Customising for today’s city management
The world is changing and becoming increasingly complex. Cities face great challenges as most of world's population lives in urban areas, and city management is becoming more demanding. In light of new challenges, municipalities and local governments are looking for efficient management solutions to provide detailed information, data and analysis for effective city management.
Envirosense Hungary Ltd. is a remote sensing specialist that emphasises on the process of aerial sensed inputs. Understanding city management needs, the firm offers varied advanced products for surveys that are impossible to be conducted by traditional on-field surveys or need large resource inputs. Focusing on aerial hyperspectral imagery, airborne laser scanning (LiDAR), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications and aerial digital imagery, Envirosense Hungary Ltd provides personalised solutions that fulfil the customer needs.
The company’s goal is to provide local governments with smart products adapted to their needs. Most local governments don’t have an in-house team of remote sensing experts or geographic information system (GIS) experts who can process data or develop methods to tackle specific challenges.
“In many cases, the problems exist but the link with airborne technology is not made or the technical solution has not been developed yet. We aim to be innovative; we develop user-ready products and solutions and deliver them to local governments,” said Peter Enyedi, manager of the LiDAR division at Envirosense Hungary Ltd.
Using the latest LiDAR technology
“Our products have to achieve high accuracy, high resolution, and conform to the latest standards in the photogrammetry and LiDAR market,” said Gregory Lucas, manager of the photogrammetry division at Envirosense Hungary Ltd.
Envirosense uses Leica Geosystems ALS technology combined with the Leica RCD30 medium format RGBN camera for the aerial surveys and the Leica Viva CS15 field controller for ground surveys. Based on this technology, Envirosense responds to customer needs with custom-made solutions.
“Some of the products consider trees and vegetation so a four-channel camera was a need. Radiometry and light sampling is important for the segmentation issues. We are also working intensively with LiDAR-hyperspectral data fusion. The choice of a photogrammetry and LiDAR system is fundamental for our projects,” said Enyedi.
“We have used the Leica Geosystems airborne dual sensor and camera for all the airborne missions requiring LiDAR or imagery since 2012,” said Enyedi. “It’s the high quality, cost efficiency and performance of the LiDAR system that make us a committed Leica Geosystems customer all these years.”
Introducing airborne technology
Envirosense uses Geosystems’ sensors in a variety of applications to effectively support local governments in city management, such as:
- Terrain models for water authorities
- Flood modelling
- Vegetation mapping
- Land use classification
- Agricultural applications
- Forestry (invasive species mapping, biomass estimation)
- Nature conservation
- Urban planning
- Vinery application
Instead of just generating basic datasets, Envirosense extracts the information and offers it to its clients. The company gave a presentation during the 2018 Airborne User Group Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, based on a research the team did to classify urban objects and surface types based on LiDAR point cloud and aerial multi- or hyperspectral imagery. With object-based feature extraction methods, a series of products can be generated from urban surface types to tree cadastre. This offers the basis of decision making and further analysis.
In addition, it opens the way to detailed and varied database-maintenance, allowing inventories and cadastres tasks. The data can be integrated with aerial hyperspectral data, satellite data and data collected by UAV platforms.
The data is used for detailed building modelling and structural change detection. Cities can check whether construction permits were issued, and insurance companies can assess values of the houses.
There is a wide use of the data for forestry mapping management. The trees can be identified, and the tree health can be detected to avoid the spread of diseases. Damages from falling trees are the city’s responsibility. This technology allows local governments to ensure that all the trees are in good condition.
In addition, roof objects, such as climate units on houses, can be detected to define insurance values of the house. Solar potential of the city can also be identified; LiDAR technology helps local governments define the areas that are best for installation of units and calculate how much of the power can be economised.
“The multitude of objects we extract and map reflects the quality of the data acquired by the aerial system and the advancement of our methods for mapping and classification,” said Enyedi.
Among the features Envirosense can extract are:
- Roof types
- The type of surface cover (streets)
- Road signs
- Solar panel elements
- Potential places for placing solar panel elements
- Objects on the ground
- Features in cemetery
- Trees and vegetation
- Surface water networks
- Power lines
Making it personal
Envirosense's strategy is to develop custom-made products for clients who are not experts in remote sensing and GIS fields, but their needs require aerial remote sensing technology.
“It is the direction where we see the biggest potential for development; the opportunities are unlimited,” said Enyedi.
Envirosense recently created Open Street View, a new solution for its orthoimagery product line. The solution allows local governments to identify ground-located objects, useful for any organisation’s inventory tasks. Envirosense uses the same airborne survey equipment, but the planning and processing is adapted to the project’s specific needs.
LiDAR solutions and imagery technology in combination offer incredible and flexible capacities for mapping and classification.
“We expect to extend our offerings for city management purposes in the future,” said Lucas. “We will continue working with Geosystems' airborne solutions and cameras as they offer the maximum efficiency for this type of projects.”