Issue 7
Monday, 03 September 2018
Charles Darwin University
Charles Darwin University Researcher, Rohan Fisher, with a 3D mapping projection
Charles Darwin University Researcher, Rohan Fisher, with a 3D mapping projection

3D mapping tool receives national recognition

CDU has been recognised with a prestigous national award for a three-dimensional mapping tool that allows better understanding of bushfire behaviour.

The Projection Augmented Physical Landscapes (PAPL) tool was joint winner of the Education Technology category at the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.

The awards are an initiative to highlight at a national level the contribution that the Higher Education sector makes to Australian prosperity and quality of life.

CDU’s project - developed by Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods researcher Rohan Fisher - uses 3D-printed or sand landscapes over which are projected landscape process simulations such as fire. Mr Fisher said the tool created an image that effectively acted like a 3D hologram of a landscape area.

It has been used extensively in Arnhem Land with Indigenous land managers to support their land management work.

“This technology brings science and local Indigenous knowledge together in a way that facilitates two-way learning about landscapes in the very diverse, cross-cultural, cross-linguistic space of Northern Australia.” he said.

Over recent years strategic fire management has become a large industry across Northern Australia, employing hundreds of Indigenous rangers and generating millions of dollars for remote communities.

“The projection augmented landscapes have captivated participants and allowed senior people to share lived experiences of fire on country with younger generations and non-Indigenous colleagues and teaching staff,” Mr Fisher said.

“Empowerment of Indigenous knowledge in a field dominated by hard science data is really an important aspect of this work, as is making sure the best science is easily used by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous land managers.”

The innovation has also been used by the Northern Territory Government, funded through the National Disaster Resilience Program, to build an understanding among the public about the need for strategic fire management across the Territory.

Mr Fisher is also working with research institutes in Mexico and Indonesia that use the technology to support village planning and the development of sustainable agricultural practices.