The forestry industry has been experimenting with virtual reality in Rotorua this week to develop new ways of measuring tree growth. The University of Tasmania and Interpine are carrying out the research, which is partially funded by Forest and Wood Products Australia. The University’s Human Interface Technology Lab leader, Dr Winyu Chinthammit, said the experiments aimed to give skilled workers a safer and more efficient way to measure forests, using data from aerial LiDar scanners, rather than field work.
“People driving out there, possibly tripping and falling in the bush, or we even had one guy who had a finger infected with blackberry and he nearly lost his finger. When you think about moving to virtual reality plots you take away all those hazards.”
Thirty-four participants are testing out the virtual reality method this week, including representatives from NZ Forest Managers and Timberlands.
The annual Rotorua GDP for forestry and logging for the year ended March 2016 was $199.5 million, up from $166.7m the year before, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest figures.
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