JMU students create project to help vineyard management

Students work on the drone before a flight around the vineyard | Photo: Brian Schieber
Students work on the drone before a flight around the vineyard | Photo: Brian Schieber(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 3:09 PM EDT
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A group of senior engineer students at James Madison University (JMU) worked together on a project to help Blenheim Vineyard in Charlottesville be better able to keep track of its vines.

The group started working together in the summer of 2019 by using a camera on a drone to view the vines.

Brian Schieber, who is part of the research project, said each camera has six lenses, which helps them to have a better look at the vines than they would on the ground.

"Using the camera gives you a better picture of exactly where the borders of these problem areas are, so that's kind of been helpful," said Schieber.

He has worked closely with John Watkins, who is the farmer at the vineyard. Once information is collected with the drone cameras, it is then recorded in a web application.

Schieber said that because the semester was cut short due to the coronaviurs, his team was not able to collaborate as closely to finish the project with the web application part. He said the goal is to hand this project to a new group of students who can do coding for the web, and have them finish it in the future.

"For it to turn into something we can hand off to our client that we're working with, and that it's useful for him and it benefits him in some way, his work flow streamlines what he does every day. It's a really difficult job being vineyard manager," said Schieber.

He said the goal of the website is to make it user friendly to farmers so they can store the data from vineyards to keep track of the health of the vines.