How Spatial Data Is Helping Government Plan More Sustainable Communities

Tuesday, 07 September, 2021

Spatial technology company Aerometrex has developed a diverse suite of climate change mitigation and urban management data services for their government clients to help manage the built environment and improve the health of their constituents.

Together the Tree Canopy Coverage, Green Rooftop and Solar Panel Placement, and Permeable and Impermeable Surface Mapping reports give a deep understanding of how to maximise our city spaces for better health and environmental outcomes.

Canopy Coverage Measurement and Change

The Tree Canopy Coverage data suite uses LiDAR-derived data to measure total tree canopy coverage, canopy coverage change, and the change distribution across different land ownership types.

Image 1: Measure the entire urban forest with LIDAR

Increasing urban greenness, vegetation and urban tree canopy cover has become one of the most critical considerations for strategic planning within all levels of government. The City of Unley, Aerometrex’s project partner in developing the data, now has a deep understanding of the tree canopy area, coverage, and change to base policy decisions on. Further, they have the data to communicate more accurately and effectively with the community on tree management.

Aerometrex generated that Canopy Coverage data from repeated council-wide LiDAR capture and LiDAR data-derived assessments of the City of Unley in 2018 and 2021. The 2021 data capture was within two calendar weeks of the 2018 capture to minimise seasonal foliage variations. The output reports show both the overall canopy change statistics and precise information about where changes have occurred.

Green Rooftops and Solar Panel Placements

A project funded by the City of Melbourne led Aerometrex to develop identification and measurement processes for living rooftop green spaces, green building facades, and a method to determine viable new rooftop garden and solar panel locations. The latest data suite helps city councils meet their urban greening and cooling targets and implement more climate change mitigation activities with strong data backing.

Image 2: Plan sustainable green rooftops quickly and at scale

Aerometrex used 7km2 of their 2013, 2017, and 2021 3D city models as the spatial data source. True orthomosaics and digital surface models derived from the 3D models combined with object-oriented imagery analysis and machine learning techniques classified the surface cover into different categories. Final manual quality checks validated the data.

Aerometrex’s project outputs give relevant information and data to improve greening outcomes in new buildings and developments. The datasets will act as a demonstration and research tool for other local and state governments and industry to learn from. This project’s other benefits and future research relate to humidity, aesthetics, noise reduction, and local air quality improvement.

Permeable and Impermeable Surface Mapping

Another LiDAR-derived data suite, developed during ACT and SA state government projects, maps the ground surface permeability across the urban landscape.

Image 3: From left to right: RGB imagery, classification of visible ground, full semantic classification

In simple terms, the surface permeability reports identify whether water can flow freely through the ground covering. Ground surface type and distribution in the urban environment is a strong indicator of an area’s livability, sustainability, and resilience to the ongoing impact of climate change. Surface types directly affect heat buildup, water flow and runoff, and options for reaching greening targets.

Permeable and impermeable surface classification combines with the tree canopy mapping to show the existing urban forest and the potential spaces to expand. Aerometrex generates the data from large scale LiDAR captures, making it scalable across individual suburbs or entire cities.

Learn More

Contact Aerometrex to learn more about their services

Phone 08 8362 9911

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