Aerial mapping company Bluesky International, is using one of the world’s most advanced hybrid sensors to expand its library of high-definition oblique photographs of UK cities to reveal more detail than ever before of building facades and street level furniture, providing a 360-degree view of buildings, structures, or sites. With 20 cities already acquired Bluesky plans to expand this further in the second half of 2022, including Irish cities like Dublin and Belfast and the UK cities of Leeds and Sheffield.

The cities have been captured using a Leica CityMapper camera, which as well as capturing oblique images, also simultaneously captures vertical images and LiDAR. The oblique imagery is a valuable tool for an increasing number of applications such as insurance risk assessment, asset management for utilities and telecommunications plus environment and urban planning. All images are geographically referenced to ensure they are map accurate.

To date, Bluesky has captured circa 300,000 oblique images of cities including Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Derby, Doncaster, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, and Southend. The oblique imagery can be accessed through Bluesky as a standalone geospatial dataset or in conjunction with vertical aerial photography, high resolution LiDAR data or fully processed 3D mesh models, as part of its innovative MetroVista product range.

To ensure the oblique images can be easily accessed by end users, Bluesky offers an online subscription service with access to its entire catalogue. The Bluesky MetroVista Oblique Viewer is cloud-based with a simple interface enabling users to have desktop access to the imagery without the burden of internal data storage or specialist software.

“Many of the challenges society faces have a source, solution, or impact within our city centres and as our population becomes increasingly urbanised, this can magnify these problems. Using our specialist sensors, we are able to record and monitor cities in a more efficient way” commented Ralph Coleman, Sales Director at Leicestershire-based Bluesky International. “As digital aerial photography transformed the way we view the world in the 90’s, so oblique imagery and 3D reality meshes will revolutionise the way we develop and manage our urban environments in the 20’s.

“Oblique images offer a detailed, holistic intelligence resource to record and monitor the impact of urban development on its surrounding environment which is important for analysing issues like loss of biodiversity and environmental challenges, transport and pedestrian management, building structures or planning solutions,” he continued. “This will help us understand how we interact with and develop city centres for a more sustainable future.”

Bluesky oblique images are captured using Leica CityMapper sensors at an approximate nominal resolution of 5 centimetres. With a geographical accuracy of +/- 10 centimetres, the images are available in a variety of formats suitable for use in desktop mapping, GIS and CAD software.