A computer-generated map of Manchester’s urban trees has been created by aerial mapping company Bluesky. The first project of its type in the world, the 3D map is helping authorities across Manchester (UK) understand the impact of urban trees on the environment, public health and the aesthetic qualities of the region. Derived from recent aerial photography Bluesky’s ProximiTREE is an accurate map detailing the precise location and extent of trees and their proximity to buildings and other landscape features.
Commissioned by a consortium of organisations headed up by Red Rose Forest and including local authorities, the Homes and Communities Agency and the University of Salford, the ProximiTREE data will be used to provide a greater understanding of the benefits trees can provide across the community.
“A previous tree audit undertaken using basic aerial photography had revealed some really interesting results, with levels of tree cover higher than expected but very uneven,” commented Mike Savage Operations Manager of Red Rose Forest. “We were really keen to extend the study across the entire region so when we learnt Bluesky had developed a product that would not only meet our basic needs - mapping the location of trees - but would also provide additional, highly valuable data we were very excited.”
Red Rose Forest is the Community Forest for central and western Greater Manchester, working with local communities, businesses and partners, to develop well-wooded, multipurpose landscapes and improve the quality of life in the area. Some of the questions Red Rose Forest are hoping the Bluesky ProximiTREE data will help them answer include ‘Which stretches of main roads are lacking in trees?’, ‘How does tree cover relate to maps of air quality?’ and ‘Does tree cover impact on the Urban Heat Island effect or to risk of flooding?’.
Mike Savage continued, “Tree audit data can be used in a variety of ways – obviously it’s great for mapping trees in parks and open space but we are more interested in understanding the benefits trees provide across the whole community. Using Bluesky’s ProximiTREE data we aim to come up with plans to maintain existing tree cover and increase this vital resource across Greater Manchester.”
Bluesky’s ProximiTREE uses overlapping aerial images to map the location, height and extent of a trees canopy. Suitable for use in most desktop Geographical Information Systems (GIS), web mapping applications and Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages both 2D and 3D versions of the map are available and ProximiTREE works alongside existing Bluesky datasets such as 3D buildings, terrain models and aerial imagery.
Enquiries to Bluesky tel +44 (0)1530 518 518