Precision Forestry

2017-2018 Projects

Click on each title below for project details

Continued Development of the FPDat and FPTrak Platform

In 2011, FPInnovations introduced the FPDat data logger, the FPCom data communication system and FPTrak, the data hosting web portal. Since that time, the technology has proven very popular with industry and contractors across Canada, with over 800 data loggers installed in various machines and contexts. Several testimonials have been received about the positive benefits of the on-board GPS navigation system specially designed for forest use, the tracking of machine utilization and downtime providing excellent base data for continuous improvement strategies and the ease of access of the information through the web site and automated functions. Recent improvements to the platform include cut block reports in addition to reports by operator or time frame, machine-to-machine GPS track log exchanges and map download/upload to mobile devices. To enhance the performance of the FPDat / FPCom / FPTrak platform and better respond to user needs, many new features such as additional reporting capabilities, new KPIs to monitor, map features, and others are required. There is also a need to constantly maintain and upgrade the platform to ensure reliability and performance. While the FPDat is very efficient to collect spatial and time-based information, there are challenges to collect production-based information (i.e. m³, tonnes). However, very good volume information is collected by cut-to-length harvester/processor heads and stored in files that follow the StanForD format. FPInnovations has started collaborating with the major equipment manufacturers to develop data transfer pathways so that the production data files from the CTL heads can be sent automatically to the FPTrak web site and be combined with other data streams to generate a variety of productivity KPIs.

  • Ensure improved reliability and performance for end users, responding to requests for additional features. For instance, one of these is the ability to access a catalogue of BMP or safety-related documents right from the FPDat screen.
  • Develop automated data transfer pathways for the production data collected by harvester/processor CTL heads to FPTrak.

Augmented Reality in Forest Machine Cabs

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The view of reality is modified in real time by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Some manufacturers now offer holographic headsets (e.g., Microsoft Hololens) that allow the user to interact both with the actual environment around them along with 3D visual content. The idea to combine actual landscape views with overlaid numerical or graphical information and provide this to machine operators opens up a world of possibilities. For example, providing stem-specific information (height, DBH, species) or virtual boundaries painted on the forest floor, or safety hazards or Areas of Concerns flagged virtually are all avenues to explore. It could also be imagined that specific instructions or warnings could be displayed in virtual reality to the operators.

  • Explore the potential applications of augmented reality in forest machine cabs.
  • Explore the available augmented reality technologies and their characteristics.
  • Conduct exploratory field tests in the field.