Articles & Case Studies

Bluesky’s 3D aerial maps help model river pollution

Posted: Thursday 10th June 2010

Computer generated 3D visualisations are being used to help study river pollution of the River Doe Lea. The research project, carried out by the National Trust with partner institutions the

University of Sheffield, Environment Agency, Natural England and other consultancies aims to develop a multi-targeted catchment management strategy. Airborne remote sensing data, supplied by Bluesky, was used as part of a PhD study carried out within the project. The digital aerial photography, Colour Infrared imagery (CIR) and photogrammetrically derived digital height models were used to model the flow of agricultural pollutants and assess the diffusive effect on the landscape.

Results from the project ‘Modelling Catchment Landscapes Potential to

Mitigate Diffuse Pollution from Agriculture’ were recently presented at an

international conference on Catchment Science organised and attended by members

of CatSci a multidisciplinary research programme in catchment science

funded by the European Commission under the Marie Curie Early Stage Training

Fellowship scheme.

Nataliya Tkachenko, author of the research project commented, “The primary

aim of the study was to develop an interactive landscape model, which

would give the possibility to evaluate mitigation options in scenario context

and open opportunities for participatory GIS applied to agriculture. This

model is novel in the aspect of geotargeting of mitigation options within the

real landscape, where solutions can be downscaled to the finer elements.

Evaluation of landscape processes in the context environment is highly

complicated process, which requires substantial amount of data input on various

temporal and spatial scales. Both 3D visualisation, CIR derived indicators

and temporal data are powerful source of input information.”

She continued, “Being able to represent and visualise the countryside in

all aspects was essential for the accurate modelling of the mitigating

effects of the landscape on the agricultural pollutants studied. The Bluesky

data was available off the shelf and in a format and specification suitable

for use in our geographical information system (GIS) and image analysis


The Bluesky data supplied to the University of Sheffield for this study is

part of the GeoPerspectives product range. GeoPerspectives offers

nationwide coverage of high resolution aerial photography and Colour Infrared

imagery as well as highly accurate, photogrammetrically derived Digital Terrain

Models (the earth’s surface excluding buildings and vegetation) and Digital

Surface Models (the earth’s surface including buildings and vegetation).

Bluesky is also able to provide ultra detailed LiDAR (Light Detection and

Ranging) data and services covering the majority of England and Wales

including all major urban centres, coastal areas and flood plains.


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