Digital Twin

GIS creates digital twins of the natural and built environments

An illustration of several layers of digital representations stacked vertically, including land, infrastructure, and buildings

A framework to create and integrate digital twins

Our world is transforming and rapidly becoming digital. Digital twins are abstracting and modelling everything. They improve business processes, reduce risk, optimise operational efficiencies and enhance decision-making with automation to predict outcomes. Digital twins provide greater context to solve business challenges by creating relationships and streamlining workflows. Geographic information system (GIS) technology is foundational for any digital twin. Esri's geospatial technology interconnects information, systems, models and behaviours with spatial context, creating holistic digital representations of environments, assets, networks and cities.

What is a digital twin?

A digital twin is a virtual representation of the real world, including physical objects, processes, relationships and behaviours. GIS creates digital twins of the natural and built environments and uniquely integrates many types of digital models.

Geospatial technology connects different types of data and systems to create a single view that can be accessed throughout the complete project life cycle. GIS enhances data capture and integration, enables better real-time visualisation, provides advanced analysis and automation of future predictions and allows for information sharing and collaboration.

Explore digital models and GIS
A virtual digital twin of a bridge construction project and related infrastructure

Elements of a digital twin

Data capture and integration

Digital twins are modernising how organisations capture and visualise data, integrate networks, and analyse information.

  • Data modelling
  • System integration and management
  • Reality capture
  • Feature creation and extraction
  • Workflow and business systems
A person looking at a 3D virtual representation of a building and information about it

Real time and visualisation

Make the right decisions, discover new patterns, and unlock data's potential with real-time information and an authoritative network.

  • Dashboards and reporting
  • Real-time Internet of Things (IoT) integration
  • Insights and analytics
  • Advanced visualisation
3D representation of a city with certain buildings shaded in different colors to show development

Share and collaborate

GIS technology supports smart organisations and communities by improving information sharing, eliminating data silos, and increasing internal and external engagement.

  • Dynamic visual communication
  • Engagement and collaboration
  • Pervasive data access
  • Information transparency
  • Project delivery
Two people looking at and discussing a project shown on a screen

Analyse and predict

Analyse and make accurate predictions using powerful statistical, machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), and artificial intelligence (AI) methods.


  •  Automation (AI/ML/DL)
  •  Notebooks and modeling
  •  Simulation and scenario modelling
  •  Forecasting
A person viewing information on a laptop computer and comparing it to information on a mobile device


ArcGIS: A Foundation for Digital Twins

Get answers to frequently asked questions about GIS in digital twin strategy and insights into optimising geospatial digital twins using ArcGIS.

Read the blog post


The Esri Partner Network is a rich ecosystem of organisations that work together to extend Esri technology. Partners deliver solutions, content, and services to help you meet your goals.