Latest news from Loughborough University

7 May 2015

HPC Midlands turns geo-data challenge into environmental planning tool

Big datasets of aerial photography and LiDAR imaging are rapidly processed with HPC Images © Bluesky International Limited

In partnership with HPC Midlands and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany), aerial mapping company Bluesky is exploring the power of supercomputers to process and deliver 3D images for a range of environmental applications.

The collaboration has already succeeded in devising workflows to create region-wide sun-shadow maps – invaluable tools when investigating the optimum location for solar panel installations.

Producing these maps requires the processing of huge datasets, hence the need for supercomputers – as James Earl-Fraser, Business Development Associate at HPC Midlands explains:

“New sensors such as those employed by Bluesky and the analysis techniques devised by KIT are generating larger volumes of data than ever before. In order to derive value, there is a growing need for automatic and efficient processing such as that offered by high performance computers.”

Following the success of the sun-shadow map project, Bluesky is exploring the use of high performance computers to scale up existing workflows to help create and maintain other key datasets such as the National Tree Map, air pollution models and thermal heat loss surveys.

HPC Midlands – based on Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks – is an EPSRC Regional Centre of Excellence for High Performance Computing.

The Centre offers pay-as-you-go cloud access to Hera – a 3,008 core supercomputer – as well as unlimited technical support and a network of local experts in software development, computer-aided design, product prototyping, and research analysis.

Hera provides rapid results on small or large scale computational problems and supports ambitious modelling and simulation activities.

Funding opportunities are available to support projects with the Centre, and HPC Midland’s clients include universities, research organisations and private industry across the country which are now achieving market opportunities faster and cheaper than ever before.

If you would like to find out more about how the power of high performance computing could help to drive your business forward, register to attend the HPC Midlands Industry Breakfast on Tuesday 16 June.

Notes for editors

Article reference number: 15/77

Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including an UltraCam Eagle and an Orion M300 LiDAR system.  An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.

Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going update programme.  By purchasing a World first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions.

Bluesky is also leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. 

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.


Contact for all media enquiries

James Earl-Fraser

Business Development Associate

+44 (0)1509 223674