Aerial mapping company Bluesky International has been awarded a contract by Natural Resources Wales, on behalf of Welsh Government, to capture a high-resolution laser mapped aerial survey of the whole of Wales.

Working alongside Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government, Bluesky will capture the data at a resolution of 2 points per meter before processing and delivering LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data for more than 20,000 square kilometers of rural and urban landscapes.

The Bluesky LiDAR data will be employed in a range of policy areas including flood modelling, forestry management, coastline monitoring, urban planning and archaeological conservation.

In addition to use internally by Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, the LiDAR data will also be made publicly available in due course, via Welsh Government’s Lle Geo-Portal website and Bluesky’s Mapshop.

LiDAR data has been acquired over Wales at various points in time from the 1990s onwards. However, the patchwork of data that exists is inconsistent in terms of capture technology, coverage and resolution, and many of the high altitude, mountainous areas have not been captured at all, resulting in key habitats and ecosystems remaining unmapped.

Bluesky was awarded the National LiDAR for Wales Contract following a formal tender process with responses evaluated on technical ability as well as price. All tenders were required to provide a detailed methodology of how they would complete the project to the published specification.