Telediagnostic methods used in Norway
In collaboration with the Norwegian Agriculture Inspection, NCRI Plant Protection Centre has investigated the use of telediagnostics in plant protection. One regional office, Oslo, is equipped with video cameras mounted on microscope and binocular, in addition to conference camera, scanner and document camera. Live video pictures are sent via telephone lines to a diagnostic laboratory in Aas, where specialists are available at short notice to assist in the diagnostic work. The inspector in Oslo is trained to prepare specimens. Control of the microscope manipulations may be swapped between the local and the remote/central offices. A pilot study has been conducted in 2000 using this equipment. The results have been rewarding as different organisms have been accurately identified using these telediagnostic methods. This has allowed transporters to save valuable time during clearance of commodities. In addition, a closer contact between inspectors and diagnostic specialists has led to a better understanding of the problems to be shared between the two groups. The Norwegian Agriculture Inspection has planned to equip all its regional offices with the same type of equipment in order to provide a better service to the plant industry. Extension services may also benefit from this type of equipment which provides a faster response in diagnostics.
Personal communication with Dr Haakon Magnus, NCRI Plant Protection Center, Norway.