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Services

Geographical Information Systems

Our Geographical Information System team provide mapping and data analysis support for development and planning projects.

We have extensive experience across the industry sectors and we are able to provide GIS support at every stage of a projects life cycle.

Our services include;

Constraints mapping for site search and appraisal

Mapping the survey results including Phase 1 and species surveys

Mapping and data analysis for Environmental Statements

Preparing plans for Development Consent Orders (GIS) applications to the IPC

Cartography and data visualisation in support of Public Enquiry Proof of evidence.


The team has ready access to and in-depth knowledge of a wide range of relevant data sources, including Ordnance Survey layers, national designations, terrain data, and remote sensing.

Case Studies

Abberton

Abberton

Essex

Essex and Suffolk Water

RPS are providing GIS services to support Essex and Suffolk Water as they raise the water level at Abberton Reservoir by three meters.

The reservoir is SPA classified on account of the internationally important number of wildfowl using it. Detailed ecological studies, leading to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), were therefore required in order to gain approval for development.

As part of the EIA the spatial distribution and migratory/feeding patterns of wildfowl populations were correlated with multiple factors, e.g. topography, reservoir conditions and drawdown. Predictive models where then created using the ArcGIS software and used to evaluate the impacts of the proposed reservoir design on wildfowl populations. The results where fed back into the design and planning processes, informing development decisions.

The success of this project was facilitated by the tight integration between our different divisions and use of state of the art technology. Our GIS team and software engineers developed handheld computer devices, which take advantage of GPS location services, and utilise "in house" software for the efficient and validated collection of ecology data. The system expedites the transition from field collected data to office based analysis and presentation. This technology significantly improves both the accuracy and efficiency in undertaking field surveys and is an example of how our tightly integrated approach to ecological projects allows us to deliver results quickly and efficiently.

Due to RPS involvement, the project was consented for development without having to go to Public Inquiry.

Land-sea Intervisibility

Land-sea Intervisibility

South West Coast

Npower Atlantic Array

RPS determined seascape units along the section of England's South West coastline as part of the proposed Atlantic Array Offshore Windfarm's Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (SLVIA).

Computational viewshed analysis was run on raster data and this determined and how many land cells could be seen by each cell within the sea study area. Areas shown in yellow could see more land cells than areas shown in blue.

The cell values were divided into land visibility quartiles of low, low to medium, medium to high and high. Seascape splays incorporating the area of highest visibility were draw in order to define the seascape units.

The viewshed analysis was then run again using a 50 by 50m cells within the seascape unit in order to determine the highest levels of intervisibility between the land and the sea.

Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework

Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework

Welsh Government

RPS is providing GIS services for The Marine Renewable Energy Strategic Framework (MRESF) for Wales.

THE MRESF has been developed for the Welsh Government to help stakeholders gain an understanding of the resources available in Welsh Territorial Waters.

The project identifies theoretical resource areas for array deployment of renewable energy devices capable of harnessing wave or tidal stream energy. In addition, detailed GIS analysis has helped identify the environmental and socio-economic constraints likely to be encountered during the planning and consenting process. These range from nature designations and marine mammal populations to military activity and shipping lanes.

Using an interactive web-based GIS users are able to interrogate the constraints (presented as a colour-coded 250m grid), cross-reference this with resource information and also bring in their own data layers for reference. For more details please see the project website.

North York Moors

North York Moors

North York Moors National Park

RPS successfully completed a project ahead of schedule to digitise field survey data for nearly 48,000 hectares of moorland, based upon the park authorities Phase 1 Habitat survey conducted from 1985-90.

Our exercise was intended to help inform and guide the continuing conservation of the park, which has a variety of important habitat types including woodland, rivers, coastland and moorland. Moorland accounts for a third of the entire park’s area and is the largest continuous heather moorland in England and Wales.

Using GIS, we digitised over fifty 1:10,000 scale field survey maps. Natural habitats were clearly defined in a system of vegetation polygons and boundary lines featuring all associated attribute and habitat codes information, based on Phase 1 Habitat colour codes defined by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

Offshore Wind Farm

Offshore Wind Farm

Various Locations

E.On

RPS completed a Planning and Environmental appraisal of onshore grid connection for Offshore Wind Farm Zones.

The objective was to identify and test the viability of onshore grid connection options from potential landfall to substation sites on the national grid. Shortlisted routes had to avoid constraints as far as possible, whilst minimising cable lengths.

RPS built a national database of environmental, physical and planning constraints.

An automated process was developed to generate optimal routes using a Least Cost Path analysis. Further programs were developed to provide statistics and mapping in a variety of formats for consultants to undertake assessments. RPS supplied E.ON with a shortlist of route options, and associated reports.

Transport Modelling

Transport Modelling

Wales

Covanta

RPS provided GIS services to assist with the development of a major new power-generation plant in South East Wales.

Transport modelling was undertaken to identify travel time and distances to various waste transfer stations and collection points. Catchment areas were created that modelled the specification of the vehicle and typical traffic levels for routes.