Orchard researchers are continuing to find new applications for an Agtech device called a ‘Cartographer’ at Agriculture Victoria’s Tatura SmartFarm. Cartographer — invented by AgTech firm Green Atlas — is mounted on an electric All-Terrain-Vehicle at the farm and uses a combination of cameras, scanner, strobe lighting and GPS to capture flower, fruit and canopy data from tree crops.

Agriculture Victoria Research Leader for Crop Physiology, Dr Ian Goodwin said the Cartographer was originally trialled in a 2020 - 2022 research project exploring the use of sensors to assess fruit quality of peach, nectarine, plum and apricot for export.

‘The Cartographer can travel along orchard rows capturing data from both sides of the row at up to 10 km/h making it much quicker and more accurate than manual methods and less labour intensive,’ said Dr Goodwin.

‘It uses artificial intelligence to identify, count and measure fruit traits from its cameras such as fruit size and colour to help us calculate potential harvest yields.

‘The Cartographer has become a very handy scientific instrument for us that can rapidly analyse an entire orchard block, so we are now using it in wide range of orchard research.

‘It’s been used for stone fruit, apple and pear research and we’re now studying its economic value for growers as an orchard management tool. We manually calibrate the Cartographer for accurate fruit counts, but otherwise its entirely machine-driven data capture for fruit size, fruit colour and canopy size so the labour-save and return on investment would be of interest to producers.’

Mildura SmartFarm has also purchased a Cartographer to help researchers analyse quality and production within its almond experimental orchard and potentially in citrus and olive groves.

For more information:
Anna Ferguson
Agriculture Victoria
Tel.: +61 0499 540 475