BlueSky International Ltd and Infoterra Ltd, have secured a contract to supply national digital aerial photography to the British Geological Survey (BGS).
Image: Right to left, Rachel Eddy, Managing Director of BlueSky, Dave Fox, CEO of Infoterra and Tristram Cary, Managing Director of Getmapping The nationwide aerial mapping will be combined with detailed height data to create a 3D model of the landscape. This model will enable scientists to visualise, analyse, monitor and map geological features and natural hazards, such as landslides and coastal erosion, in the laboratory reducing the time and resources spent on fieldwork. The contract was awarded to a consortium of companies including BlueSky and Infoterra (as joint venture UK Perspectives) for England, together with Getmapping for Wales and Scotland, in order to deliver complete national coverage. It is the first time that this type of collaboration has resulted in the award of a contract to a national public sector organisation. The contract, for an in perpetuity licence, covers the initial supply and updates until 2009 for approximately 230,000 km2 of digital aerial photographs, as well as complete access to 180,000 of the underlying, original stereoscopic scans. Data supply, under the contract with BGS, is two-fold. Digital aerial photography will be supplied as a seamless, map accurate, 2D dataset for standard desktop GIS analysis of the surface environment. This data can be overlaid with other geographical datasets including topographic and geological mapping. It can also be draped over digital terrain or surface models to simulate a 3D landscape and analysed in BGS's immersive visualisation suites, in support of an expansion in 'virtual' field reconnaissance work undertaken by scientists at BGS. In addition to the 2D digital dataset the BGS will also receive the digital stereoscopic scans - digital versions of the original stereoscopic aerial photographs from each survey. Together with orientation data, these scans enable BGS to create a detailed 3D representation of the landscape for advanced analysis of the underlying geology, in support of ongoing field surveys at the 1:10,000 scale.The British Geological Survey is the longest established national geological survey in the World, charged with gathering knowledge about the earth, understanding of geological processes and advising government, industry, academia and the general public. The data supplied under this contract will actively benefit BGS by improving the information available to them in the laboratory and enabling them to concentrate their fieldwork on scientific challenges, rather than on routine data gathering, increasing their operational efficiency. The data also forms a baseline dataset for their integrated geoscience mapping workflow, enabling improved teamwork and more consistent surveying processes, with higher quality mapping as the end result. UK Perspectives, a joint venture between BlueSky and Infoterra, provides national coverage of aerial photography with a guaranteed five-year update programme. Additional geographic datasets that are available through this partnership include digital terrain and surface models for 3D modelling and colour infrared imagery for vegetation analysis.
Author: Robert Peel
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