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3D Mosaic: Intelligent orchard management

The aim of the 3D Mosaic project is to promote precision management of orchards by means of a decision support system (DSS) aiming at optimizing efficiency of inputs and at diminishing the environmental footprint of fruit production.

Stereo image of orchard tree (left image)
Stereo image of orchard tree (left image)
Stereo image of orchard tree (right image)
Stereo image of orchard tree (right image)
Resulting point cloud
Resulting point cloud
Superposition of an 3D NIR data and 3D coulour point cloud.
Superposition of an 3D NIR data and 3D coulour point cloud.

In the cultivation of tree crops, water is a critical input factor. Water requirements in an orchard vary in space and time due to the variability of climate, soil and plant growth. Thus, an optimum orchard management has to address seasonal and spatial variability in soil and micro-climate that affect plant growth and fruit development. Spatial patterns of soil and plant properties can be regarded as a 3D mosaic.

However, irrigation today is commonly managed at the orchard level and not at the tree level. Uniform irrigation frequently creates sub-optimum conditions with some parts of the orchard having insufficient water while other parts suffer from water logging and subsequent oxygen shortage. Consequently, water is wasted and/or yield and fruit quality are reduced.

The aim of the 3D Mosaic project is to promote precision management of orchards by means of a decision support system (DSS) aiming at optimizing efficiency of inputs and at diminishing the environmental footprint of fruit production. For this purpose, sensors, monitoring strategies, information processing and decision support systems are developed.

The project is structured into six work packages: 

  1. Adaptation of an autonomous platform for transport of the mobile sensors and for implementation of efficient monitoring strategies
  2. Development of a mobile image analysis system for detection of trees and fruits
  3. Development of mobile fruit sensors for non-invasive fruit quality determination on the tree
  4. Field trials for testing the system and data acquisition
  5. Geographical information system for 3D data management
  6. Development of a decision support system to generate management maps

(Original text: ATB Potsdam)

Project details

Project start: 01.05.2011

Project duration: 24 months

More info on the project's website

Links to our project partners:

Contact IMS:

Prof. Dr. Hans Wernher van de Venn

Prof. Dr. Hans Wernher van de Venn

ZHAW School of Engineering
Institute of Mechatronic Systems
Technikumstrasse 5
8400 Winterthur

+41 (0) 58 934 77 89
wernher.vandevenn@zhaw.ch