted GEO‘s strategic shift from “Earth Observation” to “Earth Intelligence,” aligning with its new commitments set for 2025. This evolution aims to go beyond data collection to offer actionable insights for informed decision-making.

Thomas Geenen, Technology Partnership Lead for Destination Earth at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) introduced the Digital Twin Engine, the software infrastructure behind the digital twins, and the first two digital twins, crucial components of the Destination Earth initiative, currently being developed by ECMWF.

These digital twins are like virtual copies of real-world systems. They are designed to create very detailed simulations that can predict extreme weather events and help us prepare for climate change. The information they produce is saved in a large data storage area called the DestinE Data Lake. You can access this data through a service called the Destination Earth Service Platform.

Jordi Duatis from EUMETSAT presented the DestinE Data Lake (DEDL), this essential DestinE component provides seamless access to DestinE Digital Twins data and large number of other data from various data spaces. Jordi also described the DEDL big data processing services offer allowing near-data processing and supporting AI/ ML applications executed on the DEDL. The DEDL aims to provide tailored access to high-quality knowledge for user-specific scenario development, supporting evidence-based decision-making.

Additional presentations highlighted ongoing European projects and initiatives focused on Digital Twins, including EGI’s InterTwin, ILIAD’s Digital Twin of the Ocean, a dedicated Digital Twin for Germany, and ESA’s Digital Twin Earth programme.

In the poster session following the session, the ESA DestinE Core Service Platform Use Cases project (DEUC) presented a poster on their activities.

The EuroGEO Workshop 2023 aims to align European activities with the forthcoming GEO Post-2025 Strategy, set to be adopted in November 2023. The new strategy shifts from a sole focus on the accessibility of Earth observation data to include the integration of advanced technologies like digital twins with traditional data sources, bringing DestinE very much into alignment with the GEO strategy. This new approach aims to provide comprehensive, user-oriented services that empower communities to address environmental, societal, and economic challenges, thereby making Earth Intelligence a cornerstone for sustainable development.

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