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.

Baseline Survey and Data Analysis

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

* Thematic mapping: we produce clear habitat and species maps in GIS, complementing field data with aerial photography, remote sensing and topographic mapping for accuracy.

– 3d visualisation, remote sensing and hydrological analysis: used to correlate habitat distribution with other environmental factors (vegetation condition, altitude, gradient, watersheds) ensuring accuracy.

  • Desk-based studies: working with protected species records and designated sites data our team can assess potential ecology issues, directing our field survey efforts and informing our recommendations.
  • 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 over a survey season / across different parts of the development site.
  • Vantage point bird surveys and collision risk analysis: we carry out sophisticated viewshed 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, providing a precise basis for collision risk analysis.

Consultancy Services

Examples of BSG Ecology’s spatial analysis services include:

  • Assessment of large-scale infrastructure projects on Europe-wide networks of protected sites: use of spatial database management systems to work with large datasets and carry out high-level quantitative assessment of thousands of potential impacts on protected sites
  • Production of European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licenses: accurate calculation of habitat areas impacted by development to inform licence applications and determine mitigation requirements.
  • Preparation of Ecological Constraints and Opportunities Plans (ECOPs): creation of multi-disciplinary highlighting constraints, and opportunities to inform scheme design and layout.
  • Biodiversity Impact Assessment and Offsetting, Natural Capital Assessment, BREEAM, and Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH): precise baseline mapping combined with remote sensing enables accurate calculation of habitat areas and conditions on a site. Outputs feed into the various biodiversity impact / natural capital assessment calculators, providing local planning authorities with a firm evidence base for proposed offsetting and maximise efficiency
  • Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRA): use of spatial analysis to identify site sensitivities and impact mechanisms, including assessing the extent and significance of predicted pollutant exceedances, calculating visitor catchment areas, and assessing development proximity to sites of ecological importance.