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

Island Health says York Road only location available for Wellness and Recovery Centre

Health Authority claims no other suitable site available

Survey to gauge interest in connecting Cowichan to Nanaimo by bus

People can fill out the survey until Oct. 16.

Cowichan Valley family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, Big Stick light up red to signal COVID devastation

“COVID-19 has been truly devastating to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre”

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read