Coalville, Leicestershire, 06 February 2014 – Aerial survey specialist Bluesky is to conduct trials of the worlds first integrated night mapping system. Combining a specially adapted camera with Blueskys state of the art LiDAR and thermal imaging sensors it is hoped the trials will produce essential data to help combat light pollution, energy wastage and help manage urban habitats. The resulting map accurate images will be a useful tool for managing street lighting operations and maintenance and as a resource to tackle energy inefficiency. The system has been developed in partnership with the University of Leicester following a Bluesky funded research project.
Light pollution impacts all of us in many ways, commented James Eddy Blueskys Technical Director and Industrial Associate at the University of Leicester, from a loss of view of the night sky to health problems caused by lack of sleep. Intrusion of light into a bird or animals habitat can affect breeding or feeding patterns causing a threat to our urban wildlife, while inefficient or ineffective street lighting can impact crime patterns and costs money through wasted electricity.
By integrating a camera, specially adapted to cope with the challenges of night time surveying, within our state of the art aerial mapping system we can ensure high levels of positional accuracy for the night time images. Co-capturing detailed 3D measurements and thermal images will provide additional intelligence relating night time light levels to heat loss and height.
The Night Mapper system from Bluesky includes a camera specially adapted to cope with the low light levels and temperatures associated with night time aerial surveys. The integrated system also includes Blueskys LiDAR (Light Imaging Detection and Ranging) system which uses aircraft mounted lasers to accurately determine the distance between the sensor and the ground or other targets such as buildings and vegetation as well as a thermal infra-red imaging system.
The map accurate night time images produced by the new system will be suitable for use in a desktop mapping tool or geographical information system (GIS). Using advanced spatial queries and mapping techniques the Bluesky Night Mapper data can be used by Local Authorities and conservation organisations to provide an assessment of light pollution. This will provide intelligence to help to reduce unnecessary illumination and focus lighting infrastructure where it is needed most. In particular it can be used as an aid for Local Authorities in planning their environmental zones for exterior lighting control within their Development plans and conservation bodies can validate whether species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act are being impacted by light pollution.
The night time images can also be used as an aid for street lighting inventories and condition assessments; with 7.4million road lights in the UK, identifying those requiring replacement could lead to substantial savings. Additional applications of the night-time survey images are also expected to include measurement of illumination for energy consumption evaluations and additional intelligence to support innovative projects to dim or even switch off selected streetlights in an effort to save money and reduce carbon emissions.
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Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial imaging and remote sensing data collection and processing. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.
Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography, 3D landscape/cityscape visualisations and prints and also runs a national mapping centre, providing digital mapping, satellite imagery and aerial photography including ultra-high resolution imagery of cities and towns.
Bluesky is now leading the way developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UKs first nationwide map of solar potential, citywide heat loss maps, 3D maps of trees and their proximity to buildings and historical imagery.
The University of Leicester is a member of the 1994 Group of universities that shares a commitment to research excellence, high quality teaching and an outstanding student experience.
The Earth Observation Science group, based in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary team dedicated to research into many aspects of remote sensing, atmospheric and Earth surface science.