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Underground Digital Twins
Moving from the Street to Below the Street

Thursday, 1 December 2022

“Is It Call Before You Dig or Model Before You Dig?” 

Sponsored by

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Supported by



Subsurface digital models are an essential part of every smart city, but collecting, integrating, and sharing subsurface location and other data points have unique challenges.


Creating a digital twin of a city requires not only information about buildings and transportation networks, but also the subsurface conditions: utility, telecommunication, transportation, and other infrastructure elements. Digital models of underground infrastructure are characterized by important challenges that distinguish them from the above-ground digital models that require important changes in current geometric models of underground infrastructure to enable them to be used as a basis for a sub-surface digital twin. These fall into the general categories of fitness for purpose, data quality, transparency, and accessibility.

Digital twins are living models and therefore need to reflect the changes in real time of the underlying assets. New technology advances are driving fundamental changes in how underground utility location data is captured and maintained. A key challenge is responsibility for data quality. Jurisdictions are mandating Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) surveys and accurate as-builts in which professional surveyors and professional engineers are responsible for data quality.  

  • The first challenge is how are the results of SUE surveys and accurate as-builts to be shared outside of projects?

  • Secondly, the vast majority of underground locating is carried out by locators in response to one call requests.


To enable locators to contribute in a meaningful way to improving location data about existing underground infrastructure, we are going to have to look at new innovative technologies for conducting locate operations, capturing and sharing the results, potentially new qualifications and certifications for locators, and new ways of assigning responsibility for data collected during routine locate operations.


While there are many challenges and additional complexities specifically related to underground infrastructure, lessons learned regarding data capture, data management, and data sharing  from above-ground infrastructure efforts need to be leveraged to the greatest extent possible. 


This event may qualify for GIS Certification Institute continuing education credits.

To submit for GISP Points, visit www.gisci.org to self-submit the event curriculum for approval. 


  • City/State/Retional/National geospatial agencies

  • Contractors

  • Government Public Works agencies

  • Government policy wonks

  • Network operators/owners

  • Public works agencies

  • Surveyors

  • State OneCall Centers ("Call before you dig")

  • Telecoms

  • Transportation agencies

  • Utilities

  • Utility engineers

Topics to be covered:

  • Standards-based subsurface data model key objective of New York's underground infrastructure resilience project / MUDDI Model (Model for Underground Data Definition and Integration)​

  • Subsurface Digital Twins / impact on subsurface data modeling

  • "Reveal Digital Twin" Wellington, NZ / insurance industry implications

  • Experience of earth observation and other data sources relevant to sharing underground infrastructure

  • Role of government in enabling the capture and sharing information about underground infrastructure / how this relates to standard one-call legislation and practice in North America

  • Responsibility for data quality. What is the role of professional engineers and professional land surveyors for accurate as-builts and SUE surveys and routine locating, involving locators, one-call centers, construction crews and network operators on the other. Focus on liability issues.

  • Different approaches for improving the quality of underground infrastructure. Without this, reducing underground utility data will remain a challenge, which will impede the development of subsurface digital twins.

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Thursday, 1 December 2022
All times in US Mountain time


9:30 am 

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Barbara Ryan, Executive Director, World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC)


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9:35am - 11:30am


The Importance of Geospatial Data in Urban Areas: Strengthening New York's Underground Infrastructure

A review of standards-based subsurface data model key objective of New York's underground infrastructure resilience project / MUDDI Model (Model for Underground Data Definition and Integration)​

Alan Leidner, Consultant to UMSI, the Open Geospatial Consortium, and NYU UNUM Project. Board Member NYC GISMO

The Role of Digital Twins in Underground Infrastructure

Prashant Shukle, Vice Chair. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors / Chief Strategy and Operating Officer, KorrAI

Invited Panelists:

  • Lawrence Arcand, Chair: Public Utilities Management & Transportation, Assn. of Canada, ASCE 38, and CSA S-250

  • Barbara Cederberg, COO, Gopher State One Call

  • Tony Marino, Executive Officer, California Underground Facilities Safe

  • Brenda Reigle, Executive Director, NUCA of Pennsylvania

  • Victor Khoo, Director Survey & Geomatics, Singapore Land Authority

  • Rob Martindale, Colorado DOT

  • Nigel Clifford, Deputy Commissioner, UK Geospatial Consortium

  • Sam Wiffen, CEO, Reveal, Wellington New Zealand

  • Peter Atalla, Founder & CEO, Voxelmaps Inc

  • Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, Geospatial Solutions Director, Bad Elf

Invited Agencies/Organizations:

  • CalTrans

  • Maryland DOT

  • Texas DOT

  • Montana DOT

  • Common Ground Alliance

  • Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance

  • State OneCall Centers

  • Associated General Contractors

  • Abu Dhabi UAE

  • Gas Technology Institute

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11:30am - Close

Brown Bag Lunch and Virtual Networking



Bring your own lunch and join us after the educational sessions for virtual networking in a unique proximity-audio/video-based networking lounge.  You have to experience this - the most fun you'll have in a virtual event!

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Event MC/Moderators

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Barbara Ryan

Executive Director, World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC)

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Under Ryan’s leadership, millions of satellite images have been made available to the general public at no charge, allowing scientists, planners, and policy makers to make better-informed decisions on a range of environmental problems. Her advocacy for revamping the 36-year-old Landsat Data Policy (in 2008) has resulted in annual economic benefits of $2.1B globally. Barbara’s career began in 1974 at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) where she spent the next 34 years working in seven States and Washington, D.C. From 2008 to 2012, she was Director of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Space Programme, and from 2012 to 2018, Ryan was the Secretariat Director of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in Geneva, Switzerland. In January 2021, Barbara became the second Executive Director of the World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC), a global not-for-profit trade association of private-sector companies working in the geospatial and Earth observation ecosystem.  Her interests build on a long career in environmental governance, science and technology, and international collaboration.  She is a strong advocate for open data policies, the integration of Earth observations, and hyper-partnering to ensure that existing and planned resources can be more effectively used to address the significant environmental and social issues facing the world today.


Peter Atalla

Peter Atalla

Founder and CEO, Voxelmaps Inc

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Peter Atalla is CEO and Founder of Voxelmaps Inc, a leading GIS mapping company building 4D Maps for Machines. He has been in the mapping industry for 17 years and has led large scale international mapping projects for some of the biggest technology companies in the world. Previously he was CEO and founder of Navmii a navigation and mapping company with over 30 million users that mapped 180 countries. Peter is a technology entrepreneur with 2 successful exits.

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Alan Leidner

Alan Leidner, Consultant to UMSI, the Open Geospatial Consortium,
and NYU UNUM Project. Board Member NYC GISMO

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As an Urban Planner during the 1970's, Alan Leidner worked for the NYC Department of City Planning developed expertise in local area analysis and in the NYC zoning code. He then took an interest in City use of technology, supporting City membership in Public Technology Incorporated (PTI) and helping to introduce microcomputers into City government as the Technology Coordinator for the Mayor's Office.  Alan then moved to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection where he became IT Director and where I coordinated the NYC Enterprise GIS effort. He directed City GIS as Assistant Commissioner and organized the Emergency Mapping and Data Center following 9/11. When he retired from City government he became a Booz Allen Hamilton consultant working on infrastructure protection issues. After leaving Booz Alan was hired as Director of FCNY's Center for Geospatial Innovation. His current focus is on making infrastructure data interoperable and in improving the way information is used to support disaster and emergency operations. He served as President of the NYS GIS Association andis currently President of NYC GISMO whose membership has just gone above 400.

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Prashant Shukle

Chief Strategy and Operating Officer, KorrAI
Vice Chair, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors

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Prashant Shukle is Chief Strategy and Operating Officer of KorrAI, a Canadian-based Earth Observation startup, and Vice Chair of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors. He served over thirty years in the Canadian federal public service, with twelve years as Director-General of the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation. Prashant also serves as a strategic advisor, mentor, and board member for such organisations as the World Geospatial Industry Council, PlaceFund; and the AECO Innovation Lab Board of Experts.

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Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, GISP

Geospatial Solutions Director, Bad Elf

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Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, GISP isa Geospatial Evangelist, Solutions Provider, and Educator. He is Geospatial Solutions Director with Bad Elf. For nearly two decades Dr. Smilovsky has focused his efforts on the professional and academic expansion of the geospatial professions. Whether working for a plethora of different types of private consulting firms collecting, analyzing, and displaying geographic data or working as an academic, researching and contributing to the corpus of educational knowledge, his passion in life is geography. As an energetic and enthusiastic public speaker, teacher, and thought leader he has enjoyed sharing successes with others and seeing them flourish. Specifically, his interests in the geospatial fields include the geography of behavior, sustainable and resilient geodesign, geographic science pedagogy (especially online education), and geospatial technologies as a whole. Nik loves innovative GIS tech and is a Geoholic! He is also a certified arborist, UAS Remote Pilot and Esri ArcGIS professional.



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Bad Elf GNSS receivers deliver affordable accuracy through easy-to-use hardware supported by continuously evolving firmware, apps, and cloud services. Founded in 2010, Bad Elf created the first Made for iOS external GPS accessory and now enables high performance location services for all mobile platforms.

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The World Geospatial Industry Council is an association of companies representing the entire ecosystem of geospatial industry. WGIC endeavors to enhance the role of the geospatial industry and strengthen its contribution in global economy and society. We facilitate exchange of knowledge within the geospatial industry and co-creation of larger business opportunities for the geospatial industry. We represent business interest, share perspectives of the geospatial industry and undertake policy advocacy and dialogue with public authorities, multilateral agencies and other relevant bodies.

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Voxelmaps is building the world’s most accurate 4D volumetric model of the earth, combining high resolution scans using the latest LiDAR and HD imaging sensors, fused with temporal data. The result is a new form of mapping which provides superior levels of accuracy and information of the areas mapped. Voxelmaps has developed a technology that splits the planet into a dense matrix of multi-resolution voxels, each voxel has a permanent location and address. The automated feature extraction is performed using Voxelmaps’ developed AI software tools.