Project news Digital twin of the ocean

03/02/2022 Source:

The international project ILIAD (Integrated Digital Twins for Marine and Maritime Data and Information Services) will create a European Digital Twin of the Ocean (DTO) that combines high resolution modeling with real-time sensing of ocean parameters. ILVO will contribute both data and models to the ILIAD platform, focusing on the North Sea pilot study.

logo of ILIAD project

ILIAD will develop virtual models designed to accurately represent changes and processes in the ocean. ILIAD will commercialize an interoperable, data-intensive and cost-effective model, taking advantage of the explosion of new data provided by many different global sources, modern computing infrastructure - including Internet of Things - social networks, Big Data, cloud computing and more. The ILIAD consortium, with partners from 18 different countries, will combine high-resolution modeling with real-time detection of ocean parameters, advanced event prediction algorithms and pattern recognition. The virtual representations will consist of various real-time to near real-time digital replicas of the ocean. ILIAD will also create a marketplace to distribute apps, plug-ins, interfaces, raw data, citizen science data, synthesized information and value-added services in conjunction with the ILIAD Digital Twin.

ILVO will contribute both data and models to the ILIAD platform, with a focus on the pilot in the North Sea around fisheries and aquaculture. Through the VISTools system, near real-time oceanographic and fisheries data will be collected by four Belgian fishing vessels, and for this purpose a connection will be made to the platform. This will provide high resolution data on fishing activities (e.g. catch, fuel consumption, towing) and associated environmental parameters (e.g. temperature profiles and turbidity). These data will be merged with other existing fisheries data from existing databases to build and improve ecosystem models (Ecopath with Ecosim) and models for fisheries impact and stock assessment in the area.

The development of a Digital Twin is needed to enable meaningful and informative model evaluations and comparisons for many major earth science applications, from weather forecasting to climate change. In doing so, ILIAD aims to build on the assets derived from two decades of investing in policy and infrastructure for the blue economy, thereby contributing to a sustainable ocean economy. The ILIAD approach will enable researchers to develop what-if scenarios and analyze the impact of climate change prevention and adaptation measures.


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Lancelot Blondeel

ILVO researcher

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