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


By Mark Braggins

Walking, usually with my two ex-racing greyhounds. Interested in lots of stuff. Work: Business Development and Research at Drawnalism