CDU 3D mapping tool receives national recognition


Charles Darwin University Researcher, Rohan Fisher, with the award-winning 3D mapping tool.

Charles Darwin University Researcher, Rohan Fisher, with the award-winning 3D mapping tool.

A three-dimensional mapping tool developed by Charles Darwin University, that allows better understanding of bushfire behaviour, has been recognised with a prestigious national award.

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 tremendous contribution that the Higher Education sector makes to Australian prosperity and quality of life.

CDU’s project uses 3D printed or sand landscapes over which are projected landscape process simulations such as fire. Rohan Fisher, a Researcher in the College of Engineering, IT and Environment said the tool creates an image that effectively acts 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. This tool is supporting the best practice building on the extensive experience of local 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 had also been used by the Northern Territory Government to build an understanding among the public about fire management and the need for strategic fire management across the Territory.

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

He said it was rewarding to see a CDU innovation receive national recognition.

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