Growcom’s Hort360 team has a new tool in their arsenal to help growers visualise water movement. 

Designed and developed by USC Civil Engineering Honours student, Mitch Dakin the augmented reality hydrology sandbox enables users to simulate the fall and flow of rain over any type of landscape, from hills to floodplains. 

Based on a design developed by the University of California, Davis, the sandbox is overlaid with a digital projection of the Earth’s surface that can be live-updated as a 3D topographic visualisation. Scooping and moulding the sand, or gesturing above it, enables users to simulate the fall and flow of rain. 

Growcom Hort360 Facilitator Lene Knudsen said the Hort360 South East Queensland (Hort360 SEQ) project commissioned the sandbox to bring more focus to the importance of hydrology in farming. 

“The sandbox will assist with our work around erosion control and flood resilience and bring a more visual and hand-on learning experience for growers,” Ms Knudsen said. 

The Hort360 SEQ project has been working with growers in the Lockyer, Fassifern, and Sunshine Coast hinterland since 2015 addressing agricultural runoff entering local waterways. The Hort360 SEQ project promotes sustainable land management practices and has achieved great success with over 180 growers participating to date. 

Hort360 SEQ is funded by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science