The Stage 4 extension of the Gold Coast Light Rail is a significant infrastructure project connecting the Southern Gold Coast to the existing station network. We were commissioned by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in early 2021 to assist with internal stakeholder and business case discussions at a state and federal level.
Our output is centred around an innovative web-accessible 3D digital twin, enabling users to freely explore the context of the project and view the proposed design outcomes from their smart devices via cloud streaming, with the ability to easily navigate the scene with intuitive touch controls – even from a smartphone. In addition to the free-roam model and the derived animations and multimedia presentations, the same base dataset also enabled the output of lightweight browser-based 360 degree panorama hotspot experiences to conveniently reach as many stakeholders as possible. The 3D digital twin created encompasses data on a regional scale, combining the supplied technical drawings of the rail corridor with Aerometrex Photogrammetry data and a broader Cesium World Terrain base to interrogate any aspect of the project and its surroundings.
Detailed Photogrammetry data is the ideal basis to view an existing environment, as it provides an accurate representation of the real world without manual 3D modelling requirements. Easily recognisable to locals, it serves as a powerful community consultation tool. The user is then able to layer in proposed design information, for example the rail corridor and stations, which, through V2i Realtime and the power of the Unreal Engine, can then be viewed from any vantage point. Relevant conditions and environmental factors can also be simulated without technical expertise on the side of the user. With a focus on ease of use, all key stations and precincts can be easily accessed, no matter the device. Decision-makers are now able to overlay any existing design data at the push of a button and explore impact areas in a spatial context that leaves nothing up to the risks of misinterpretation or miscommunication.
Our standard collaboration tools assist with the internal decision-making process. Users can place various measurements in the scene or create snapshot and video collateral in realtime, providing a platform to discuss and record design decisions with ease. To assist with the communication of initial concepts, a number of visual effects can be selected and applied to view the scene in a different light, rendered in real time as part of an interactive experience with the user in full control. It is then also possible to output a variety of stylised creative animations directly from the single source of truth digital twin, lending additional flexibility to the model.
We are grateful to the Queensland Government and the Department of Transport and Main Roads for their continued support and drive for innovation focused outcomes that deliver meaningful outcomes, set new industry benchmarks, and offer a better way of doing things.
We congratulate Paul Noonan and his team, particularly Shaun Hamilton and Scott Smale, for the courage they have shown in embracing what we have been informed is an Australian first, being the delivery of a realtime digital twin via cloud computing to deliver such a data-rich environment to consumer devices via no more than a standard internet connection. We are proud to see our solutions affording more meaningful, transparent, and equitable stakeholder engagement to dramatically improve the consultation and decision-making process for our Gold Coast community.