Bluesky’s 3D Aerial Maps Inform Flood Risk Assessments for Planning Applications
Leicestershire, Dec. 9, 2015—Aerial photography and detailed 3D height models of the UK are being used to assess the risk of flooding, and help development projects progress through the planning process. Working with Betts Hydro, part of engineering consultancy group Betts Associates, the geographic datasets from Bluesky are providing ground level information for use within a number of applications, including Flood Risk Assessments, Flood Consequence Assessments and Hydraulic Assessments. The data, high resolution aerial photography, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) measurements and 3D models (Digital Terrain and Digital Surface Models), used by Betts Hydro, are downloaded from Bluesky’s online Mapshop (www.blueskymapshop.com).
“We use the Bluesky height models and LiDAR data within various desktop mapping, GIS and CAD packages to create 3D visualisations of a site and any proposed developments. This allows us to evaluate both large and small sites in a non-time consuming, and therefore more economic, way,” commented Richard Nicholas, Director of Betts Hydro. “Furthermore, the aerial imagery from Bluesky brings context to the height information and provides a clear visual representation of the site, allowing a better understanding for the client, planning officers and consultees.”
Current planning policy requires the majority of applications to be supported by a Flood Risk and or Flood Consequence Assessment, and an understanding of the existing onsite ground levels and surrounding topography are key factors to consider. Due to the nature and scale of some residential projects, detailed topographic surveys are not always economically or geographically feasible. Betts Hydro is therefore using Bluesky LiDAR, combined with predicted water level information provided by the Environment Agency or Natural Resource Wales, to determine potential onsite flood depths. Aerial photography, also from Bluesky, is used to provide context and more detail of the site and its surrounding than standard mapping.
Bluesky LiDAR data is also helping Betts Hydro on larger scale commercial development projects. With many parts of the UK considered to be low lying, on many occasions at a similar elevation to sea level, the 3D height models are helping identify potential topographical constraints and features of a site. The data can be used to assess the safest access and egress routes and identify the most feasible locations for safe refuge when such as a location is not available onsite.
In order to capture highly accurate LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data a survey aircraft equipped with a system of lasers is used. Lasers are transmitted to the ground and the time taken for the beam to be bounced back to the aircraft-mounted receivers is recorded. Using the known position of the aircraft (derived from on-board satellite positioning equipment), the time taken for the return of the laser beam and the known value of the speed of light, the distance between the aircraft and ground is calculated. Readings can also be taken to determine the height of buildings, vegetation and other surface structures such as above ground pipelines, highways, street furniture, power lines and railway tracks.
Bluesky is a specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including two UltraCam Eagles and an Orion M300 LiDAR system. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.
Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going three-year update programme. By purchasing a world first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data, Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions.
Bluesky is leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications, including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com
Betts Associates is a highly credible engineering consultancy with specialist services tailored to many key sectors including commercial, industrial, residential and public authorities.
Betts is the first choice for planning consultants, developers and home owners across the North West because of the company’ ability to recognise commercial implications to projects, as well as its consistent and on-time delivery of high quality services, meaning projects always go ahead as planned with minimum disruption.
Betts Associates’ approach to consultancy is highly personable, ensuring customers have peace of mind throughout the entire process. The decisions made rest heavily on customers’ shoulders; Betts is here to guide and support them into reaching the most lucrative outcome. www.betts-associates.co.uk