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Underground Digital Twins
Moving from the Street to Below the Street

Thursday, 1 December 2022
9:30am MT

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


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Sponsored by

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Supported by

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Media Partner

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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 above ground, but also about subsurface conditions for utilities, telecommunications, transportation, and other infrastructure elements. 


Digital twins are living models and therefore need to reflect changes in real time of the underlying assets. New technological advances are driving fundamental changes in how underground location data is captured and maintained.  


Jurisdictions are increasingly mandating Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) surveys in which professional surveyors and engineers are responsible for data quality.   

  • One challenge to overcome is how are the results of these surveys being shared outside of projects? 

  • Secondly, the vast majority of underground location services are being 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 will need to look at innovative technologies for conducting location operations, capturing and sharing the results, potentially considering 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.  


  • City/State/Regional/National geospatial agencies 

  • Contractors 

  • Government Public Works agencies 

  • Government policy wonks 

  • Network operators/owners 

  • Public works agencies 

  • Surveyors 

  • State One-Call Centers ("Call before you dig") 

  • Telecoms 

  • Transportation agencies 

  • Utilities 

  • Utility engineers 

Topics to be covered:

  • Standards-based subsurface data ​ models – a key objective of New York's underground infrastructure resilience project

  • Subsurface Digital Twins / impact on subsurface data modeling

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

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

  • 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. 


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

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

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Thursday, 1 December 2022
All times in US Mountain time


9:30am - 9:45am

Setting the Stage - Challenges and Opportunities

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

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In welcome and opening remarks, event emcee Barbara Ryan will outline the current challenges in creating underground digital twins, and the opportunities that exist for cities and muncipalities.


9:45am - 10:30am

City and State Experiences Panel Discussion

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

Thalia Baldwin, Director Geospatial Commission, UK Government Cabinet Office

Kean Huat Soon, Senior Principal Surveyor, Survey and Geomatics Division, Singapore Land Authority
Alan Leidner, Board Member, New York City Geospatial Information Systems and Mapping Organization.

Co-chair of the Regional Committee of the NYS GIS Association

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Panelists will provide brief overviews on underground digital twins initiatives in their respective geographies, followed by a panel discussion highlighting city, state and national governmental experience with the use of Digital Twins in Underground Infrastructure, and the challenges and opportunities it represents.


10:30am - 11:45am

Industry Solution Provider Panel Discussion

Moderator: Prashant Shukle, Vice Chair Board of Directors, OCE / Board Member, PLACE
Wes Kaisershot, National Market Leader SUE, WGI Inc
Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, Geospatial Solutions Director, Bad Elf
Joseph Hlady, CEO/Co-Founder, Lux Modus
Jason Sphar, GIS Analyst II, GTI Energy
Simeon Kateliev, Sr GNSS Specialist / Researcher, GTI Energy

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Brief presentations followed by a roundtable discussion among industry solution providers, focusing on SUE and the development into digital twins.  With efficiency, accuracy, and safety at the forefront of field operations, LiDAR, high-resolution imagery, and GNSS play a pivotal role in generating a digital twin product. This session’s speakers’ companies work with these technologies on a regular basis to advance utility operators’ ability to map and locate their assets, reducing the risks posed to them by excavation activities that are a common occurrence. High-accuracy GNSS, in tandem with vehicle-mounted scanner systems, can be used to collect the information required to create digital twin representations of open-trench natural gas pipelines before backfilling. LiDAR point clouds are converted into multiple GIS files representing the open trench surroundings in both a 2D and 3D format, and include the pipes, utility conflicts, and other site conditions. Moreover, high-resolution imagery can be utilized for object detection and feature extraction of specific utility components which are paired with the extracted pipeline data to build a more realistic digital twin representation.


11:45am - 12:00pm

Between the Poles: Vision and Work

Presenter: Prashant Shukle, Vice Chair, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors
Board Member, PLACE

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A wrap-up and tribute to Geoff Zeiss, with focus on his work and vision, and how it is being carried on.


12:00pm - 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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Click here to join the Networking Space

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check Spam if you do not see the email
TIP: when you login, rename yourself as you'd like to be identified in the meeting (eg. Name, Company)

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Network with Speakers, Sponsors and other Attendees.

Click the Networking space to enter (Chrome browser recommended)

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Event MC / Session Moderators

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Barbara Ryan

Executive Director
World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC)

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Under Barbara 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.

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Prashant Shukle

Vice Chair, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors
Board Member, PLACE

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Prashant Shukle is Vice Chair of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Board of Directors and a Board Member of PLACE, a technology organization that solves for inefficiencies of modern-day mapping by creating a trusted intermediary between the public and private good providers. 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 has provided visionary leadership for the Canadian government and the Canadian private sector in geospatial data and technology leadership, the policy applications and implications of these data and technologies, and in the use of data standards to achieve global scale data interoperability. For these latter efforts, he was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the Open Geospatial Consortium. Prashant also acts as Chief Strategy and Operating Officer of KorrAI, a Canadian-based Earth Observation startup and as a strategic advisor, mentor, and board member for such organizations as the World Geospatial Industry Council and AECO Innovation Lab Board of Experts.


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Alan Leidner

Board Member, New York City

Geospatial Information Systems and Mapping Organization

Co-chair of the Regional Committee of the NYS GIS Association


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 and is currently President of NYC GISMO whose membership has just gone above 400.


Thalia Baldwin

Director, Geospatial Commission, UK Government Cabinet Office

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Thalia Baldwin is the Director of the Geospatial Commission, which is an independent Expert Committee within the UK Government’s Cabinet Office, tasked with advising the government on priorities for improving the UK’s location data, running the public sector’s key geospatial data contracts and developing and overseeing implementation of the UK’s national geospatial strategy. Prior to this, Thalia established and led HM Treasury’s digital policy team, where she was responsible for the approach to public spending on digital technology and infrastructure.

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Kean Huat SOON

Senior Principal Surveyor, Survey and Geomatics Division
Singapore Land Authority


Kean Huat SOON is Senior Principal Surveyor leading the Technology team at Survey and Geomatics Division of Singapore Land Authority. He takes part in several projects including Digital Underground, Cadastral Survey Management System, SiRENT and Vertical Land Motion Monitoring. He earned a Msc in Geography from Pennsylvania State University, a Msc in Geoinformatics and Bachelor of Surveying (Land) from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. His research interests include semantic interoperability, data modeling, cadastral information system and ontology. 

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Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, GISP

Geospatial Solutions Director, Bad Elf

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Nikolas Smilovsky, PhD, GISP is a Geospatial Evangelist, Solutions Provider, and Educator, as well as 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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Wes Kaisershot

National Market Leader SUE

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Wes Kaisershot is the National Market Leader for SUE at WGI Inc.  He is an experienced professional civil engineer specializing in subsurface utility engineering (SUE), utility coordination, utility conflict analysis, utility engineering, utility adjustment design, oversight, and utility monitoring and verification. Wes has worked closely with the Texas DOT (TxDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on consultant highway design to develop utility investigations and roadway conflict analysis and avoid utility relocations. He is frequently called upon to provide clients with a cost-effective approach that meets or exceeds current standards. Prior to joining WGI in 2020, Wes held senior positions with Atkins, the US Dept of Commerce, the FHWA, TxDOT and HDR.

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Joseph Hlady

Lux Modus

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Joseph Hlady is CEO and Co-founder of Lux Modus, a company pioneering rapid, low cost 3D map production and the geospatial anchor point for infrastructure Digital Twins. Joseph is a technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience developing and commercializing geospatial technology as well as pioneering infrastructure mapping using autonomous mapping technology. In addition to founding Lux Modus, he is Founder of the Aventine Group of companies, a family of companies based on a network of world class professionals in IT/IS, geomatics and geospatial, and corporate services and focused on the energy and EPC industries.

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Simeon Kateliev

Senior GNSS Specialist / Researcher
GTI Energy


Simeon Kateliev is a Senior GNSS Specialist and Researcher with GTI Energy.  He has 20 years of experience in Land Surveying & Civil Engineering; Geodesy & Remote Sensing, LiDAR, Drones (UAV’s); Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); Photogrammetry and Mapping, as well as extensive experience with complex data management, cutting-edge technology and deep industry knowledge.  Simeon has represented of some of the largest manufacturers in the Geospatial industry,  including Leica Geosystems, Bentley Systems, Topcon Positioning, Autodesk, Parrot, and others.  He is a Certified Remote Pilot under FAA's 14 CFR part 107.

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Jason Sphar

GIS Analyst II
GTI Energy


Jason Sphar is a GIS Analyst II with GTI Energy.  Prior to joining GTI Energy (formerly the Gas Technology Institute, Jason worked as a Project Scientist with Environmental Resources Management, and as a GIS Specialist with Municipal GIS Partners and the City of Flagstaff, Arizona.



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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 Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 500 businesses, government agencies, research organizations, and universities driven to make geospatial (location) information and services FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. OGC's member-driven consensus process creates royalty free, publicly available, open geospatial standards. Existing at the cutting edge, OGC actively analyzes and anticipates emerging tech trends, and runs an agile, collaborative Research and Development (R&D) lab - the OGC Innovation Program - that builds and tests innovative prototype solutions to members' use cases. 

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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.

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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.


GTI Energy solves important energy challenges worldwide, turning technology and insights into solutions that create exceptional value for our customers in natural gas and broader clean energy systems. We are driven by five primary objectives: Expanding supplies of affordable and clean energy, ensuring safe, efficient, resilient and reliable energy infrastructure, delivering solutions for efficient and environmentally responsible use of energy, reducing and managing carbon emissions and advancing energy systems innovations that protect air, land, water and communities while enhancing economic growth.

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