Hampshire publishes Aerial Photography as open data (finally!)

In my previous post about aerial photography, I explained that our aerial photography provider, Blom Aerofilm, flew the whole of Hampshire over the Summer of 2013 and captured high resolution imagery and data.

Last time, I said that the Hampshire Hub Partnership intends to share a re-sampled version of the imagery and data as open data. We had hoped it would be available in time for Christmas. You may have noticed that hasn’t happened – yet.

Processing was completed before the end of the year, but close inspection by Blom during post-production checks identified some problems with quality, and processing was started again from the beginning.

Sorry for the delay

Aerial Photo of Lymington

Aerial Photo of Lymington

The bottom-line is that it took longer than we’d expected and, whilst the top quality imagery and data was released to Hampshire Hub local authority partners in time for Christmas, the open data version wasn’t produced until 2014.

Came in handy

Fortunately, high resolution imagery was available when Hampshire was hit by flooding a couple of months ago, and it came in very handy. In the words of a colleague from New Forest District Council:

the new imagery played an important role in the recent storm that hit Lymington and Keyhaven.The emergency control rom became aware that a substation in Lymington was under threat of flooding and it would need to be sandbagged – but they weren’t too sure of its exact location.

The substation didn’t appear on either the OS base maps or the 2005 imagery, so the new images were the only means to locate it and be able to calculate the number of sandbags that would need to be dispatched…

Opendata now available

I’m really pleased to say that Hampshire’s aerial open data is now available to download. All the imagery, height and near infrared data is available under the Open Government Licence (OGL), which basically means you can do what you like with it, including using it to make money.

For the time being, we’re just making it available to download via Hampshire County Council’s FTP site. We haven’t yet updated our open data pages (or linked to it from data.gov.uk), but will do shortly. We also haven’t yet attempted to ‘present’ it in any way e.g. on a map. It’s on our to-do list, but we haven’t had time to produce it yet.

How do I get hold of the data?

I’m glad you asked. Basically, before you begin, you’ll need an FTP client and the following credentials:

Host www.hants.gov.uk
User Name anonymous
Password leave empty
Port leave empty

If you don’t have an FTP client, you can point your browser at our data by typing the following in on your browser window: ftp://www.hants.gov.uk

Having entered the credentials above, hopefully you’ll then see a folder structure, and all our aerial photography and height data is within a folder called ‘Hampshire’.

We do intend to make data available in different ways, and will of course be including it in the new Hampshire Hub data store (just not yet), but hopefully this basic access will be of some use in the short term

Just in time for BlueLightCamp

01-ukBlc14-Poster_print_quality-1We’ve been intending to publish for a while, but it started getting really urgent, as there’s an open data hack this weekend as part of BlueLightCamp, which we’re proud to be associated with.

If you haven’t heard of BlueLightCamp before, it’s an annual event for people who work in – or who are interested in – emergency services. It’s a great occasion*, with lots of people who are passionate about public services getting together to do their bit to help make the world a better place.

There’s a networking event on Saturday (called an ‘unconference’), and the hack (‘Hackathon’) is on Sunday. There’s lots of information about it over on the BlueLightCamp web site.

As I write this, there are still a few places available, and you can register here.

What can you create with our data?

We really hope you find our open data useful, and we’d love to hear from you if you’re using it to create something of your own. Please leave a comment at the end of this post, or use the contact form,  send us a tweet  or use any other method you fancy.


That’s it for this post. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

  • I confess, I’m biased, as I’m one of the organisers

 Picture credit

BlueLightCamp Flyer thanks to Matt Buck of Drawnalism


About Mark Braggins

I’m interested in lots of things, in no particular order: society, politics, public services, open data, technology (and what you can do with it), wildlife, photography, the countryside, and long distance walking.
This entry was posted in Data, Environment, Flood, Maps, Open Data, Rivers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Hampshire publishes Aerial Photography as open data (finally!)

  1. Sven Latham says:

    Great news and a fantastic resource, thank you!

  2. intriguingnw says:

    Quick question, are there any notes or info on the grid references, downloaded 100gb overnight but just a few random samples the RGB’s with Gridrefs, some seem incomplete in terms of coverage of area? Will test some more samples but wondered whether there are any notes how the images relate to the grid refs, i.e. are they complete images of that grid ref or an approximation? Many thanks and very pleased to have the images of course. we are using for culture and heritage references so need an idea of whether this will work for us correlating grids to long,lats for a data mashup?

    • Oliver Russell says:

      Hi – some of the tiles around the edge may appear to be incomplete, this will be because the images have been clipped to the extent of our project area which was Hampshire and New Forest National Park plus 2 Kilometres.

      I have added the flight index for the 2013 aerial photography to the ftp site so you can downloaded the extent of the tiles and also see the date the image was taken. Hope you find this useful.

      • intriguingnw says:

        Hi Oliver, thanks for the update on the Flight Index, the samples we were looking at were definitely within Hampshire Postcodes and Boundaries and were for the same Grid Ref as the image was named by. we will test some more later this week. Thanks for your response.
        Regards Amanda Moore Hampshire History Project.

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  5. Wow, fantastic images and great to hear how they’ve already been used around the flooding in the area. Looking forward to learning more about it!

    – Dyfrig

    • markbraggins says:

      Hi Dyfrig, thanks very much. Yes, we’re quite excited about this, and there were some interesting uses at the weekend for BlueLightCamp #ukblc14. Hope to shortly be able to share some examples of creative uses of the data by others.

  6. Ian Dee says:

    Hi Mark,

    Is it possible to get the data on DVD? Also, any plans to release 4-band versions of the imagery so us geeks can really get stuck in!?



    • markbraggins says:

      Hi Ian,
      It should be possible to put a copy of the data on a DVD for you (will confirm that separately).
      We don’t have any plans to release 4-band versions of the imagery, sorry, though I can follow-up with our supplier, Blom Aerofilms if you wish?
      Thanks, Mark

      • Ian Dee says:

        Thanks for the swift reply Mark. A DVD would be excellent, so look forward to hearing from you regards that. As for the 4-band, I need literally 1 or 2sqkm over a town centre location for a MSc dissertation project – if you could speak to the guys at Blom that’d be great.



  7. James B says:

    Hi Mark, and thanks for the amazingly useful data that you’ve made available. I’m interested in mapping a small area of the New Forest. I’ve worked out how the file naming works regarding how the images tile, but I’m having trouble correlating it with the height data files.
    Can you provide some advice please? Or perhaps aim me in the direction of some software that correlates them automatically? Thanks again.

    • markbraggins says:

      Hi James,
      Thanks for leaving a comment – it’s great to year you’re finding the data useful. We do intend to also intend to share through our new data store which will be ready in the next couple of months, making the data easier to work with. I’ll have a chat with colleagues tomorrow and see what we can do to help in the meantime. Thanks, Mark

  8. Fervil says:

    This aerial photo of Lymington is really amazing! At first i thought that it’s a map of Lymington but its really an aerial photo. This means that aerial photo when applied to aerial mapping can create a better quality of map. What’s more interesting is, aerial photography when converted to aerial mapping is now made easy that will help us to create and help other people for research, educational purposes and any legal actions. Cheers to this photo!

    • markbraggins says:

      Hi Fervil. Thanks for commenting. Yes, it’s a nice, crisp image of Lymington. Glad you like it!