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FFR Harvesting releases HARVESTNAV app to the forest industry

The Future Forests Research Limited (FFR) Harvesting programme has now released the HARVESTNAV on-board navigation app and has made it available to the whole industry free of charge. HARVESTNAV is a software application designed to enable harvesting machine operators to track their position in the block on a graphical harvest plan displayed on a computer tablet mounted in their machine.

Forest owners and managers spend significant sums of money accurately mapping forests and using that data to create detailed harvest plans. Most often these plans are provided to harvesting contractors as paper maps. These are commonly kept by contractors in their vehicles or left in the logging crew's smoko hut. HARVESTNAV puts all this valuable terrain information contained within these plans into the hands of the workers who are tasked with fulfilling these plans (the harvesting machine operators).

HARVESTNAV has been designed to run on any Windows 8/8.1 tablet utilising either an internal or external GPS receiver to monitor the machine's position on the terrain. It also uses the digital accelerometers in the tablet to measure the pitch and roll of the machine. It has been programmed to warn the machine operator when the maximum allowable slope of the machine is about to be exceeded. The application can also utilise LIDAR data to better visualise the terrain surrounding the machine's current location through the use of improved digital terrain and hill shaded models.

HarvestNav

HARVESTNAV also displays other mapping data in real-time in the on-screen map such as boundaries, riparian zones and other protection areas (such as waahi tapu). It uses this data to warn the operator if the machine is operating either outside a harvest boundary or within an exclusion area. Providing boundary, water course and road information in such a visual form to the operator could potentially minimize environmental and legal issues that can arise during harvesting operations. HARVESTNAV continuously logs the machine position (track) in a form that can be easily downloaded and used by logging contractors and forest managers to monitor harvesting progress and daily productivity.

Comments gained from harvesting machine operators during FFR field trials of HARVESTNAV have given clear evidence that this application will improve both safety and productivity. For this reason the FFR Harvesting members decided to make the current version of HARVESTNAV freely available to the whole industry. All that is needed to start using this new application is a Windows tablet, GPS receiver and a mount for the tablet. A number of forest managers and owners including PF Olsen Ltd are now purchasing tablets for the purpose of trialing and demonstrating the advantages of HARVESTNAV within their own company and to their harvesting contractors. HARVESTNAV can be downloaded free from www.interpine.co.nz. If you would like more information please email Hamish Marshall at harvestnav@interpine.co.nz or call on 021 677 720.

This year, FFR Harvesting plans to support the wider implementation of HARVESTNAV into the industry and the further development of the HARVESTNAV application. The focus of this year's development project with HARVESTNAV is to add additional external tilt sensors so that the application can be used on self-leveling harvesting machines. In addition, new technology to allow multiple machines in the crew to communicate their current position to each other as well as back to the 'office' will be investigated.