Digital Twin of Alps

Building the cornerstone of a Digital Twin Earth with a focus on the Alps.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate the potential of Digital Twins in providing an advanced decision support system for actors involved in the observation and mitigation of environmental risks and impacts in the Alps, as well as the integration of resource management.

The Digital Twin of Alps activity is part of ESA's Regional Initiative 3, which paves the way towards a new representation of the Earth System based on the integration of Earth Observation data, inter-connected numerical simulations, and Artificial Intelligence.

Project Period: September 2022 - August 2023
ESA Contract No. 4000139281/22/I-DT

Project description

The Alps are the most densely populated mountain range in Europe. As a result, hydrological and gravitational hazards constitute a major threat to human activity, and water resources play a central role in socio-economic developments (agriculture, tourism, hydropower production...). Furthermore, the Alps are particularly sensitive to the impacts of climate change, with temperatures rising twice as fast as the northern-hemisphere average over the last century and precipitation increasing non-linearly. Because of the increasing pressure on human settlements and infrastructure, there is a strong priority for policy-makers to implement climate change adaptation strategies from the local to the regional scale. To support and improve the decision-making process, numerical decision support systems provide valuable information derived from observations or models to better manage increasing threats and weaknesses.

The main objective of the Digital Twin of Alps project is to provide a roadmap for the implementation of future Digital Twin Earth instances, with a focus on the Alpine context, to act as a decision support system representing the major environment-related risks and impacts faced by populations living in the Alps and the integration of resource management enabling a better understanding of the major environmental and societal challenges faced by human societies in the context of a rapidly-changing climate.

The development of the roadmap for a future DTE will be conducted in close collaboration with partner scientists, industry, ICT experts, modellers and policy makers to propose:

  • a plan with realistic options for developing and implementing a DTE;
  • a Scientific and Technical Agenda covering all the relevant R&D requirements for a DTE.


To create a showcase for a DTE instance over the Alps and collect concrete feedback from key stakeholders, a demonstrator will be implemented based on a potential use-case: the unique combination of state-of-the-art developments in hydrology and geohazard sciences to represent in a holistic way the major environment-related risks and impacts faced by populations living in the Alps. The demonstrator will leverage the scientific and technical developments of the previous EO4ALPS-Landslides and EO4ALPS-Snow projects to provide key indicators on:

Shallow landslides

Large, deep slope failures, mostly deep-seated landslides and rockslides

Snow cover


Water discharges and water heights

Soil moisture/drought monitoring

Needs and priorities

The following table identifies the current user needs for geoinformation in the scope of a Digital Twin focussing on the Alps. The priorities listed are grouped into 2 categories

  • priorities for the scope of the DTA demonstrator;
  • longer term DTE priorities in the context of the Alps.

DTA priority Service Coverage Temporal frequency
x x x x
x x x x


Sentinel Hub GmbH, Austria -
Maxim Lamare, Dorothy Rono
Sinergise d.o.o., Slovenia -
Grega Milcinski, Matej Batic
EOST/A2S Université de Strasbourg -
Jean Philippe Malet
Terranum Sàrl -
Clément Michoud, Thierry Oppikofer
MobyGIS -
Matteo Dall’Amico, Nicolò Franceschetti, Federico Di Paolo
Stefania Camici, Hamidreza Mosaffa, Sara Modanesi, Luca Brocca

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Project Management: Dr. Maxim Lamare

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