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New aerial imagery being created for Scotland

BlueSky, a UK based company is creating and selling new aerial imagery of large areas of Scotland which forms part of a project to capture the first ever detailed aerial photo-map of the country. The new 25cm resolution aerial imagery was captured during 2004 and is part of an ongoing contract between Ordnance Survey and Getmapping to produce imagery for Ordnance Survey’s Imagery Layer. Bluesky is working with Getmapping to support the creation of the new photography.

The new imagery includes many areas that have never been photographed in high resolution colour before and amounts to 16,000 square kilometres extending from John O’Groats in the north to Stranraer in the South West including areas in Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness-shire, Moray, Wigtonshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.

Capturing aerial photography in Scotland is fraught with difficulty due to its position on the North West edge of Europe; the length of the flying season is dictated by low sun angles whilst the vagaries of the Scottish weather are well known.

Whilst Getmapping was able to capture most of lowland Scotland during the dryer summers of 2000 and 2001, the weather in 2003 and 2004 proved far more difficult. During the summer months, aircraft are kept on station to take advantage of weather windows as they appear. New inertial navigation systems employed in the aircraft deliver more accurate positioning for post processing.