Managing harvesting operations in real time?
With a big jump in both the quality and type of data available that’s now being made available to the forestry manager and to wood harvesting, transport and logistics companies, significant inroads have been made in the last 12 months into capturing some of these inefficiencies.
In Europe, the European Space Agency (ESA) is supporting a pioneering 3D forestry data initiative being led by Irish forestry technology start-up Treemetrics. The company’s been developing a real time forest intelligence (RTFI) service, with the goal of bringing live 3D forestry data to mobile devices and machinery across the globe.
The use of intelligent data, real-time analytics and a simple-to-use web platform are at the core of TreeMetrics development. Through TreeMetrics, air-borne and terrestrial LiDAR together are already providing accurate assessments of standing wood volumes. This inventory system has been rolled out in Europe, trialled already in Australia and was reported on at this year’s AusTIMBER conference in March.
The company in conjunction with the ESA has taken it now one step further. It was hinted at earlier in the year. Taking the collected inventory data from a stand they’re expecting to provide real-time instructions to harvesting machines with cut instructions. A device is being installed on board harvesting machines to transmit real-time information about the trees being felled.
In trials on 20 harvesting machines the details are relayed back to foresters through ESA’s Inmarsat IsatM2M satellite and communications system. It means forest managers can further refine their cutting strategies quickly if needed, and change the instructions for the harvesters.
Harvesting workflow is expected to be managed in near-real time, creating a fully integrated management system. The company's CEO, Enda Keane, CEO of TreeMetrics, the company behind these breakthroughs, will be presenting at the ForestTECH 2012 series that runs in both New Zealand and Australia later in the year.
Full details on the programmes for both countries can be found on the event website, www.foresttechevents.com . Remember though, for those looking to register - and there have been many over the last week or so - that the cheaper Early-bird registrations, FINISH next week.
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