Laser data from the Environment Agency is to be used to pinpoint land suitable for growing high quality grapes
Data released by the Environment Agency is to be used by the wine industry to identify land suitable for vineyards.
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), vineyard owners are planning to use recently released LiDAR (light detection and ranging) maps to pinpoint variations in the slopes and aspects of their land to find the best places to plant vines.
Defra has highlighted the initiative as a practical example of what can be done with the data it is releasing for re-use.
It said that industry experts believe 75,000 acres of land across the country could be exploited by using the data.
Sir Philip Dilley, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “This data can give unique information about a landscape that can be useful for all kinds of applications. For example, when deciding where best to plant vines, the data can provide a vital insight into the terrain to identify ‘frost hollows’ and badly drained areas that adversely affect vines.
“Making our LiDAR surveys available as open data gives entrepreneurs, businesses, and local communities new opportunities to grow our thriving rural economy.”
The LiDAR archive, which contains 11Tb of information and covers most of England, was originally used by the Environment Agency to plan flood defences and analyse land use. It was released last month under the #OpenDefra project, which will see 8,000 datasets made available for re-use in the next year.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “By opening up our extensive data vaults we will further grow this important industry. LiDAR is just the beginning of the biggest government data giveaway the country has ever seen, giving the industry the tools it needs to grow.
“Our goal is for English wine producers to have more knowledge than ever before so they can identify the best land, methods and time of the year to plant and grow and to make sure this industry continues to be a world leader.”
Image from GOV.UK under Open Government Licence v3.0