Landscape virtualization for remote sensing and actuation in urban horticulture based on open-source design tools

D. Piromalis, K. Arvanitis
The modern horticulture faces significant challenges in landscape and urban applications. Micro-gardens, consumers horticulture, urban herbariums, and green roofs are just some of many new demanding applications that are not governed by horticultural models applied in typical applications, e.g. in greenhouses. Traditionally, horticulture has demonstrated a particular ease to integrate various challenging technologies from other scientific disciplines, such as the information and communication technologies as well as the sensing and actuation and control technologies. For the design, study, and presentation of landscape and urban horticulture setups, several professional geographic information systems (GIS) together with computer-aided-design (CAD) software tools are widely used by horticulturists and other practitioners. In general, such design tools are high-cost licensed software applications, annually renewed, which require users with medium to high software programming skills and experience. In the recent few years, the emergence of software applications developed in an open-source basis, drove to the production of freeware suite applications. Among such open-source applications, there are several with remarkable features and capabilities. In this study, we propose the combination of the functions of GIS and CAD design tools with the virtual reality rendering operation, as well as with the visualization of remote sensors and actuators deployed in-situ. In particular, the use of the freeware SketchUp CAD tool was adopted to demonstrate the proposed idea. SketchUp allows for the integration of language scripts for web technology applications development. Users can monitor and log data from the remote sensors as well as trigger commands to the remote actuators in real-time through simple graphical objects in their SketchUp design. The proposed approach can be considered as a powerful, easy-to-use virtualization tool, fed with real-time data, which can satisfy the increasing requirements for design, research, presentation and teaching of horticultural applications.
Piromalis, D. and Arvanitis, K. (2017). Landscape virtualization for remote sensing and actuation in urban horticulture based on open-source design tools. Acta Hortic. 1189, 279-282
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1189.54
urban horticulture, remote monitoring, sensors and actuators, computer-aided design, human-machine interface, SketchUp, virtual reality

Acta Horticulturae