BSG Ecology offers a comprehensive suite of spatial analysis and mapping services that complement our ecology and arboricultural services. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are central to BSG Ecology’s spatial analysis methods and provide a quantitative base for our interpretations, reporting and advice.

Technical capability

Our GIS team routinely uses Esri ArcGIS, the industry standard GIS package, and open source platforms such as QGIS. GRASS GIS, the R analysis environment, and the PostGIS spatial relational database management system are used for more complex queries. The GIS team has also established mapping templates for common outputs (such as Phase 1 habitat survey) to guarantee clear, consistent and well-presented figures.

BSG’s spatial data outputs are validated to the INSPIRE metadata standard and will integrate with the client’s own GIS or CAD systems. Our maps conform to the BS 42020 requirements and undergo a rigorous peer review process.

Examples of typical applications of GIS with regard to the collection and analysis of field data include:

Biodiversity Impact Assessment

Biodiversity Offsetting and Net Gain

Precise baseline mapping combined with remote sensing enables accurate calculation of habitat areas/conditions, informing different offsetting scenarios and the selection of the most effective solution for our clients’ Net Gain requirements. Our automated processes allow us to evaluate the impact of different development scenarios and potential cost implications for the client at a project’s outset.

constraints

Ecological Constraints and Opportunities mapping

We create plans early in a project’s life cycle highlighting potential ecological constraints and opportunities, and the extent to which these may influence and/or constrain development. We help integrate these into the client’s own site layout plans and detail appropriate habitat protection, restoration and creation measures to ensure compliance with relevant planning policy and legislation.

Infrastructure Spatial Analysis

Large-scale infrastructure project assessment

Our use of spatial database management systems allows us to work with large datasets and carry out high-level assessment of thousands of potential impacts on Europe-wide networks of protected sites, quantifying environmental and social sensitivities for decision makers and the public, and allowing costs to be internalised at an early stage.

Vantage point bird surveys and collision risk analysis GIS

Vantage point bird surveys and collision risk analysis

We carry out sophisticated terrain modelling and visibility analysis based on LiDAR and other topographic data to inform our vantage point survey locations. For wind farm developments all bird flights are entered into a spatial database, ensuring comprehensive surveyor coverage and providing a robust quantitative basis for collision risk analysis.

bats

Baseline bat surveys

Results of transect surveys are digitally recorded in the field and visualised to indicate areas of bat activity. Preliminary analysis of remote survey data is conducted in GIS to display levels of bat activity by species over a survey season and across different parts of the development site.