North Carolina City Taps Digital Twin for Sustainability

The city of Raleigh is using Esri digital mapping tech to help monitor and mitigate issues such as rising urban heat

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

May 3, 2024

1 Min Read
Thermal image of a tree in Chavis Park
Thermal image of a tree in Chavis ParkCity of Raleigh

The city of Raleigh in North Carolina is using digital twin technology to inform city planning, pursue sustainability and tackle rising temperatures.

The tool uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software from Esri, a California-based digital mapping company that uses AI-powered software to create digital twins of cities.

Raleigh first launched its initiative to reduce urban heat in 2021, with a series of partnerships with organizations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to collect the data needed to map Raleigh’s urban heat islands.  

To create the digital twin, Esri combined this data with its own lidar technology to map certain areas in the city.

"Cities are complex, and in order to understand [them], we need to get visibility into how the city works," said Jim Alberque, Raleigh’s GIS manager.

Data from the city’s digital twin is being used to inform three pilot projects to address urban heat and improve sustainability: the Cool Roadways Pilot Project, Street Tree Equity and Green Stormwater Infrastructure.

Under the projects, the software is used to map urban heat hot spots and identify optimum areas for implementing remedial measures, such as tree planting and reflective paint application.

Related:Phoenix Rolls Out Smart City Tech to Automate Waste Collection

The Street Tree Equity project is part of the city’s Urban Forestry scheme in partnership with the Parks and Natural Resources Division of Raleigh Parks, to plant 1,000 street trees over three years.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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