Night Sky Mapping Project May Help Reducing Carbon Emissions
May 25 2012
Aerial survey specialist Bluesky (UK) is funding research into the development and use of a new system to map Britain’s cities and towns at night. Earlier night sky mapping developments have generated interest from local authorities and Bluesky has now teamed up with the University of Leicester to look at solutions using new high sensitivity camera sensor technology. It is expected that the new system, mounted on survey aircraft, will accurately record the location of street lights, illuminated road signs and other night-time sources of light providing an accurate resource for asset inventories, light pollution assessment and energy optimisation measurements.
“We have looked at other systems already on the market but we think there is scope to develop a more advanced system that will increase the quality of data and resulting analysis,” commented James Eddy, Technical Director of Bluesky. “By working with the University of Leicester we can build on their expertise in the fields of remote sensing and spectroscopy and our own experiences of night time surveying.”
Dr Roland Leigh of the University of Leicester commented, “We will be applying techniques from astronomy, space engineering and spectroscopy to counter the challenges of nightsky mapping from survey aircraft. This is an exciting project for the University and we look forward to working with BlueSky to produce a novel and useful new system”.
The map accurate Nightsky images produced by the new system will be suitable for use in a desktop mapping tool or geographical information system (GIS). Providing intelligence for Local Authorities and other organisations with responsibility for lighting infrastructure Nightsky maps will be used as an aid for street lighting inventories and condition assessments and to assist with the identification of units for routine maintenance or fault repair. It is thought that Nightsky maps will also be used as an aid for research into new LED technologies as organisations across the globe are faced with challenging budget cuts.
Additional applications of the night-time survey images are expected to include measurement of illumination for energy consumption evaluations and additional intelligence to support innovative projects to ‘dim’ or even switch off selected streetlights in an effort to save money and reduce carbon emissions. Using advanced spatial queries and mapping techniques Bluesky Nightsky maps can also be used to provide an assessment of light pollution helping to reduce unnecessary illumination and focus lighting infrastructure where it is needed most. Nightsky map may also be used to help address issues of crime and antisocial behaviour and to support habitat studies.
Bluesky already has considerable experience and expertise in the capture and creation of off the shelf night-time aerial imagery as they are the UK’s leading provider of thermal photomaps to Local Authorities and partner organisations. Bluesky’s thermal survey service measures building roof heat loss levels across an entire city in just one evening together with a bespoke thermal mapping service creating intelligent energy consumption and fuel poverty maps and marketing materials to support energy strategies and local campaigns.