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How GIS Technology can Map Fallen Leaves

How GIS Technology can Map Fallen Leaves

When one thinks of GIS based technology, the image of satellites, world maps, countries, topographic features, etc., all come to mind. But remember, GIS is a very broad field and can encompass a wide array of topics, as well as technologies.

One such example of this is the “Bluesky National Tree Map.” Bluesky is a GIS based organization which offers unique and innovative geographic data sets for its customers at a price they can afford. This entity also offers aerial photography services, tree and vegetation mapping, solar mapping, thermal, airborne, and photogrammetry services, as well as topographical and land use mapping.

Bluesky has been in business for over a decade, and is currently based out of Leicestershire, UK. Just recently, this business created and developed a detailed map of almost 300 million trees across both the United Kingdom and Wales.

This is all in an effort to clear almost two thirds of the landscape of the London Borough of Bromley from fallen leaves. There are literally tons of leaves which fall in this geographic area that also consists of almost two thirds of the woodlands found in the United Kingdom. These leaves can pose a very hazardous situation, by making both the roads and pedestrian sidewalks very slippery, as well as blocking the public drainage systems and other associated gullies.

The types GISdata which were collected in this process included:

  • The names of the roads and the streets
  • NSG References
  • The road surface area
  • The tree canopy area
  • The big tree canopy area

According to the GIS Manager of the London Borough of Bromley, “Bromley is a fantastic sight in autumn, having the highest number of trees across London, but there is a price to be paid and the challenge each year is to keep our roads and pavements as safe and clear of leaves as possible . . . 36,000 street trees together with park trees and school trees give a combined total of more than 100,000, with many more on private land. This volume of trees leads to acute leafing issues in the autumn with significant resources diverted to address the problem each year.” (SOURCE:

GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 5,500 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data infrastructure.

Valerie Stephen