The goal of the session was to present the collaborative work of GATE and its partners on creating a Data Space as an enabler of the City Digital Twin and to explore open issues related to the integration of data, metadata and domain knowledge.

The session was moderated by Edward Curry, Co-Principal Investigator at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics and Vice President of the Big Data Value Association (BDVA). In his opening remarks he presented the vision of the digital twins and pointed out the data interoperability as the main challenge for making intelligent decisions.

The keynote talk was given by prof. Sylvia Ilieva, Director of the GATE Centre of Excellence.  She introduced the GATE project for establishment of a Centre of Excellence and outlined its main research and application areas.  Prof. Ilieva emphasised that GATE works towards the city data space by establishing strong collaborations with different stakeholders for sharing of data and identification of use-cases. She also pointed out that GATE’s City living lab is a contribution to the existing infrastructure in Sofia for collection of a variety of data.

Assoc. prof. Dessislava Petrova-Antonova, research group lead at GATE Centre of Excellence and leader of the GATE’s “City Digital Twin” pilot project outlined the main focus of the project – the urban planning and design, and air pollution. “The parametric urban planning is a collaborative work between GATE and Sofiaplan, which is a municipal enterprise responsible for the spatial and strategic planning of Sofia Municipality. Together with Chalmers researchers, we are working on development of sub-city level fluid dynamics models capable of simulating wind flow and dispersion of air pollutants“, noted Assoc. prof. Petrova-Antonova. She concentrated on the technological framework of the 3D city model based on semantic data. The topic was further developed by  Anders Logg from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden who presented the Digital Twins Cities Centre Gothenburg. He stressed upon the main challenges related to data, such as ownership, quality and sustainability.

Nikolay Nikolov, from SINTEF, Norway – a partner of GATE – discussed several enablers for Digital Twins, such as TimeSeries data models, databases and replication patterns.  The cross-disciplinary ontologies and semantic data integration for buildings, infrastructure, smart grid, electricity and energy efficiency were the focus of Vladimir Alexiev, from Ontotext, Bulgaria – a strategic partner of GATE.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion. The speakers and moderator came up with the conclusion that the creation of data space in Bulgaria will speed up through a strong collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

The European Big Data Value Forum (EBDVF) is the flagship event of the European Big Data Value and Data-Driven AI Research and Innovation community organised by the BDVA and the European Commission (DG CNECT). The 2021 edition was fully available on line and it  took place from the 29th of November to the 3rd of December. EBDVF 2021 theme was “Digital Transformation powered by Data and AI”. The event brought together industry professionals, business developers, researchers and policy-makers from all over Europe and other regions of the world to advance policy actions, and industrial and research activities in the areas of Data and AI. The programme tracks were structured to cover strategic aspects of technological challenges and impact, discussing the topics of adoption of industrial and trustworthy AI, Data Spaces, Data-Driven business models, standardisation, societal impacts and many others.

The session “Data Spaces Enabling City Digital Twins” was organized within the GATE project that receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 WIDESPREAD-2018-2020 TEAMING Phase 2 programme and the Operational programme “Science and Education for Smart Growth”.