Bluesky National Tree Map Helps Bradford Manage Tree Disease


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Leicestershire, 15 December 2022 - A local authority has turned to data from aerial survey and mapping company, Bluesky International, to manage tree health and felling across a 98-hectare estate and areas of an adjoining 64-hectare golf course. Bradford District Council is using data from Bluesky’s unique National Tree Map (NTM) to accurately pinpoint the location and number of trees infected or at risk of disease to plan and report on necessary remedial work. 


Tree felling is an important part of maintaining the health of the UK’s woodlands and forests. Landowners have an obligation to take action to contain and eliminate areas of trees infected and to monitor surrounding trees to ensure disease does not spread. The Forestry Commission, the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands, issues landowners with a Statutory Plant Health Notice highlighting that action must be taken if diseased trees are identified. 


Using NTM data at the pre-felling stage has saved the local authority time and money. Bob Thorpe, Senior Green Space Manager at Bradford District Council, explains: “When it comes to felling diseased timber, time is of the essence, and we must work quickly to prevent the further spread of disease. The traditional method for calculating the area of felling is labour intensive as we had to physically be on-site, counting the number of trees, marking trees with paint, all while recording the process with a hand-clicker. The NTM has enabled us to work differently and more efficiently. 


“We are now taking measurements of the girth of trees in a sample area and overlaying this information with the height data from the NTM to calculate the volume of trees that will be felled. We will be working on the ground to verify the estimations during felling, but once we have proof of, and evaluated accuracy, we expect to phase this aspect out. The potential that using NTM data presents for adding to current methodologies for the forestry industry is exciting.” 


Ralph Coleman, Sales Director at Bluesky, added: “The opportunities for the application of NTM data are constantly growing and we love to hear how our customers are driving efficiencies through its use. Biosecurity is essential to protecting the country’s treescape and in this instance the NTM is playing an important role in maintaining the health of the nation’s trees.”  


The National Tree Map is a unique map created using aerial imagery and provides height and location data for trees 3 metres and taller in Great Britain and Ireland. It is updated as part of Bluesky’s three-year rolling flying programme. Further details can be found at  

 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 and 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.  


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