I was asked to survey the ‘site and soil types’ over an extensive area of former opencast working following its ‘restoration’. (Surface Coal Mining) A basic tool for almost any field survey is a good aerial image at a workable resolution and one that can also be used in GIS applications. In this instance the most recent image was almost 5 years old and showed the actual workings when the site was abandoned. No images were available of its present structure and this made surveying/mapping very difficult and inaccurate.
Using a drone was a possibility but would be expensive and not give easily usable images. On approaching Geocento I was informed that a satellite passed over the country every day and depending on the weather/cloud would give me the required image and at a selection of resolutions. A sample was provided and I selected a resolution and image area. This covered an area of 125km2 and could be zoomed to at least 1-7000.
The aerial image in effect was only 2 days old and provided the best mapping tool possible and at a price of only £100 plus vat.
Looking at the wider Forestry picture this would be an ideal tool/source for all survey work e.g. recent storm damage, areas of clear fell, crop health surveys etc. A forest is a dynamic, growing and ever changing environment and images of even one year old often do not clearly illustrate routes for crop access, etc.