Bluesky Aerial Photography used to Map Green Roofs

Leicestershire, UK, 02 December 2021 – Bluesky International Ltd, the aerial survey and mapping company, has supplied its high-resolution photography to support a new artificial intelligence platform created by technology start-up Gentian. The platform will map green infrastructure with the aim to identify where biodiversity can increase in UK cities.

Using 12.5-centimetre resolution imagery from Bluesky, Gentian has developed an advanced workflow based on Machine Learning algorithms, which automatically identifies and records the number of buildings with green roofs. Gentian is helping local authorities explore the capacity of new developments and enhance the value of existing properties in a bid to mitigate the loss of biodiversity and the negative impacts of climate change, reduce flooding and improve air quality.

“Green infrastructure is an essential tool in the war against climate change, reduced biodiversity and the health impacts of air pollution and rising temperatures in our cities,” commented Thomas Fenal, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Gentian. “In terms of green roofs, other benefits include building insulation, rainfall absorption and, if accessible or visible, boosts for well-being and even property prices.

“However, unlike other types of green infrastructure, such as parks and open spaces, the use of roof space has been somewhat ad-hoc,” continued Fenal. “Using the Bluesky photography we now have a highly detailed and highly accurate view of this underutilised resource. We can benchmark where a city currently is, both in terms of extent and quality of green roofs, and we can identify potential properties for retrofit projects.”

Ralph Coleman, Director of Sales at Bluesky, added: “It is always interesting to see the different ways our imagery can be used, and, at a time when NetZero is on everyone’s lips, it is good to see companies like Gentian using our products and incorporating them into new technology initiatives that aim to have a positive impact on our environment. I certainly think we will see more and more use cases of our products in environmental projects as we move towards the UK’s NetZero targets and deadlines.”

Using the Bluesky 12.5cm multispectral imagery, which includes the familiar RGB (Red Green Blue) bands as well as Near Infrared band that provides a unique insight into the state and health of vegetation, Gentian has already completed a pilot project in London and a project for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Bluesky is the only company to have current, high-resolution, full coverage of the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, which it maintains on a rolling, three-year update cycle. Bluesky has also upgraded its national flying programme to a minimum 12.5-centimetre resolution with urban areas now being captured at 5cm resolution simultaneously with LiDAR and oblique imagery. The photography, together with height data, Ordnance Survey map products and the National Tree Map, is available to view and download from Bluesky’s online Mapshop.


Debbie Hughes, Head of Marketing & Communications Bluesky, Tel: +44 (0) 1530 518518, Email Contact

Robert Peel – Editorial Contact, Spatially Aware, Tel: +44 (0) 1666 823306, Email Contact

About Bluesky

Bluesky International is the leading aerial survey and geographic data company in the UK producing and maintaining seamless digital aerial photography and height data on a national scale in both Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Bluesky also undertakes bespoke surveys, including LiDAR, for a range of public and private sector clients.

Bluesky International operates a range of aircraft and sensors including three Ultracam Eagle Mark 3s, a CityMapper which allows the simultaneous collection of vertical and oblique imagery as well as LiDAR data, and a Galaxy LiDAR which is mounted with a thermal sensor and survey grade camera. These systems put Bluesky International in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost-effective geospatial solutions.

As well as being an established and respected aerial survey company Bluesky International is also highly innovative and continually strives to develop new products and services by embracing new technology and methods. This has resulted in the development of some unique products such as the National Tree Map (NTM).

These datasets underpin long term contracts with local and central governments and many major blue-chip companies from a range of market sectors including financial services, utilities, telecoms, web portals, construction and environment.  Bluesky International has offices in the UK, US, Republic of Ireland and a dedicated production centre in India. 

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