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Precision Pays Off for Digital Twin

How precise positioning tools helped build a 3D model of vineyard’s assets and living environment to enhance operations

Using a Trimble® Catalyst™ DA2 GNSS receiver, Australian company Icon Spatial efficiently collected highly accurate points throughout a vineyard to create a comprehensive digital twin. From a practical perspective, the digital twin offers a collaborative environment in which broad data is harnessed and the operations of the vineyard are monitored remotely, allowing external consultants to facilitate the vineyard management process.

Leveraging new technology

Based in Victoria, Australia, Icon Spatial specializes in best practice rapid data capture using a broad range of technologies (drones, 360-degree cameras, mobile mapping, field tablets and location sensors) and the seamless transfer of this data to knowledge-based geospatial systems. Among other services, Icon assists its private and government sector clients, particularly in the infrastructure, mining and agricultural sectors, with building digital twins to monitor and manage sizable assets across many projects and jurisdictions. 

After the purchase of a Trimble Catalyst DA2 GNSS receiver in January 2022, Icon decided to use the device to conduct survey work at the Longhope Vineyard in South Gippsland as a test for future agriculture and construction applications.

Longhope Vineyard in Australia

The valuable assets of Longhope Vineyard are monitored and managed remotely. Photo credit: Icon Spatial.

“We are always looking for ways to effectively leverage our spatial assets to increase operational efficiency, reduce expenditures and derive value from improved workflows.” said Jason Clark, director at Icon Spatial. “For viticulture and infrastructure projects, the Trimble Catalyst DA2 GNSS receiver is a game changer.”

A digital vineyard

A digital twin must be reliable and accurate to support the full range of analytical applications. Using a suite of products, Icon Spatial collected comprehensive field data, transferred the data to the office and processed the data in a seamless workflow.

Five acres of Longhope Vineyard were digitized, including an area of 0.8 acres under vines. The Catalyst DA2 was mounted to the top of a Trimble carbon fiber pole with the battery pack fastened below. An iPhone was used as the collection device and mounted at a comfortable position to allow rapid data collection. The iPhone and DA2 communicated via Bluetooth.

Trimble DA2 receiver on top of range pole in vineyard

The Trimble Catalyst DA2 GNSS receiver was used to collect precise positioning data for individual vines. Photo credit: Icon Spatial.

Working with the DA2 GNSS receiver, Icon regularly achieved 2-cm accuracy after the initial 10-minute period of obtaining signal from Trimble Catalyst, a subscription-based GNSS solution offering professional-grade positioning as an on-demand service. Cloud-based Trimble TerraFlex™ software was used to streamline the workflow, which expedited data collection of many individual vines, while Esri® ArcGIS® Field Maps software was used to capture details about the infrastructure. 

“The Catalyst DA2 device was straightforward to use and worked seamlessly with the TerraFlex software and the Esri ArcGIS Field Maps software to complete the field capture,” said Clark. 

The GNSS receiver mapped all the vineyard infrastructure assets on site, defined control points for the capture of UAV imagery, provided corrections for reality capture using 360-degree cameras and facilitated a survey-accurate model, which can be utilized for future machine guidance when required. The precise location data from the Catalyst DA2 fed through to other iOS geospatial apps, providing improved accuracy throughout the database.

UAV mapping results for vineyard

UAV imagery overlaid with location/asset data provides comprehensive information about the vineyard. Photo credit: Icon Spatial.

Precise positioning for small investment

Icon Spatial was motivated to purchase the Catalyst DA2 partially because Longhope Vineyard is in a rural setting and availability of rental equipment is limited, not to mention the three-hour round-trip drive to Melbourne. If a comparative device was not available, hiring and testing an alternative device, as well as preparing the data workflows, would have added another three hours.

“For a minimal investment, using our own Catalyst DA2 provided a time saving of 6 hours just on this one small job, and we foresee having many applicable projects in the future,” explained Clark. “We can equip our site crews with the Catalyst DA2 at a fraction of the cost of existing competitive offerings.”

“For asset collection, setting out control for UAV capture, or the ongoing immersive operation of the vineyard, the Catalyst DA2 supports our vision of a true digital twin of the vineyard.”  — Jason Clark, Director, Icon Spatial