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Introducing our digital twin

It’s true, YVR has a twin! A digital twin. This virtual, real time interactive representation of YVR provides unmatched access to our terminal and airfield as well as Sea Island and Musqueam lands through technology, enabling us to enhance how we support our people and community. 

When we launched our Innovation Hub @YVR last spring, we posed the question – what if YVR was also an access point for learning and leading innovations in sectors outside aviation to engage the community in new ways? YVR’s digital twin is our response and the first major marker out of YVR’s Innovation Hub – making YVR more than an airport.

Recognizing the pandemic as an opportunity to lead the economic recovery in B.C., we took-on the digital twin platform as a people-first solution to help us thrive in the future. At its core, our digital twin allows training, optimization, future planning, simulation, testing and more by visualizing data without direct impacts to airport operations. The airport has an amazing amount of data, in the form of passenger movements, complex logistics, and flight schedules. The digital twin allows us to use this information in new ways through 2D and 3D visualizations, enabling data-driven decision making and collaboration which has never been available before and that will benefit our operations and enhance the passenger experience at YVR.

Beyond our operations, with the digital twin we also have the potential to solve challenges outside of aviation or even other industries around the world. How will we do this? We’ll leverage YVR’s digital twin as the digital learning ground for the Innovation Hub @YVR, a platform through which YVR will connect and collaborate with local businesses and our community to drive new ideas that will support the future growth of our region.

For example, another way YVR is trialing the use of its digital twin is through modeling aircraft movements and activity on the airfield to reduce GHG emissions, as part of YVR’s initiative to become the World’s Greenest Airport. Additionally, together with Musqueam, YVR is not only providing training and skills development opportunities for Musqueam but exploring the possibilities in digitizing the airport’s Indigenous art collection, starting with Susan Point’s Welcome Figures. In doing so, YVR will be further actioning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)and responding to the Truth and Reconciliation call to action number 92 – Business and Reconciliation.

We’re incredibly proud of the work that’s been accomplished so far and wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our partners. YVR’s Digital Twin technology is developed in part with Unity, the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, Vancouver-based GeoSim Cities, experts in large-scale precision 3D modelling, and Thynkli, a local company providing expertise in digital business transformation.

We look forward to sharing more updates in the weeks and months to come!

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