Parks Victoria uses 3D technology to kill Sallow Wattle

PARKS Victoria has embraced future technology to kill highly invasive weeds in Grampians National Park. 

Taking a leaf from Sci-Fi novels, Parks Victoria’s science team are using 3D stereoscopic imagery and Nvidia 3D vision glasses along with infrared technology to map the extent and density of Sallow Wattle. 

Parks Victoria Information Management Officer Steve Shelley said the group would use an ArcGIS plug-in to present park landscapes in 3D from overlayed aerial photographs. 

He said 3D images help to discriminate flora species by height as well as shape, texture and colour.

“The possibilities are endless. And how lucky am I to have this as part of my job? I enjoy using gaming technology at home for fun and then at work too,” Mr Shelley said.

“You have to get sophisticated about knowing your enemy – in this case, weeds.

“Dealing with large scale weed issues is like dealing with a big piece of string and you don’t know how long it is before monitoring begins.”

Sallow Wattle is a highly invasive weed in the Grampians National Park.

It has become a particular problem after fires in 1999 and 2014 released the Sallow Wattle seeds.

Although native, it has spread so that other native plants are disadvantaged as it forms a solid wall that prevents many species from growing underneath.

In the Grampians, Parks Victoria is dealing with 30, 000 hectares and this poses a huge challenge for mapping weeds given the mountainous terrain.

Past surveying methods have included on-ground surveys which are time consuming, labour intensive and not always safe given the terrain.

The 3D vision glasses and infrared emitter allows the team to identify plants by colour, height, texture and infrared reflectivity.

Sallow Wattle is easy to identify using this method as it is a “middle-story” shrub and the technology can easily separate it from tall eucalypts and low shrubs.

Experts say weeds pose issues for biodiversity, and could significantly harm this important landscape and habitat.

Weeds also have a potential economic impact in areas such as the Grampians which are a major attraction for local, national and international visitors and tourists.

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