Hartley Wintney, UK, March 29th 2010 - Getmapping has supplied complete 2009 aerial imagery to the Snowdonia National Park Authority. The Park Authority has been an enthusiastic user of aerial imagery for a number of years and now has complete coverage for three different time periods. The imagery was captured as part of a very successful 2009 flying season. Getmapping took advantage of the better weather capturing the majority of Wales, the Scottish borders and many English counties totalling 77,000 sq km.
One of the main uses of the imagery in Snowdonia National Park is for landscape conservation. Rhododendron, for example, poses a major threat to native plants and animals in the Park. Officers are able to use the aerial photography in the Authority’s GIS (Geographical Information System) to identify future priority areas for control, based on the threat to areas of high conservation value. The 2009 flight is invaluable for this purpose because much of the rhododendron was easily identifiable being in flower at the time the imagery was captured.
Another example where the aerial photography has a key role in conservation is in the maintenance and restoration of the Migneint Arenig Dduallt blanket bog, a site of international importance. The blanket bog has been slowly damaged over the years by the opening of drainage channels. Officers use the imagery to identify and digitise drainage and within a GIS target problem areas where the drainage channels are to be blocked. This is a joint project with the Countryside Council for Wales, the National Trust and the RSPB. Work has started on trial sites which will be monitored for its effectiveness in restoring the quality of the bog before it is rolled out to the rest of the area.
Officers make extensive use of the imagery for planning assessment. Since all planning proposals are now digitised and viewable through the authority’s GIS it is a relatively simple task to view the proposal within its setting and compare it with the known biodiversity of the National Park.
“The photography is used extensively throughout the authority,” said Liz Jenkins Geographical Information Systems Co-ordinator for Snowdonia National Park Authority. “It is available to all our Park Wardens working out of seven satellite offices, to School Liaison Officers and lecturers delivering professional talks at our study centre. The Agricultural Conservation team use it extensively in their everyday work, for example, consultations on bracken spraying to identify areas of exclusion such as scree and water courses. They have found the imagery has significantly reduced their need for site visits. Together, including our archaeologists, planning and enforcement officers there are over 60 regular users. Aerial photography has become indispensable and we are very pleased with the new imagery,” continued Liz Jenkins.