Getmapping Aerial Photography Changes Working Practice At New Forest National Park

 May 24, 2007-- New aerial photography from Getmapping plc will help the New Forest National Park resist the growing pressures of urban development, by providing a tool for monitoring and managing change.

The National Park lies mainly in south-west Hampshire – and covers an area stretching from east of the Avon Valley to Southampton Water and from the Solent coast to the edge of the Wiltshire chalk downs.

This, the youngest of Britain’s National Parks, was created in 2005 against a background of increased land development pressure in Southern England.  It was created with the specific intention that future generations would be able to enjoy the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage that makes the New Forest so special.

As sole local planning authority for the New Forest, it is the Park’s responsibility to monitor and manage development. Also, where necessary, to apply and enforce controls on that development.

Maps play a major role in that process. However, in rural areas, conventional maps often fail to record the level of detail in the landscape required by planners to identify change. Very often there is ‘white space’ where objects of interest have not been regarded as important enough to warrant annotation on a map.

This contrasts with the richness of information provided by the 1,000 square km of aerial photography supplied by Getmapping. Covering the whole of the New Forest National Park Area, this records in photographic detail trees, hedges, borders, paths and water courses, down to 12.5cm pixel resolution. When used in conjunction with earlier aerial photography captured by Getmapping in 2000, the Authority has at its disposal a powerful planning resource.

Andrew Bell, GIS officer at the New Forest National Park Authority said: “We opted for Getmapping because it was the only company to provide us with high resolution Millennium and 2005 aerial photography of the Forest. We can achieve much more using Getmapping’s photography than was possible when using conventional OS maps; it has saved us a lot of time, money and effort.”

The combination of the two sets of data allows the Authority to monitor developments in the region and observe landscape change - an invaluable facility that wasn’t possible previously.

Because the data provided by Getmapping is orthorectified, positional accuracy is retained and guaranteed when aerial photographs of different vintages are overlaid, and when they are viewed against base maps.

The resolution of the aerial photography means that planning officers can easily identify even individual trees, allowing them to quickly respond to customer queries and track violations of preservation orders without having to leave the office.

Bell continued: “Having both sets of data enables us to view the environmental impact on the park. We can observe shifts in landscape over time and the effects of coastal erosion. With preservation orders, we now know exactly which trees customers are talking about without having to go out to visit the site and that enables us to make quicker decisions. We can also identify where trees are without entering people’s properties. And all this information allows us to immediately identify enforcement breaches.”

Richard Spooner, business development manager at Getmapping is convinced the Park Authority’s use of imagery from two different points in time, provides additional benefits over current imagery on its own. He said: “Our combined data gives the National Forest Authority the power to closely monitor the problems faced by the park. The information provided is far richer than mapping alone and gives them the means to detect spatial and temporal changes. They will be able to identify policy infringements and areas of significant environmental impact. This will help them to sustain the unique beauty of the forest for future generations.”

For further information on Getmapping products contact Richard Spooner on 01252 849405 or email: Email Contact


Getmapping is the UK’s leading provider of aerial photography and digital mapping. Set up in 1998, the geospatial imagery company based in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire is the only business to be re-flying the country at 12.5cm resolution. A reseller of professional mapping, oblique photography, height data, OS maps and third party aerial photography, Getmapping services a wide variety of industry including press and media, local authorities, construction sector, environmental consultants and the public. It also provides mapping services for specific client needs and has undertaken contracts to provide bespoke image databases.

For more information, please contact Babita Wakelin or Jane Nuthall at Getmapping’s press office on 0116 278 7788 or via email: Email Contact or

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