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Architectural modelling of an olive tree. Generative tools for the scientific visualization of morphology and radiation relationships

Filippucci, Marco, Rinchi, Gabriele, Brunori, Antonio, Nasini, Luigi, Regni, Luca, Proietti, Primo
Ecological informatics 2016 v.36 pp. 84-93
Olea europaea, algorithms, canopy, leaves, models, plant architecture, pruning, solar collectors, solar radiation, trees
This research integrates the agricultural study of trees with the sciences of representation, in order to describe the architectural form of an olive tree and to show a scientific visualization of the relationship between morphology and light interception in the canopy. The representation of plant architecture, manipulated with pruning operation for agricultural purposes of light optimization, describes the action of sunlight in the tree, testing the potential of digital design tools – especially generative modelling. Through the design of a specific algorithm, the tree is interpreted like a fragmented photovoltaic panel, analysed using 14,000 control points corresponding to the leaves. The possibility to select these classes of elements becomes the instrument to explain the canopy structure, finding categories that describe and simulate the annual radiance and illuminance. The developed modelling process and its purely theoretical significance constitute the basis for a variety of applications in data analysis and comparison between different models, evaluations, theories, and operations.