A three-dimensional illustration of the unceded Mowachaht-Muchalaht territory’s topography near the central-west coast of Vancouver Island is shown in digital twinning software called TimberOps in this handout image. A First Nation on Vancouver Island is the first in Canada to use digital twinning software to improve mapping and resource management across its territory, says the Victoria-based creator of the platform that looks almost like a video game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, LlamaZOO

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

A First Nation on Vancouver Island is the first in Canada to use digital twinning software to improve mapping and resource management across its territory, says the Victoria-based creator of the platform that looks almost like a video game.

TimberOps is the software that functions as the “digital twin” of more than 350,000 hectares of unceded Mowachaht-Muchalaht territory near the west coast of Vancouver Island, said Charles Lavigne, CEO of the LlamaZOO, the software’s creator.

“With this digital twin, you can effectively fly down to the ground floor and see the individual trees and fly up into the sky and see the rivers and the roads and the communities,” he said.

It’s a three-dimensional illustration of the territory’s topography, including hundreds of rivers and lakes, as well as mountains, roads, trails and buildings, and it integrates those features with both cultural knowledge and data from timber operations over the last century.

“It kind of looks and feels like a video game, but it’s a very complex data analysis system and application,” said Lavigne, whose expertise stems from the gaming industry.

There are about 76,000 timber cut blocks and nearly 87 million trees represented, he said, noting further layers of data could be added in the future, such as fish stocks and water-flow monitoring.

By bringing together different file formats and types of data that are not normally so accessible, TimberOps creates continuity for different stakeholders when the nation is negotiating with government officials or resource extraction companies, Lavigne said.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s logging industry pleads for certainty as push away from old-growth continues

Dorothy Hunt, lands manager for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, said TimberOps will help the nation identify “absolute no-go zones” where industrial activity is not welcome.

That could include the locations of old villages and archaeological sites, areas for fishing and gathering berries and cedar, as well as trees modified for cultural purposes, all of which were recorded in the nation’s traditional land use assessment and integrated into the software, she said.

In other locations, there may be fewer alarm bells over resource development, she added, and the software also helps identify those areas.

TimberOps will also help the nation’s leadership preserve certain areas and visual standards while fielding requests from logging companies, Hunt said.

“The nation is really striving to build an economy around tourism, and they kind of clash when you think you’re going to be bringing your guests down an inlet and on both sides of the inlet the mountains have been logged.”

She noted the software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged or kept growing, showing the trees’ height at different points in time.

It will also save the nation’s own logging company time and money, said Hunt, as it offers detailed, real-time information about different parcels of land from a distance, in contrast to costly site visits.

Mowachaht-Muchalaht is the first nation in Canada to adopt digital twinning technology, said Lavigne, adding the company’s goal is to ensure the software is as cost efficient as possible.

“We think this is applicable all across Canada and could potentially bridge other First Nations and other communities around the world with their stakeholders,” he said.

Hunt echoed Lavigne’s sentiments, saying the software has the power to change how First Nations make crucial decisions about their territories.

ALSO READ:

— By Brenna Owen in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Indigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Most Read