Nonprofit community development corporation, Orlando Economic Partnership (Website), has hired a firm to develop a “digital twin” for the City of Orlando, in what is being seen as the first of its kind in the country.

In case you missed it, Facebook’s new name is Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg is launching something called the “Metaverse” which will serve as a virtual 3-D way for people to interact and connect. An extension of that is the “where” Meta users will be interacting and the idea of simulated environments and mixed/augmented reality using things like VR sets and special glasses.

Digital Twins are essentially digital models that allow people to immerse themselves in a virtual copy of a real-world environment and they’re already in use by groups like the military, NASA, Disney World, BRIDG, and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Tech and culture experts are saying that the metaverse is likely to grow into its own functioning economy in the next few years, and be just as integrated into our daily lives as social apps and email. People are even rushing to purchase digital real estate and “land” in the metaverse for virtual concerts and shopping malls.

The 40 square-mile virtual clone of Orlando will be used by the city to carry out more detailed city planning activities and will be a tool for simulation programs. Partnership CEO, Tim Giuliani, told TIME that he expects it will be used for initiatives like mapping how to incorporate future rail systems or the impacts of climate change on the region.

The project is expected to cost between $1-2 million.

TIME recently covered the move in a larger piece on the Metaverse, which you can read HERE.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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