A new VR visual analytics platform for forest operations and land management from UBC, LlamaZOO and FPInnovations could solve the inherent complexities and costs of managing resources on large forestry lands
➨ The funding is coming from the British Columbia government-backed InnovateBC Ignite programme
➨ TimberOps fuses complex landscape level geospatial, and satellite data, with planning and analysis tools
➨ The new funding will be used to create the UBC Forest Engagement Initiative facility, which will serve as a training, test and demonstration site for TimberOps
The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) faculty of forestry, 3D visualisation studio LlamaZOO Interactive and Candian not-for-profit FPInnovations have been awarded $300,000 to develop and bring to market an immersive visual analytics platform for forest operations and land management.
The funding, from the British Columbia government-backed InnovateBC Ignite programme, will advance the research and development of the TimberOps VR platform.
It will also fund the creation of the UBC Forest Engagement Initiative, a VR/AR-enabled stakeholder engagement facility that uses TimberOps to demonstrate landscape-level forest resources management.
LlamaZOO’s background in spatial data and MR enabled it to create a tool that combines big data, analytics and real-time visualisation.
TimberOps fuses complex landscape level geospatial, and satellite data, with planning and analysis tools into an interactive true-to-scale digital twin of the planned, current and future states of the environment.
Designed to facilitate cutblock planning, road surveying and other forestry operations, TimberOps helps reduce the cost of forestry planning and resource management, by integrating all available data on a high-fidelity, three-dimensional digital landscape, according to LlamaZOO.
“Managing resources on large forestry lands is a complex task that has historically been a slow, expensive process involving extensive back-and-forth travel to remote locations and in-office designing,” explained Charles Lavigne, chief executive officer and co-founder of LlamaZOO. “TimberOps solves these significant resource challenges. We’re excited to bring this technology to students and future generations of forestry operators.”
The new UBC Forest Engagement Initiative facility will serve as a training, test and demonstration site for TimberOps, with Dr Dominik Roeser, associate professor of forest and wildfire operations, at its helm. It will also be an industry pathway to demonstrate the technology and digital innovation to pilot patrons of the new platform.
Working and teaching in VR has “the potential to revolutionise the way we work in forestry in the future”, continued Dr Roeser.
“Our UBC forestry students and forest industry partners are looking for innovative solutions that enable better engagement and decision making and the TimberOps platform is helping tremendously to get us there.”Dr Dominik Roeser, UBC
“The Ignite grant could not have come at a better time as we are forced to move teaching from the field into an online environment due to Covid-19.”
“Our UBC forestry students and forest industry partners are looking for innovative solutions that enable better engagement and decision making and the TimberOps platform is helping tremendously to get us there.”
Denis Cormier, vice president of research operations at FPInnovations, which specialises in the creation of solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness, commented: “We are proud to have contributed to this innovative project alongside our partners, LlamaZOO and UBC, over the past three years.”
“We had the opportunity to introduce the idea of using responsive visualisation technologies for forest sector applications, which fits perfectly with our vision of an exciting future of digitalisation in the sustainable management of forests in Canada.”
“We are grateful for the support provided by Innovate BC’s Ignite programme, which will further accelerate the commercial applications of this tool.”