Geospatial questions abound in urban areas. Property Assessors need to know who built an extension to their home to apply the appropriate tax and keep the city coffers full. Urban Planners are interested in green space, changes in green space and whether it provides the necessary continuity for birds and other urban wildlife. Utility companies often look for new construction, and indicators of affluence such as swimming pools to determine the future energy demands of a particular neighborhood.
They may also use LiDAR to manage vegetation encroachment on utility lines. The Water Department needs to understand runoff from impervious surfaces and how this impacts the underground infrastructure of pipes and drains. The health of water bodies is important for health and safety reasons. In some countries, sunlight is highly valued and any construction that casts a shadow on the neighbors is illegal. Transport departments are interested in the road conditions, closures and alternate routes. Emergency services need to understand various flood or storm surge scenarios, in some neighborhoods the fire potential, or simply an understanding of where the crimes or accidents are prevalent. (more…)