University of Twente Student Theses


A Digital Twin for Ground Water Table Monitoring

Morales Ortega, Luis Rodrigoandrés (2023) A Digital Twin for Ground Water Table Monitoring.

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Abstract:To cope with climate challenges, city engineers are redesigning spaces and infrastructures worldwide. In particular, two extreme situations confront municipal engineers and water boards: on one hand, in periods of rainfall shortage, an extremely low water table creates issues as vegetation roots cannot be supplied sufficiently with water. On the other hand, during heavy rainfall, high Ground Water Table GWT can emerge, leading to water entering into old buildings (an effect known as ingress). Traditionally, municipalities install pumps that run with a constant capacity to pump groundwater out to solve this issue. However, when extreme drought and rainfall events occur, the need to tailor monitor and proactive control of GWT throughout groundwater pump capacity is required to manage the anticipated rainfall or drought scenarios (Iris, 2022). Examples in the academic literature illustrate that the Digital Twin (DT) concepts can help control the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning of buildings (Chen et al. 2022), or plan and forecast maintenance activities on bridges (Gao et al. 2023). Therefore, the application of this solution to GWT monitoring and control generated interest. However, DTs are full of challenges that go from collecting, management and storage of data, to accurate visualisation, monitoring and interaction for a desired purpose (Lehtola et al. 2022). Furthermore, completeness and resolution of data are required to make accurate simulations and predictions. Therefore, DT concepts remain prototypical and still need to progress to practice to date. Therefore, this study explores digital twins applications in dynamic control of the GWT to address climate challenges such as excessive rainfall and drought. It aims to develop and evaluate a framework that integrates real-time data, prediction models, and connectivity with pumping machines to support dynamic GWT control. The process involves a 3D geospatial model that renders a city environment, incorporating GWT data from 277 sensors available from the public Twents Waternet website. With it, a game engine uses a dynamic mesh to represent the GWT geometrically in the 3D model. An algorithm then predicts groundwater level based on rainfall data and uses the GWT level with a combination of Internet of Things (IoT) protocols as triggers in the 3D game engine to de/activate a water pump in the physical world. The model was developed iteratively, and its usability was evaluated by urban drainage experts through a workshop that included a demonstration, a multidisciplinary discussion and a questionnaire (Annex M). The framework was tested in the city of Enschede in The Netherlands, and the results showed that the digital twin can effectively visualise historic data, current and anticipated changes in the water table and facilitate the identification of areas requiring pumping. The integration of forecasts allowed the prediction of possible GWT depths, visualise the possible scenario and support the decision process of pumping or retaining the GWT through messages or physical actions. This study provided a proof-of-concept of the possibilities of the application of game engines and Digital Twins for GWT monitoring and control. It is recommended to test and improve the proposed solution by (1) visualisation principles and logical methodologies, (2) developing intuitive user interfaces, (3) identifying the strategic positioning and coverage of sensors and pumps across the urban area and (4) refining the predictive functionalities to enhance decision-making allowing a proactive preparation in anticipation of forthcoming meteorological events. Keywords: Digital Twins, groundwater table, 3D modelling, real-time data, visualisation, decision-making, machine learning, prediction, interaction, game engine, climate challenges, IoT, Unity, automation
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Gemeente Enschede, Enschede, The Netherlands
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Subject:01 general works, 02 science and culture in general, 05 communication studies, 20 art studies, 21 art forms, 30 exact sciences in general, 33 physics, 38 earth sciences, 43 environmental science, 50 technical science in general, 53 electrotechnology, 54 computer science, 56 civil engineering, 70 social sciences in general, 88 social and public administration
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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