Automated processes using machine learning can identify assets and understand the surrounding environment using multi-scale aerial imagery from satellites and drones.

Ramboll has created a digital tool that enables landowners to utilise multiscale imagery to monitor their environmental assets more often and more cost-effectively. This in turn supports strategic decision-making, such as the prioritisation of improvement works, as well as the creation and monitoring of key environmental metrics – no matter how large, small or complex the estate.

How the tool works

Reliable asset location and environmental data is the cornerstone of a digitally enabled network that is resilient and operates in harmony with the surrounding environment. Ramboll has therefore developed automated processes using machine learning that can identify assets and understand the surrounding environment using multi-scale aerial imagery from satellites and drones. This data and analysis is readily and easily accessible to those responsible for managing the estate, who can see the data through a user-friendly interface and use this for more informed and impactful decision-making.

Environment, Sustainability and Waste Reduction Award

Intelligent environmental estate wins award at Highways UK Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge

From feasibility to prototype

In 2019 Highways England and Innovate UK launched an innovation competition with £20m of funding. Ramboll were delighted to secure funding to assess the feasibility of the application of digital technologies to capture and automate the detection of environmental improvement sites. In 2020 we secured additional funding to continue its development and build a working prototype for testing.  

The prototype has now been developed which enables habitat identification using satellite data, as well as identification of objects on the Highways England network using drive by imagery.

Bram Miller

Technical Director, Strategic Sustainability Consulting

M: +44 7436 545 408

Emma Jones

Managing Consultant

T: +44 7921 058390

Martin Broderick

Senior Consultant

M: +44 7773 950 804

Ramboll’s approach 

Ramboll brought together our digital design experts, environmental scientists and consultants who have been working with Highways England on their environmental and sustainability performance for over a decade, to ensure we developed a robust platform that enables decision-making and action. 

Our vision is to develop a system that supports scenario planning and strategic decision making by prioritising improvement sites and reporting network wide sustainability and biodiversity metrics. We hope this will enable organisations of all types and sizes to more affordable monitor their sites and take action where needed in order to maintain a healthy environmental estate that contributes to creating a sustainable society and climate resilient future. 

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