Bluesky National Tree Map Helps Dudley Council Keep Black Country Green
Leicestershire, 11 January 2023 – A unique map database from Bluesky International is helping Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council inform research and development projects, engage with stakeholders and ensure the historic capital of the Black Country is as green as possible.
Dudley was the first Council in the West Midlands to adopt Bluesky’s National Tree Map, which provides accurate height, location and canopy coverage data for trees, and has been using it since 2016. Most recently the data has helped the Council understand the potentially devastating effects of Ash dieback and measure the impacts on tree stocks of the expansion of the West Midlands Metro Extension.
“The Bluesky National Tree Map was initially purchased to facilitate a desktop inventory of the borough’s trees and to inform the Council’s Tree Strategy,” commented Robert Oldnall, GIS Unit Manager at Dudley Council. “However, as the data has evolved so have our applications. Using the Bluesky data, we can now complete desktop studies that would have previously required extensive field work realising significant savings in staff resource and other related costs.
“Recent applications of the data have included an assessment on Council owned or managed tree stocks of Ash dieback, impact analysis of major infrastructure projects and research into location and value of trees with regard to deprivation,” he continued.
Dudley Council uses the National Tree Map data within its desktop and intranet Geographical Information Systems alongside other map layers created by the Council, third party data such as Ordnance Survey mapping, and data provided under the APGB contract with the UK Government, which includes aerial photography, 3D height models and Colour Infrared imagery, also supplied by Bluesky. The National Tree Map data provides a detailed reference as to the location, number and size of trees which can be queried alongside the other data to establish ownership, proximity to other features or assets or relationships between demographic, economic or social data.
“Datasets such as the National Tree Map, allow us to ask questions of our environment, our population and our activities that were either previously unanswerable or would have taken significant time and resource to research and answer,” added Louise Tout, GIS Officer at Dudley Council. “In fact, you could say that geography takes the leg work out of much of what we are asked to help with.”
Moving forward, Dudley Council is planning to use the National Tree Map data to help validate a Highway Asset Inventory which will be used to plan future maintenance programmes and provide a better understanding of risk. The data will also be used to create a coherent tree planting strategy across the borough, trying to ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason.
The National Tree Map, which is unique to Bluesky, was launched 11 years ago, initially to address the issue of building subsidence for the insurance sector. It is created using innovative algorithms and image processing techniques, from the most up to date aerial photography and terrain data covering the whole of Great Britain and Ireland. It contains attributes including measurements of height and canopy cover and is widely used by a number of different market sectors for example local authorities, energy companies, property developers and academic and research organisations investigating the role of trees and green spaces and their impact on health, environment and infrastructure.
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.