Exeter launches tree maintenance trial based on satellite data

Exeter City Council has launched a pilot scheme to more efficiently carry out routine inspections on the move and allow residents to report fallen or damaged trees for a faster, more efficient maintenance service.

Applications of space. Credit: Satellite Applications Catapult.The council secured £38,000 from the UK Space Agency's Space for Smarter Government national programme to help develop a system that will allow tree officers to pinpoint and report the exact location and details of fallen or damaged trees using satellite data.

The programme, delivered in collaboration with the Satellite Applications Catapult, aims to educate and drive take-up of space-related products and services across government, to dispel the myths that they are costly and complex and to make government more efficient.

Officers at Exeter are trialling five hand-held devices to identify the location of its 8,000 trees and input relevant information onto the system using satellite positioning, navigation and timing technology able to pick up trees on a digital map.

If the scheme proves successful it could be expanded further so that members of the public can use it on their smartphone or mobile device.

Usually, the process is of maintenance is more time consuming. Tree officers must use traditional mapping to locate a tree and the information is fed into an iPad while on location, then transferred to a database once back in the office.

Cllr Ollie Pearson, Lead Councillor for Enabling Services, said in a statement: "It's a privilege to be at the cutting edge of new technology and trialling an application that will not only save time and money for the Council but will also hopefully enable residents to be able to report trees when they come down or are damaged."

According to GOV.UK, the UK is a world leader in space services and technologies with the Government and the space industry aiming to grow the sector to a £40 billion turnover per year by 2030.

The pilot runs until the end of March.

 

Space for Smarter Government and the Local Digital campaign are jointly hosting an event 'Making efficiencies using satellites - it's not rocket science' on 13 March.
Register here for free.