Tree carbon capture figures are more accurate thanks to Bluesky’s National Tree Map


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Leicestershire, UK, 09 March 2022 - Tree carbon capture figures in West and North Yorkshire, UK, are now being recorded more accurately as experts have turned to data from the National Tree Map. This unique dataset, created by aerial survey company Bluesky International Ltd, allows them to incorporate more trees than simply those classified as being part of a woodland or forest.


This fascinating project – conducted by the United Bank of Carbon (UBoC) supported team at the University of Leeds, and funded by the White Rose Forest, assessed the impact that single or small groups of trees contribute to carbon uptake figures. Carbon capture by trees has traditionally been calculated using the canopy area of forests or groups of trees due to the extent of data available in the national forest inventory.


Bluesky’s National Tree Map (NTM) has been able to significantly expand on data available as it is the only comprehensive dataset of tree canopy coverage for trees that are 3m or taller, and which includes trees that are on their own or present in small groups.


Dr Cat Scott from the University of Leeds, said: “Using the NTM data we could see how much coverage we were missing when using just the national forest inventory. For instance, in York we found that over 60% of tree canopy coverage was actually made up by these trees sited alone or in groups covering less than half a hectare. There is absolutely no way we could have got to this level of detail without the NTM as it has allowed us to drill down to individual trees.”


Ralph Coleman, Director of Sales at Bluesky, added: “Geospatial data is already and will increasingly continue to be critical in the journey to Net Zero and environmental sustainability. This project is a fantastic example of how insights derived from accurate, consistent spatial data can transform project outcomes. As well as illustrating where canopy coverage exists, the National Tree Map™ also provides information on areas where there is a dearth of trees and therefore where new planting sites are needed.”


The project report was published at the end of 2021 and is now accessible to all local authorities in the North and West Yorkshire regions. It can be downloaded here: UBoC_WRF_MainReport_Nov2021.pdf



Debbie Hughes, Head of Marketing & Communications, Tel: +44 (0) 1530 518518,

Robert Peel – Editorial Contact, Tel: +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 and is currently available for the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.


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, two CityMappers which allow 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. 


About the United Bank of Carbon (UBoC)  


UBoC is a registered environmental charity protecting, planting, and restoring trees and forests in the UK and across the world. Working in partnership with other organisations, UBoC provides scientific support to policy and decision making around the dynamic relationships between trees, the wider environment, and people. Find out more at or tag us on Twitter or Instagram.


About the University of Leeds


The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2021.


The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) centre draws together expertise from multiple disciplines across the University of Leeds to strengthen and initiate partnerships with external organisations, facilitating research into trees, forests, and green spaces. Find out more:


Tag @Leeds_LEAF and follow us for research updates through Twitter & Instagram

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