Aerial Photography Helps to Transform Policing in North Yorkshire


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Leicestershire, 05 February 2020 – The latest aerial photography is helping North Yorkshire Police save time and resources and transform policing in the largest county in the UK.  Supplied by Bluesky International and Getmapping under the Aerial Photography for Great Britain (APGB) contract with the Geospatial Commission, the high resolution imagery is widely used across the force.


Accessed via desktop Geographical Information System (GIS) and mapping software the up-to-date photography is benefiting operations and day-to-day services with applications including missing person searches, surveillance planning, anti-social behaviour management and crime investigations. 


Complimenting existing mapping resources including Ordnance Survey MasterMap data and the recently introduced What3Words geocoding system, the APGB imagery provides additional detail and real world context.


“The APGB imagery gives Control Room and frontline staff choices they did not have before,” commented Rupert Carey, GIS Applications Support Engineer, North Yorkshire Police. “They can now choose to have the detail, familiarity and usability of the photography as well as the intelligence of the mapping.


“Before this contract, if priorities demanded it and budgets allowed, we purchased imagery for a specific location or event. Now, with complete coverage of the county, available at the click of a button, we can save time and resources and help to transform policing in North Yorkshire.”


The APGB imagery is available at a resolution of 25 centimetres for the whole of North Yorkshire with urban centres, such as the city of York, at the ultra-high 12.5 centimetre resolution. Available as an additional map layer within the force’s Northgate GIS software, users of the photography include the Force Control Room for the identification of locations for resource deployment, Police Search Advisors (POLSA) to define and manage search areas, Analysts to advise strategic and operational activities as we well as Investigators, Emergency and Tactical Planners and Business Advisors.


Applications of the imagery by operational officers and staff also include use by the Rural Crime Teams for detecting, recording and investigating crimes such as hare coursing, egg thefts and badger baiting, Surveillance Teams for planning and carrying out undercover operations, Firearms Licencing checks and use by Neighbourhood Policing teams.


North Yorkshire Police also has access to detailed height measurements under the APGB contract. The Digital Terrain or ‘bare earth’ Models (DTMs) and Digital Surface Models (DSMs), which include ground features such as built structures or trees, are initially being used by missing person search teams and in business planning for the siting of radio masts.


 Data covered by the Aerial Photography for Great Britain (APGB) agreement between Bluesky International, Getmapping and the Geospatial Commission, including high resolution aerial photography (12.5 and 25 centimetre) for the whole of Great Britain, is available free-at-the-point-of-use, to local government users across England and Wales. (Additional charges may be incurred for users in Scotland.) Additional data that is covered by the contract includes 5 metre Digital Terrain and 2 metre Digital Surface Models (DTM/DSM) and 50 centimetre Colour Infrared imagery.


Eligible organisations can access the data via a secure Web Mapping Services (WMS), once registered, can download data from a newly created APGB online mapping portal –, or receive the data with delivery on storage media such as hard drive or memory stick.


Bluesky International is one of the leading and most successful aerial survey and geographic data companies 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 International operates the worlds most advanced airborne sensor, which comprises vertical and oblique cameras as well as a LiDAR, to create accurate and detailed virtual cities.  Bluesky International also operates the only LiDAR system in the world that incorporates a thermal sensor and survey grade camera. These combined with other systems puts 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. 


Getmapping Plc is a leading provider of aerial photography, mobile mapping, LiDAR, digital mapping and web based services across Europe and Africa. Getmapping has offices in Hartley Wintney, UK, Cape Town and Centurion in South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya.


Founded in 1999 Getmapping pioneered the concept of nationwide coverage of aerial photography creating the most comprehensive and detailed aerial photographic survey of the UK. Today Getmapping produces its own vertical aerial photography, oblique photography, point-cloud and height data derived from aerial and mobile mapping survey programmes. Getmapping also provide a wide range of value-added mapping services tailored to specific client needs including data hosting and online data delivery.


Getmapping services a wide variety of markets including local authorities and central government, property and construction, mining, environmental consultants, press and media, as well as providing planning services to the general public.

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