Bluesky National Tree Map Data Included in First Online Natural Capital Calculator


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Leicestershire, UK, 17 November 2021 - The first online natural capital mapping tool in the UK - NatCap Map - is using data from Bluesky’s National Tree Map. Developed by Natural Capital Research, the tool allows users such as National Parks, utility companies, charities and private landowners, to download a report detailing what natural capital (assets) they currently have, together with an account of the different ecosystem services provided by those assets. Over time, changes in the quantity and quality of natural capital assets and services can be monitored providing management relevant evidence for shareholders, stakeholders, government and environmental groups.


Natural capital can be simply described as the aspects of nature (e.g., species, habitats, communities, soils etc.) that provide key ecosystem services underpinning important public goods or benefits. Examples of ecosystem services include food and clean water, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, flood risk reduction and crop pollination.


“As with financial capital, natural capital becomes an issue if we consume or spend too much of the asset. We effectively create a debt which needs to be repaid,” commented Dr Abigail Barker, Chief Operating Officer of Natural Capital Research. “At a time when the agricultural sector is going through the biggest changes in subsidies since the 1970s, landowners need new tools to identify and measure a baseline for their natural capital. They will also need evidence of environmental improvement and enhancement to continue to claim subsidies and grants.


“Trees make an essential contribution to natural capital not only for carbon storage and carbon sequestration but also for supporting biodiversity and a range of other services,” she continued. “The Bluesky National Tree Map is the best available product for locating and measuring the potential of this asset type so its inclusion within NatCap Map gives us increased confidence in the accuracy and currency of the modelling outputs we produce.”


Natural Capital Research was established in 2018 by Professor Sir Dieter Helm and Professor Kathy Willis, both recognised thought leaders in the natural capital space and advisors to the UK Government via the UK’s Natural Capital Committee. In March 2021 Natural Capital Research released NatCap Map leveraging world leading science, modelling and data. NatCap Map allows a user to quickly download a baseline report of the natural capital assets and the ecosystem services provided by those assets, and report improvement over time at a fine spatial resolution.


Derived from high-resolution aerial photography and height data, the Bluesky National Tree Map accurately records the location, height and crown spread for trees over 3 metres in height and is currently available for the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.



Debbie Hughes, Head of Marketing and Communications, Bluesky, +44 (0) 1530 518518,

Robert Peel – Editorial Contact, Spatially Aware, +44 (0) 1666 823306,


About Bluesky and the National Tree Map


Bluesky’s National Tree Map is created using innovative algorithms and image processing techniques in combination with the most up to date and detailed aerial photography. In addition to the three vector map layers; Crown Polygons, Idealised Crowns and Height Points, the Bluesky National Tree Map also includes an attribute table including unique identification for each crown feature, height attributes and area calculations. The data is available in a range of formats for use in GIS, CAD and online mapping tools.


Bluesky International is the leading aerial survey and geographic data company in the UK producing and maintaining seamless digital aerial photography and height data on a national scale in both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Bluesky also undertakes bespoke surveys, including LiDAR, for a range of public and private sector clients.


Bluesky International operates a range of aircraft and sensors including three Ultracam Eagle Mark 3s, a CityMapper which allows the simultaneous collection of vertical and oblique imagery as well as LiDAR data, and a Galaxy LiDAR which is mounted with a thermal sensor and survey grade camera. These systems put Bluesky International in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost-effective geospatial solutions. 


As well as being an established and respected aerial survey company Bluesky International is also highly innovative and continually strives to develop new products and services by embracing new technology and methods. This has resulted in the development of some unique products such as the National Tree Map (NTM). 


These datasets underpin long term contracts with local and central governments and many major blue-chip companies from a range of market sectors including financial services, utilities, telecoms, web portals, construction and environment.  Bluesky International has offices in the UK, US, Republic of Ireland and a dedicated production centre in India.  

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