Des Moines has a ‘digital twin’ that drives development decisions

Des Moines has mapped much of its downtown using 3D technology and is now using it to evaluate how proposed projects would change the city’s skyline or block views of the Capitol.

What’s happening: DSM’s Geographic Information System (GIS) team is creating a “digital twin” of Des Moines using laser light technology to map topography, buildings and even light poles or trees.

The project received a special achievement award in July from Esri, an international supplier of geographic information system software.
Why it matters: As the technology advances, it could be used in virtually any area of DSM, Erin Olson-Douglas, the city’s Development Services Director, said in a presentation to the city council last month.

State of play: The maps are already being used to project structure and tree shadows, helping to better plan public gardens and the locations of signs.