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

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

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

A Cougar was caught on camera at a Coldstream Estates residence early Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (Brad Thomas photo)
VIDEO: Cougar caught on camera in Coldstream

A Coldstream Estates resident captured early-morning footage Wednesday

The RDCO is planning to flush water mains in the Westshore Estates water system. (Kim Sievers/Wikimedia Commons photo)
Repairs underway on Vernon water main break

Water service interrupted for around 15 properties on portion of 43rd Street

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

A Shoppers Drug Mart employee in Vernon has tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed on Jan. 27, 2021. The last day the employee worked was Jan. 23. (K-J Millar - The Northern View)
COVID-19 case at Vernon Shoppers Drug Mart

Loblaws notes positive result on disclosure page

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

A change to the drive thru sign at the Tim Hortons in Summerland came before Summerland council on Jan. 25. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council approves variance for drive-thru sign

Questions raised about why issue was brought to council table

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

A 29-year-old Abbotsford woman twice crashed her car near Princeton on Saturday,… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kamloops hospital grows to 66 cases

A majority of cases remain among staff at Royal Inland Hospital

Kamloops RCMP covered the animal with a blanket and dragged it out of the home on a carpet. (Kamloops This Week)
Oh ‘deer’: Bambi breaks into Kamloops home

A deer got trapped into a Kamloops home and had to be escorted out by RCMP

Lesley Lutes, UBCO professor of psychology and director of the Centre for Obesity and Well-being Research Excellence. (Submitted)
UBCO psychologist part of Bell Let’s Talk virtual panel tonight at 6 p.m.

Panel will talk about coping under the stress of this pandemic

Most Read