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“It kind of looks and feels like a video game, but it’s a very complex data analysis system and application,” said Lavigne, whose expertise stems from the gaming industry.
There are about 76,000 timber cut blocks and nearly 87 million trees represented, he said, noting further layers of data could be added in the future, such as fish stocks and water-flow monitoring.
By bringing together different file formats and types of data that are not normally so accessible, TimberOps creates continuity for different stakeholders when the nation is negotiating with government officials or resource extraction companies, Lavigne said.
Dorothy Hunt, lands manager for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation, said TimberOps will help the nation identify “absolute no-go zones” where industrial activity is not welcome.
That could include the locations of old villages and archaeological sites, areas for fishing and gathering berries and cedar, as well as trees modified for cultural purposes, all of which were recorded in the nation’s traditional land use assessment and integrated into the software, she said.
In other locations, there may be fewer alarm bells over resource development, she added, and the software also helps identify those areas.
TimberOps will also help the nation’s leadership preserve certain areas and visual standards while fielding requests from logging companies, Hunt said.
“The nation is really striving to build an economy around tourism, and they kind of clash when you think you’re going to be bringing your guests down an inlet and on both sides of the inlet the mountains have been logged.”