Multi-spectral imagery from Bluesky International is helping developers contribute to government targets to protect and conserve wildlife habitats in the UK. Using the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, in combination with Bluesky’s four band aerial photography, technology company Gentian has created computerised workflows that recognise and separate different habitat types remotely and autonomously in a bid to quickly identify and protect them on sites earmarked for development.
Using Bluesky’s data, Gentian’s automated habitat classification provides evidence to demonstrate compliance with biodiversity net gain (BNG) regulations, which will be a legal requirement for developers from November 2023. Gentian’s technology has already been used to map more than 150 million square metres of habitat in the last 12 months.
“Biodiversity net gain is a planning process that ensures all new developments across England deliver 10 per cent net gain – firstly on site and, where that is not possible, off site. The aim is to ensure habitats for wildlife are positively created in new developments, both in rural and construction projects”, explains Dusty Gedge, Founder of Gentian and President of the European Federation of Green Roof Associations.
Alex Back, Lead Technologist at Gentian, adds: “By applying deep learning to the Bluesky multi-spectral imagery, we can provide an automated ecological assessment of the site from the desktop offering a significant reduction in risk, costs and time compared to a manual survey.”
He continues: “Working alongside a developer, we evaluated a number of sites that had previously been the subject of a traditional Phase 1 Habitat Survey. Using our technology in combination with the Bluesky data, we achieved an extremely close match with ground truth results. This represents a significant breakthrough and means it is possible to get an accurate assessment of habitat types across an area in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.”