26th September 2018Blog

Avoiding the Hosepipe Ban – using geospatial data to monitor water resources

It’s official, 2018 matched the summer of 1976, 2003 and 2006 as the hottest on record. The bright blue skies, scorching temperatures and minimal rainfall replaced the lush green cricket fields with huge, brown, dry patches of grass.

However, these clear skies have provided Earth-i with the perfect conditions to capture optical Earth Observation imagery of the UK. With this influx of data, our Earth Observation experts were able to clearly see the differences in areas where vegetation was either stressed or thriving.

By using 80cm, very high resolution satellite imagery to perform a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) analysis, we were able to monitor wide areas of land to assess vegetation health. The NDVI exploits differences in the spectral reflectance of the red and near-infrared wavelengths, allowing our analysts to generate an image which highlights areas of increased vegetation vigour.

The combination of the hot, dry weather and NDVI analyses has enabled us to provide water companies with an innovative solution to tackle their pipeline leakage problem. The process involved a number of automated data preparation techniques, followed by an NDVI analysis and a map of the water pipeline network was then overlaid. This enabled us to identify areas of healthy vegetation which, during a time of drought, could indicate where pipelines are leaking.

To understand what is happening at a per field level, we used the very high resolution satellite data to ‘zoom-in’ to see what individual areas look like in close detail. This is particularly useful in the urban areas where the pipeline networks are highly concentrated.
This data provides a multitude of uses to water companies beyond the detection of network leaks. Such benefits include monitoring land use changes, supporting planning applications, as well as determining reservoir levels.

Our latest e-Guide outlines the benefits of using geospatial data to map wide areas to support the economic and social wellbeing of nations.

If you’d like to discuss our pipeline leakage detection project or would like further information about wide area mapping, please contact enquiries@earthi.co.uk.