New South Wales’ digital twin will undergo extensive work over the next 12 months to bring to life its next set of features, with the state government to enlist the help of a third-party delivery partner to build out the platform.
But with funding provided by the former Coalition government to deliver a 4D model of the state expected to dry up by the middle of next year, the department in charge will likely have to return for extra funds at a time of severe budgetary pressures.
New South Wales has been developing its Spatial Digital Twin (SDT) with the assistance of CSIRO’s Data61 since 2018 to provide a virtual representation of buildings and utilities, strata plans, terrain and property boundaries.
The proof-of-concept (PoC) debuted with eight local government areas in early 2020 and has since expanded to others areas, including Bathurst as part of a broader program of worked called Live.NSW.
Live.NSW, which is funded with the same $40 million injected by the Digital Restart Fund in late 2021, will deliver a new platform that can be used to inform life decisions like where to move based on school catchments.
In a request for tender this month, the Spatial Services arm of the Department of Customer Service put out the call for a technology partner to build out three “key” products — SDT Explorer, SDT Stories and SDT Data Portal — identified in the Live.NSW roadmap.
“To assist Live.NSW in achieving its stated goals, the program is looking for a key partnership with a delivery partner to assist in the development and enhancements to three SDT products,” tender documents show.
The technology partner will provide a “group of skilled technology professions” to work with public servants on the products – which are currently in the early stages of development – between September and the end of June 2024.
Work on the SDT Explorer – a visualisation product – is yet to begin, while the product that guides a customer through a spatial narrative (SDT Stories) is a PoC. The SDT Data Portal exists but requires re-architecture and upgrade.
“These products are required to leverage existing underpinning spatial technology to help achieve the Live NSW goal of providing, sharing and delivering authoritative spatial data across government via [a] single source of truth,” tender documents state.
“A preliminary capability is currently provided through the SDT Data Portal, which requires an evolution to support, share and integrate greater volumes of data automatically and in real time.”
As of December 2022, the government had spent $16.6 million of the $40 million allocated to develop the SDT. The funding will run until the end of this financial year, at which time, the Minns government will need to stump up a further $59.5 million to finish the work.
“Subject to full funding of the program, as per the approved business case, full 3D coverage of all NSW can be completed by June 2026,” the former government said in answers to questions on notice late last year that also reveal the full cost of the program will come in at $99.5 million.
Last month, Treasurer Daniel Mookhey foreshadowed tough decisions will need to be made in the upcoming September Budget to address “severe challenges”, having already flagged around $7 billion in immediate cost pressures in April.
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