What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is an exact 3D model of the physical locality featuring buildings, roads, streets, pavements, open/green/recreational areas, and other build-ups like traffic islands, roundabouts, etc. Digital twins enable the achievement of a smart city using the Internet of Things (IoT) powered sensors that provide live information 24/7. This data includes air quality, traffic counters, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction and deflection, noise levels, etc., to enable a live representation and forecasts of the Urban Heat Island by using Artificial Intelligence (AI). Such a digital twin can simulate the impact of traffic management and real estate development with scientific data to create policy and aid decision-making and city planning. In an ever-worsening climatic crisis, digital twins play an important role in simulating extreme rainfall and storms, floods from tides and seaquakes, etc., to develop guidelines for adaptation and resilience to climate change at a locality level. Civil Protection may use digital twins to create mass evacuation plans for the locality and train the people accordingly.
Been there, done that and wore the JUSTNature T-Shirt…
By utilising the keep-it-simple tree data acquisition approach conceived inhouse by the Research Innovation Unit, the students at Stella Maris College learned in a non-formal fieldwork set-up, to be acquainted with nature, recognise varied species of trees, appreciate trees and their immense benefits, and how to determine the age of the tree by utilising non-intrusive and destructive methods. Students also learned geotagging, geolocating and coordinate systems, and photometry, apart from benefiting from team building and group work with fellow students and educators. Past the analysis of the data capture, RIU will team up with science teachers and the SLT at Stella Maris College to present the scientific findings to the students. The processed data will be added to the data of other trees found within the locality. The wholistic data will be provided for free download as a shapefile for use in Geographic Information System (GIS) from our portal.
As the name implies, JUSTNature is about being JUST with co-governance, co-creation, co-design, equality, and inclusion concepts. Despite being a boys-only church school, the SLT of Stella Maris College ascertained the team at Research Innovation Unit with the participation of all students within Grade 7, including those with ADHD, Autism, or other special needs. The logistical process for the exercise was notable and admirable, dating since July 2022. Teachers were preparing the students in advance throughout the first term of the scholastic year for this day event not to disrupt the national curriculum of studies; the SLT sought signed consent forms from the student’s parents/legal guardians as per GDPR and we were lucky to have a warm, clear day during the event that was enjoyed by all.
This is the first such event with a school in Malta, and we are working to replicate this event with other schools throughout Malta and Gozo.