Leicestershire, UK, 20 January 2016 – Aerial mapping company Bluesky has revolutionised the production of aerial photography, reducing the time taken to process the terabytes of data captured by more than 75 percent. Following a major research project, the team at Bluesky’s Leicestershire production facility has implemented a Vexcel UltraMap system, which has allowed for the introduction of a continuous, uninterrupted processing workflow. By investing in an entirely new workflow, Bluesky has also improved the quality of the aerial images, reducing “building lean” and image distortion, and the accuracy of its digital height models.
Bluesky’s investment in software follows the recent purchase of two UltraCam Eagle cameras, also from Microsoft, and the introduction of new flying practices. In addition, Bluesky has recently secured a number of high profile contracts, including a multi-million pound contract for the supply of geographic data to Central Government organisations awarded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and a four year contract to supply the national mapping agency for Great Britain, Ordnance Survey. Earlier this year, Bluesky announced plans and commenced data capture for the first high resolution aerial survey of the whole of the Republic of Ireland, and will also create digital surface models and terrain models.
“2015 has been a phenomenal year in terms of data volumes to be processed,” commented Bluesky’s Technical Director James Eddy. “We have introduced new flying methods, we have secured a number of large contracts and we are actively pursuing our own ambitious flying programme. This has meant the volume of raw data to be processed is unprecedented.”
Microsoft UltraMap is a state-of-the-art, end-to-end photogrammetric workflow system that provides highly automated processing capabilities, allowing Bluesky to rapidly generate quality data products from UltraCam cameras. The improved workflow is designed to process huge amounts of data in the shortest possible time with the highest degree of automation, supported by guided manual interaction, quality control tools and powerful visualisation.
“In order to process the many terabytes of data produced in a flying season – for example, we are looking at over a trillion DSM points alone – the UltraMap system is just one component of a complex system,” continued Eddy. “We have also invested significantly in hardware, including an array of multi core processors, our network infrastructure, a robust backup system, internally produced software to increase and improve QA and improve productivity, and of course, perhaps most importantly, skilled and experienced staff.
“We now believe we operate one of the most advanced aerial imaging processing facilities in the UK, if not the world and we have the capacity to handle our largest ever projects.”
Bluesky is a specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including two UltraCam Eagles and an Orion M300 LiDAR system. 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 and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going three-year update programme. By purchasing a world first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data, Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions. Bluesky is leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications, including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com