By Kallandra Weatherbee
NAIT has received funding to develop 360-degree imaging technology to help First Nations reclaim boreal forests.
With funding from Future Skills Centre, NAIT is leading a project teaching technology-based reforestation training to Aboriginal youth and adults.
NAIT will be using 360-degree imaging technology to develop training for First Nations and Metis communities so they can reclaim former industrial sites and disturbed land in the boreal forests of northern Alberta and BC, said Olle Lagerquist, associate vice-president of NAIT’s Industry Solutions.
“The funding from Future Skills Canada will allow NAIT to put the time and effort into developing a high-quality, valuable training program for our First Nations and Métis partners and learners. Furthermore, it will enable us to expand this technology through the development of the toolkit, helping us to remove barriers to learning spanning many industries,” said Lagerquist.
Images of the reforestation process will be captured using a 360-degree camera. The photos will be stitched together, allowing anyone to scroll through the environment and interact with learning tools within the virtual space.
Pedro Barata, executive director of Future Skills Centre (FSC), this initiative will support Aboriginal communities in Alberta by providing training that can be taught locally, which NAIT believes is a barrier for communities.
“This project is an innovative and radical approach to training and filling future skills gaps in the forestry sector that also offers culturally appropriate learning experiences to support northern and Indigenous communities. This is just one of the exciting shock-proofing projects that FSC is investing in to build a future playbook for shared prosperity and help Canadian workers and businesses seize opportunities in our future economy,” said Barata.
The program is being developed with help from First Nation and Metis communities and will have two test runs starting in the spring of 2022.
NAIT believes this program is the beginning of more 360-degree immersive training at NAIT.
The funding will also be used to develop 360-degree training for instructors to use in classes.