Reducing the Urban-Rural Divide with Virtual Reality Farming

Creating a virtual Dookie farm with 360 images taken through time to enhance teaching methods and breach the urban-rural divide.

There is currently a serious disconnect between rural and urban Australia with minimal understanding of what happens on farms and where food comes from in urban Australia. This trend is getting worse with over 90% of the population now living in urban Australia and having little contact with rural areas.

This project aims to pilot the concept of the open virtual farm and how this can be included at a range of levels in the education system to improve the network between rural and urban Australia.  As the majority of urban households have access to good quality internet this makes the output from this program readily available in the classroom or broader society.

This project has a range of outcomes designed to reduce the urban-rural divide and allow anyone to experience the Dookie property via a virtual tour.

Outcomes include:

  • 360 photos at GPS linked points through time,
  • 360 video of important on-farm activities,
  • 360 drone images giving an overview of the property and time-lapse footage of a range of activities on-farm,
  • production of a virtual tour through the Dookie shearing shed using photogrammetry
  • assessment of a student survey to gauge the benefit of the output from this program at both tertiary and secondary levels.

Research questions:

  1. What are the optimal techniques to deliver networked virtual farms?
  2. How does the use of a virtual farm resource impact student engagement and learning about the production of food and fibre on farms?

The final output from this project will be online access to the virtual Dookie farm.  This will allow students to view the property in 360 degree photographs and how it changes throughout the year as well as watching a range of important farm procedures in 360 degree video.  Users will be able to view climatological data and animal production data at relevant times of the year such as daily milk production and view the complete paddock to plate process for one industry.  It will also present limited teaching resources to allow comparison with conventional teaching methods.

Research Team

External Collaborators

Evan Hallein, VR and Geospatial Consultant


Seed Funding 2018

4D imagery brings farms to the city, by Andrew Miller, Stock & Land, 22 February 2016.

Creating content for virtual reality experiences, by Ben Loveridge, Learning Environments blog, 2 October 2014.