13 reasons why satellites will transform real estate

13 reasons why satellites will transform real estate

21 June 2019

A new breed of satellites equipped with advanced electronic sensors is set to transform traditional practices among building professionals, University of Kent academic Davina Jackson writes in The Conversation.

The new technology will affect land surveyors, architects, engineers, landscape designers, property developers, builders, and urban planners. How?

More than 650 Earth observation satellites currently operate beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Some orbit the planet to allow scanning in swathes, while others hold geostationary positions above specific places.

These satellites carry sensors that monitor and transmit data on environmental conditions vital to building designers and developers.

At present, planning authorities evaluate building proposals based on environmental impact assessment reports prepared after the design phase.

But data from this new breed of satellites can provide highly detailed and accurate information about local environmental conditions to development teams before buildings are designed.

Such data will allow architects and engineers to calculate more accurately crucial performance parameters for proposed buildings and landscapes—saving them time and money.

Some applications of high-resolution satellite imaging include:

1. Line of Sight – Planning high-rise buildings so they don’t obstruct line of sight views.

2. Exposure to Noise – Orchestrating urban mobility plans with special consideration for the impact environmental noise using OrbisGIS. (Urban Noise)

3. Development Planning – Empowering smarter development planning and understanding the bigger development picture.

4. Crowd Simulation – Mastering the collective dynamics of interacting objects in urban phenomena at the scale of individual households, people, and units of real estate and at time-scales approaching “real time”. (Crowd Simulation)

5. Solar Exposure – Harvesting light to assess the suitability of installing solar (photovoltaic) panels on roofs using 3D city models and geometric information such as the tilt, orientation, and area of the roof.

6. City Engine – Assessing feasibility and plan implementation using Esri’s City Engine improving urban planning, architecture, and overall design.

7. Pedestrian Behaviour – Discerning the movements of pedestrians and urban behaviour in cities.

8. Shadow Analysis – Diagnosing how much shadow buildings will be cast in the pre-construction phase.

9. Parking Availability – Orchestrating a parking available by collecting the percent of spaces occupied versus search time.

10. Integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) – Operating a facility with BIM because of its ability to analyse information and integrate data from different systems.

11. Tangible Landscape – Experimenting with the potential impact of different building configurations with an easy-to-use 3D sketching tool. (Tangible Landscape)

12. Geodesign – Conceptualizing building plans with focus on stakeholder participation and collaboration to closely follow natural systems.

13. Propagation of Noise in Urban Environments – Modelling 3D data to answer how urban citizens are harmed by noise pollution, and how to mitigate it with noise barriers.

A public-private partnership between the Australian government’s data-marketing company, PSMA, and two global corporations, US satellite imagery supplier DigitalGlobe and business software vendor Pitney Bowes Australia now offers information-rich online aerial imagery of Australian suburbs.

PSMA data, for example, covers plot areas and street addresses for more than 15 million buildings over 7.6 million square kilometres.

A similar platform from the CSIRO and rural technology start-up Digital Agriculture Services combines satellite data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud-based geospatial technology to deliver reliable farm data and analytics, reports itnews.

As well as enabling farmers to better manage their operations, the platform is capable of valuing rural properties instantly with up to 90 percent accuracy.