Bath & North East Somerset become first UK Council to adopt XCAM 3D Model

Bath & North East Somerset become first UK Council to adopt XCAM 3D Model

Bath and North East Somerset Council have become the first Local Authority in the UK to receive a 3D model captured using XCAM.

It is the highest resolution aerial survey of the Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site ever captured. With uses in planning, urban design, sustainable transport and tourism, Bath aim to use the data to give residents a better services and visitors a better experience when visiting the city.

Bath is a city that prides itself on its high quality of living, its heritage, it’s architecture and its progressive attitude to sustainable transport…. (oh and rugby). This pride extends to the approach that the GIS team at B&NES Council take to use spatial technology to make a better place to live and work. They were one of the first Councils to adopt a fully cloud-based GIS system, capture regular street-level photographic surveys and now to commission XCAM 3D surveys. All this allows better decision making using reliable and up-to-date information, something that’s essential in a constantly changing urban environment.

The aerial survey crew carried out the XCAM survey of Bath from Kemble Airfield

The data was commissioned in early January and required a Winter leaf-off survey to show as much detail as possible. Winter survey obviously presents its own challenges; wind, rain, cloud, you name it! After a few weeks or weather watching the survey crew were able to find a gap in the weather carry out the survey. It was captured in late March, so technically a Spring survey, but still before leaves started to appear. It was immediately processed using Skyline Photomesh, quality checked and delivered to the overly excitable GIS team within 3 weeks of the survey. This turnaround from the date of order to the date of delivery is practically unheard of in the aerial survey industry due to the time traditional airborne survey takes. New ground is certainly being broken here and signals a revolution in the way mapping is ordered and delivered.

The data was delivered in a range different formats to ensure the best possible integration into the Council’s current workflows. Not only was the XCAM 3D model delivered in Skyline TerraExplorer, but also a 4.5cm GSD ultra-high resolution true-orthophoto, a Surface Height Model and a set of oblique images which fit directly into their XMAP Cloud GIS. The data is fully-georeferenced to align with OS MasterMap and other national mapping datasets making it ready to use as soon as it is delivered.

True-ortho from XCAM survey overlaid with OS MasterMap Topo Layer

This new survey has many benefits for the Council. The most obvious one being that all departments can now refer to this brand-new imagery dataset instead of their last flown aerial survey. Big changes such as a new housing development are important to capture as soon as possible so that staff have an accurate view of the new environment. This reduces uncertainty and increases their ability to make sound, informed decisions.

Another benefit is the increase in capabilities and tools staff now have using the 3D aspects of the data. Accurate view-shed analysis take just two clicks with the results immediately displayed in an intuitive visible/not-visible colour shade. Planning teams get weak at the knees with this at their fingertips! Calculating the amount of light and shade is also now possible for any period of time in very high detail, great for assessing the effect new buildings would have on other buildings and recreational spaces. Other popular tools include the vertical height tool and the 3D area measurement, perfect for getting quick answers for tree heights and building volumes.

It’s expected that many other new and innovative uses come out from daily use of the data, certainly around flooding and resilience, but it’s already proving to be an essential dataset for any Town or City.

GeoXphere are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for XCAM 3D surveys with a guaranteed 2017 capture and delivery (unless you’re reading this in 2018). They’re cheaper than you think and will stop you from talking about Smart Cities, to being one!


XCAM 3D Surveys are provided by GeoXphere and include data delivery and an on-site visit by one of our geospatial experts to help you get the most out of the data.

The surveys are captured using the revolutionary XCAM aerial survey pod. These are operated by Skeye BV in the UK in partnership with GeoXphere. The data is processed using Skyline Photomesh, a fast and highly accurate 3D processing engine that creates stunning 3D worlds.