Never letting grass grow under their feet, landscape architects, contractors and lawn service companies are continually seeking out technological advances to improve their painstakingly detailed design processes. Those improvements range from the latest release of design software to the most advanced laser measuring tools.
Among those tech tools—more readily accessible to the landscape design industry— is high-resolution aerial imagery, commonly known as aerial maps. This new approach extends beyond grainy, outdated satellite images, providing landscape architects and contractors with instant access to pristine, current views from all angles of properties – directly from their desktop or tablet.
By tapping into those crystal clear aerial captures, architects can reduce travel time and costly site visits, quickly estimate projects more accurately, observe historical data including leaf-off imagery, and measure more precisely in mere seconds.
Prune down costly site visits
Traveling to and from potential construction sites to walk the property, take measurements and note obstacles can become costly especially when you are in the initial proposal phase of a project. It’s more cost-effective to asses current conditions using aerial maps online.
With high-resolution imagery boasting the clarity of three pixels per inch, landscape architects are now able to effectively and accurately view the entire piece of property from the convenience of their office. Users can pinpoint locations such as sewer lines and utility holes, determine the native vegetation, measure the height of trees, calculate square footage, and even identify possible flooding patterns, all without spending hours traveling to and meticulously measuring the location.
Edge out competition with quicker quotes
When it comes to creating and submitting landscape estimates, sometimes it’s necessary to embrace the adage “If you’re not first, you’re last.” In this highly competitive industry, landscape contractors are often under the gun to quickly turn accurate, aggressively priced proposals.
Using crystal-clear aerial images of a residential or large city park project, architects can not only quickly assess the scope of work, but they can also beautifully illustrate those proposals by incorporating images either directly into their proposals or through GIS mapping tools, proving they have a leg up on the competition. And, because landscape architects can construct project bids quicker, the number of bids they are able to submit and win increases as well.
Dig up historical imagery with ease
Unlike satellite imagery, which is anywhere from one to three years old, high-resolution aerial imagery is captured at least twice a year. This means locations are photographed in different seasons — leaf-off and leaf-on — allowing architects to view changes to a property or swath of land over time.
A particular park revitalization project, for example, can be studied over the previous three years with aerial photography indicating everything from trees that may be in need of extra care to areas of the lawn that may need extra watering. Capturing leaf-on shadows can affect the placement of flower beds that might require more direct sunlight versus a gazebo which could benefit from some additional shading.
Harvest precise measurements in seconds
One of the most difficult aspects of satellite imagery is trying to determine between hard and softscapes on a project. Yes, green grass is pretty easily identifiable, but it becomes more difficult to discern between the top of a shingled gazebo and a round trampoline on a residential project. Extracting accurate measurements for a property, while not exactly knowing whether that circle is a permanent structure or a moveable object can be frustrating.
With 2.8-inch GSD aerial imagery, architects can not only determine the difference between those backyard amenities, they can easily measure the entire terrain, excluding what is permanent, all with exceptional precision. Surface materials, too, can be accurately identified, allowing architects to measure exactly how many square feet of gravel and bark currently exist on a site. Even species of plants or trees can be discerned using these high-resolution captures.
At the grass root of landscape design, when it comes to saving precious time and work hours onsite, meeting and exceeding demands for quality bids, capturing historical growth patterns, and accurately measuring with speed, it’s time for landscape architects and contractors to add high-resolution aerial imagery to their technology tool belt.