Bluesky Purchases UK’s First Leica CityMapper - 05/04/2019


Aerial mapping company Bluesky has invested in one of the world’s most advanced combined Lidar and camera systems specifically designed for 3D city modelling and urban mapping. The Leica CityMapper, purchased by Bluesky, incorporates a hybrid airborne sensor which can simultaneously capture vertical and oblique aerial photography as well as Lidar. Capturing stunning high-resolution images, the aircraft-fitted camera enables the creation of high-accuracy, wide-scale 3D models which are in increasing demand for smart city modelling, infrastructure and building planning, risk assessment and environmental modelling.

The purchase of a CityMapper is a first in the UK. Bluesky first trialled the CityMapper in 2018, capturing parts of London, Manchester and Birmingham as well as Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Norwich, Nottingham and Oxford. Bluesky has ambitious plans for the 2019 aerial survey season and intends to significantly expand on the 2018 capture by extending coverage as well as adding many more towns and cities to its database.

Combining Lidar and photogrammetry

“The addition of the Leica CityMapper sensor to our survey equipment arsenal represents a significant step change for the domestic aerial survey sector,” commented Rachel Tidmarsh, managing director of Bluesky. “Now, for the first time ever, cities can be quickly and efficiently captured in 3D to impressively high accuracies.”

“The advantages of the CityMapper over other setups, and one of the reasons we made the decision to purchase this system, is that the Lidar data, vertical and oblique imagery is all captured simultaneously providing completely coherent datasets. Also the advanced functionality of the CityMapper provides for unprecedented detail and accuracy,” Tidmarsh continued.

CityMapper includes a traditional vertical camera as well as survey-grade oblique cameras. Specially designed for 3D city modelling and urban mapping, the sensor also includes high performance Lidar technology to accurately collect elevation data even into the shadows, which are common in urban environments and make photo-based data collection difficult. The CityMapper sensor also collects colour infrared data, which can be used to aid greenspace mapping and vegetation studies.

Applications of the new Bluesky 3D models include urban planning, line of sight analysis, new development visualisations, environmental modelling as well as 3D fly throughs and virtual reality experiences. Early adopters of the data include architects, planning consultants and other map publishers.

Last updated: 20/11/2019