1 April 2009

New system for analysing the risks of climate change by Get Mapping

Getmapping has announced a new enhanced height dataset of Scotland derived directly from its aerial photographic survey of the country. Processing for the rest of the Britain is now underway. The arrival of a new more accurate height model will be welcome coming shortly after scientists at the recent climate change summit in Copenhagen said that earlier UN estimates for sea levels were too low. Height data is used for numerous earth studies including impact assessments for rising sea levels and flood modelling.

In 2006 Getmapping became involved in a DTI co-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Bath Spa University, Geosense and SCS. The remit was to provide a more accurate nationwide height dataset at lower cost. The result is a new methodology for producing height data from stereo aerial photography. While it has always been possible to create highly accurate height data from vertical aerial photography using photogrammetry it was time consuming and expensive to carry out. However as a result of the KTP project, new workflows and algorithms have refined and speeded up the process to deliver the best possible balance between accuracy and cost. The result is significantly more accurate than Radar (SAR), less costly than LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and provides nationwide coverage.

The new eDEMs (enhanced Digital Elevation Models) consist of a first surface model (DSM) and a digital terrain model (DTM), contours will be added in due course. In open areas accuracy is comparable to LiDAR but out performs it in urban areas by virtue of the ability to extract building detail photogrammetrically. The datasets are considerably enhanced by aerial photography providing the ‘intelligence’ to aid interpretation and risk assessment and opening the way for 3D visualisation. The data is available in one square km tiles and is therefore very cost effective.

“Height data provides the third dimension in a land survey, and is a vital resource for analysing the risks associated with climate change, such as flooding and the threat of attack from the sea. It is also invaluable for use in planning and 3D visualisation,” said Tristram Cary, Managing Director of Getmapping. “This Knowledge Transfer Project is a brilliant example of co-operation between government, academia and the private sector producing what we believe to be the best product for the market,” continued Cary.

About Getmapping Plc

Getmapping Plc is the UK’s leading provider of aerial photography and digital mapping. Based in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire Getmapping was the first company to have up to date nationwide coverage and pioneered online delivery of aerial photography to business and the public and large. A reseller of professional mapping, oblique photography, height data, OS maps and third party aerial photography, Getmapping services a wide variety of markets including press and media, local authorities, property and construction, environmental consultants and the public. It also provides mapping services for specific client needs and has undertaken contracts to provide bespoke image databases. A pioneer of many online products through its website, Getmapping is the only company currently re-flying the whole country at enhanced 12.5cm resolution.


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