Bluesky has produced a map of UK trees

UK trees enjoy health check from 3D mapping

Aerial mapping company Bluesky has announced what it claims is the first ever country-wide 3D map of English and Welsh trees, complete with detailed modelling of tree heights and canopy cover.

Aerial mapping company Bluesky has announced what it claims is the first ever country-wide 3D map of English and Welsh trees, complete with detailed modelling of tree heights and canopy cover.

The map was created by assembling overlapping aerial photographs and infra-red data, and then using mathematical algorithms to map every tree and derive the height and extent of its canopy – a proprietary technology the company calls ProximiTREE.

Bluesky added that with the threat currently posed by the Ash tree dieback disease it plans to regularly update the National Tree Map so that changes in tree cover can be monitored. 

“Trees contribute an enormous amount; they provide valuable habitats for wildlife, improve the air we breathe and help to conserve energy in nearby buildings. With disease threatening the Ash tree population, the creation of the National Tree Map should prove crucial for helping manage and preserve our trees in the future” said Rachel Tidmarsh, managing director of Bluesky International.

She added that the company already has local tree maps in use with local authorities and utility companies, and is seeing interest from insurance companies and forestry organisations.

“Trees also pose a real risk to properties and utility networks with root damage causing subsidence and pipeline fractures, and branches and falling trees affecting overhead cables,” she said.

The ProximiTREE technology can provide a better understanding than basic aerial photography, Bluesky said, for example allowing tree data to be mashed with air quality, urban heat or flood risk maps. It added that the digital map layer for the whole of England and Wales would be available early next year, with plans in place to cover Scotland as well.

The production of Bluesky's National Tree Map follows a number of other tree mapping projects around the world. For example, Nasa last year funded a project to accurately documented for the first time the tree population of the US, using Space Shuttle radar data, satellite imagery, computer programs and a lot of ground-work by agencies such as the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Further information

http://www.bluesky-world.com

http://www.whrc.org/mapping/nbcd/index.html

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