Jordan Knapp-Wilson is a well-known sight at a peach orchard near the University of Georgia Griffin campus. The orchard is equipped with a myriad of laser-equipped scanners, targets and tripods. There, he’ll spend hours using data collection tools with the potential to change the peach industry.
These small laser scanners enable Knapp-Wilson to accomplish in a few hours what would normally take weeks. Using a 360-degree camera and terrestrial light detection and ranging, he can count and map each branch on every tree to create a three-dimensional image of the orchard.
Knapp-Wilson, a doctoral student in the Institute for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, explained that the technology does more than create an attractive, novel 3D image.
The 3D scanners allow researchers to rapidly collect large amounts of phenotypic data, something known in horticulture and plant breeding as high-throughput plant phenotyping, or HTP. These technologies make it possible to quantify, analyze and record nuanced differences in plant growth and morphology that can vary from tree to tree.