Aerial mapping company Bluesky has completed the first ever detailed digital map of tree canopy cover. The National Tree Map™ (NTM™ has been created from the most up to date, high resolution aerial photography, colour infrared data and detailed height models. It includes three individual map layers, detailing more than 280 million trees with a canopy cover in the region of 20,000 square kilometres – around 13.5 per cent of land cover! Bluesky’s National Tree Map is already in use in a number of Local Authorities, commercial organisations and academic institutions with interest also being shown from Central Government agencies and utility companies.
“Previous estimates of tree cover were around 10 per cent for England and 13 per cent for the UK as a whole,” commented James Eddy, Technical Director of Bluesky International. “Using our National Tree Map™ we have estimated this figure to be marginally higher at around 13.5 per cent for England and Wales.”
“However, what is more significant than the overall figure is the level of detail we are able to provide to those organisations and individuals who manage and protect this valuable resource. By providing crown polygons and centre points together with height attributes we are able to provide real intelligence for asset management, maintenance and risk assessment applications.”
The Bluesky National Tree Map™ has been created using innovative algorithms and image processing techniques in combination with the most up to date and detailed aerial photography in the UK. A team of experienced professionals then completed an exhaustive QA process to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data.
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 GIS ready formats with flexible annual licencing.
Applications of the Bluesky National Tree Map™ include subsidence risk assessment by insurance companies, propagation modelling for telecommunication infrastructure planning, network resilience assessment for utility companies and carbon reduction planning for environmental mitigation projects. Existing users of the data are already reporting significant improvements in day to day planning and operational efficiency achieved through the use of Bluesky National Tree Map data.
Bluesky National Tree Map™ is currently available for England and Wales with work already underway to create coverage for Scotland.