Cambridge Maps City Trees from Air with Bluesky

July 19, 2012 -- Cambridge City Council has used a digital map of trees, created by aerial mapping company Bluesky, to inform tree planting and management across the historic city. As part of a wider project to address the effects of climate change the specially commissioned ProximiTREE data replaced a more traditional tree audit to determine which trees already existed and where they were located. Derived from aerial photography the Bluesky tree map details the exact location of all trees and includes measurements of tree height and canopy extent.

“In order to determine the most appropriate areas for additional tree planting we needed to understand what we already had and where it was located,” commented Matthew Magrath, Tree Officer at Cambridge City Council. “The ProximiTREE data provided an excellent base further analysis.”

Having taken receipt of the Bluesky ProximiTREE data Cambridge City Council appointed environmental consultancy ADAS to progress the project by conducting further spatial analysis in order to make a calculated suggestion as to the best strategy to increase canopy cover. The analysis considered the Bluesky ProximiTREE data in a number of ways including consideration of existing trees in terms of ward, land use classification, species, condition, ownership and protection afforded by Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Area status.

“We knew we were in a good starting position as for many years we have had an active and on-going tree planting programme,” continued Magrath. “However, the Bluesky data and the subsequent work undertaken by ADAS gives us detailed and accurate information base on which we can make truly informed decisions in order to move forward with tree planting and management in the city.”

ProximiTREE is derived from the most accurate and up to date aerial photography. Using overlapping images the exact location of every tree can be mapped and the height and extent of its canopy derived. ProximiTREE is suitable for use in most desktop Geographical Information Systems (GIS), web mapping applications and Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages. Both 2D and 3D versions of the map are available and ProximiTREE works alongside existing Bluesky datasets such as 3D buildings, terrain models and aerial imagery.


Website:, Bluesky Tel +44 (0)1530 518 518

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