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Forestry Commission Uses Aerial Photography to Create Forest & Woodland Maps

LEICESTERSHIRE, UK / AGILITYPR.NEWS / February 13, 2020 / The Forestry Commission has revealed how it is using the latest aerial photography to manage and regulate public and private forests in the UK.


Supplied free at the point of use by Bluesky and Getmapping under the Aerial Photography for Great Britain (APGB) contract with the Geospatial Commission, the high resolution imagery is widely used across the organisation. Hosted in the cloud and delivered via web services the regularly updated photography is used to complement Ordnance Survey mapping, provide contextual detail for mapping and analysis tasks and in the creation of 3D visualisations to communicate woodland management projects.


As network and GI technologies have improved and more data has become available the Forestry Commission has embraced the cloud. This allows it to deliver the APGB imagery, alongside other types of geospatial data, to users in all parts of the business.


The imagery can be viewed by all staff within the organisation via a simple to use web browser; Forester Web. Sitting alongside Ordnance Survey mapping, the photography is used for a wide range of purposes, providing real world context and detail for grant applications and felling permissions, for example.


Tree Health staff use the imagery both at the desktop and in the field on portable ‘toughbooks’ for mapping outbreaks of diseases and issuing Statutory Plant Health Notices while Landscape Architects create 3D visualisations to assess and promote more complex woodland management proposals. The aerial photography and data management tools provided in Forester Web are also used to verify and update spatial data relating to the management of the national forest estate. 


The APGB data is also used to update of the National Forest Inventory which provides up-to-date information about the size, distribution, composition and condition of the forests and woodland in Great Britain. This information is essential for developing and monitoring policies and guidance to support sustainable forest management. As the world continues to focus on major environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and resource depletion the NFI helps to monitor and regulate valuable woodland and forest resources.


The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands. The Forestry Commission works alongside two agencies in England; Forestry England which manages the public forest estate and Forest Research the principal organisation for forestry and tree related research across Great Britain. In Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Forestry - also users of the APGB data - mirror the functions of the Forestry Commission and Forestry England.

About Us

Bluesky International is one of the leading and most successful aerial survey and geographic data companies 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 International operates the worlds most advanced airborne sensor, which comprises vertical and oblique cameras as well as a LiDAR, to create accurate and detailed virtual cities. Bluesky International also operates the only LiDAR system in the world that incorporates a thermal sensor and survey grade camera. These combined with other systems puts 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. 


Getmapping Plc is a leading provider of aerial photography, mobile mapping, LiDAR, digital mapping and web based services across Europe and Africa. Getmapping has offices in Hartley Wintney, UK, Cape Town and Centurion in South Africa, and Nairobi, Kenya.


Founded in 1999 Getmapping pioneered the concept of nationwide coverage of aerial photography creating the most comprehensive and detailed aerial photographic survey of the UK. Today Getmapping produces its own vertical aerial photography, oblique photography, point-cloud and height data derived from aerial and mobile mapping survey programmes. Getmapping also provide a wide range of value-added mapping services tailored to specific client needs including data hosting and online data delivery.


Getmapping services a wide variety of markets including local authorities and central government, property and construction, mining, environmental consultants, press and media, as well as providing planning services to the general public. 


Laura Eddy

Marketing Co-ordinator, Bluesky


Phone: +44 (0) 1530 518518

Robert Peel

Editorial Contact, Spatially Aware


Phone: +44 (0) 1666 823306