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Aerial maps used to monitor peatland restoration on Balmoral Estate

restored weir
3D map peatland
“Traditional models created from stereo aerial photography do not offer the level of detail and accuracy required for these types of landscape, so to support the fine-scale hydrological modelling we have planned we turned to Bluesky and their high-resolution LiDAR”

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute are deploying aerial mapping technology to collect data on the natural restoration of peatland at the Queen’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland. A survey aircraft equipped with advanced laser scanners is being used to create highly detailed 3D models of upland peatland, with the aim of monitoring changes in hydrological and waterflow dynamics resulting from the restoration work.

The Balmoral site is currently undergoing restoration by the Cairngorms Park Authority and NatureScot: Peatland Action as part of the Scottish Governments £250 million peatland restoration programme. The Institute has been monitoring carbon fluxes at the site, which has been highly eroded, for several years.

Gillian Donaldson-Selby, a landscape visualiser at the James Hutton Institute said: “Water catchments in peatland areas are notoriously difficult to determine as the terrain is, surprisingly, so flat!”

The data has been supplied by aerial mapping company Bluesky. Captured during a single flight an aircraft mounted LiDAR (Light Imaging Detection and Ranging) sensor recorded 25 points per metre across the site, recording both the bare earth and surface features to an accuracy of 12 centimetres.

Gillian said: “Traditional models created from stereo aerial photography do not offer the level of detail and accuracy required for these types of landscape, so to support the fine-scale hydrological modelling we have planned we turned to Bluesky and their high-resolution LiDAR.”

The aerial data captured will be used alongside other information collected, including measurements from hydrological and meteorological field equipment, to be processed using a combination of Global Mapper GIS (Geographical Information System) and an integrated ground and surface water modelling product - MIKE SHE.

The outcomes of the data collected will also be used to identify areas of vegetation and bare peat. The Cairngorms Park Authority, who lead the restoration project, hope to use the data captured to monitor and map progress and in the long term assess the efficiency of work to date.

Press and media enquiries: 

Adam Walker, Communications Officer, James Hutton Institute, Tel: 01224 395095 (direct line), 0344 928 5428 (switchboard).


Printed from /news/aerial-maps-used-monitor-peatland-restoration-balmoral-estate on 21/10/21 02:08:55 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.