3 questions to...
Christophe Castaing Director of the Digital Engineering Programme, EGIS Associate Director of the MINnD National Project
What do an engineering company and a research organisation collaborate on?
C. C. — Our collaboration is natural and long-standing. EGIS is a French engineering company with a global outlook. It employs 14,000 staff and is active in a wide range of sectors: planning and development, transport and water infrastructure, environment, construction, and mobility services. We offer global services combining consultancy, engineering and infrastructure operation.
Across all our activities, we seek to address critical challenges of today, including the climate crisis, by harnessing the innovative potential of the digital transformation. Since the company was formed in 1973, we have collaborated with BRGM on geotechnical issues and underground infrastructure. In terms of subsurface knowledge and research, and infrastructure digital representation and modelling, we draw on BRGM's capabilities in data management and the implementation of numerica simulation tools.
Can you provide specific project examples?
C. C. — We have already worked on many projects together. For example, we characterised and modelled the underground water compartment and created a hydrodynamic aquifer system model for water table levels. We also collaborated on industrial platforms for the 3D modelling of linear infrastructure, and on natural hazard prevention.
As part of the MINnD National Project for modelling interoperable information for sustainable infrastructure, EGIS and BRGM are working together on "super Building Information Modelling (BIM)". The aim is to develop digital twins of infrastructure in the built environment at the local and regional level (see Digital twins of infrastructure and its surroundings). A synergy was created, enabling the strategic open BIM and open GIS projects to become a reality in our subsurface work, from tunnel modelling and geotechnics (through promoting greater consistency in approaches through BuildingSMART International and the OGC), to specifying the collaborative platforms of the future.
Will you continue to collaborate in the future?
C. C. — Our collaboration remains essential to tackle the future challenges of French regions, which will need to evolve to satisfy the requirements of a low-carbon economy. I expect our collaboration to take on a new dimension. We plan to offer new services for regional and local government for the management of infrastructure and subsurface issues. This will cover the modelling of structures and natural stresses. We also intend to form EGIS/BRGM partnerships for the development of modelling systems to be integrated in collaborative regional and local government platforms as part of regional and local digital twins.