Online Aerial Map Shows Heat Loss From Homes And Offices

thermal images buildings bluesky portsmouth

If you show on this map, lag your loft

An online map which shows heat loss from individual homes in Portsmouth, is helping businesses and residents cut their bills and reduce their carbon emissions.

Aerial mapping company Bluesky’s uses data from a plane equipped with thermal sensors, to map the temperature of buildings in the city on a cold winter night. The visual display lets businesses and residents search for their address and see its thermal properties. Each building’s image was matched to address data to allow a postcode search. Portsmouth City Council sponsored the project and hopes it will encourage people in Portsmouth to insulate their properties better, turn off unnecessary heat, saving money and improving  the city’s carbon footprint.

Thermal waste exposed

heat map portsmouth bluseky“We originally commissioned the Bluesky thermal survey to identify Council owned properties that could benefit from energy efficiency measures,” commented Jasmine Fletcher, Climate Change and Sustainability Co-ordinator at Portsmouth City Council. “However we soon realised the data had a much wider potential and appeal. Since launching the online thermal mapping portal we have received more than 2,500 hits and the site continues to be popular with many hits every day.”

Portsmouth City Council reckons that loft and cavity insulation in a home or business property could save £700 over 3 years – a figure which will go up as energy costs increase. The coalition government has been promising a “Green Deal” in which the government would underwrite the investment in energy efficiency measures, since the long-ago days when now-disgraced Chris Huhne was energy secretary.

Given a valid postcode, the site returns a colour-coded map of the property, with neighbouring buildings for context, and then directs the viewer to a list of possible options to improve their thermal efficiency.


The issue of energy efficiency could become more pressing. As well as the obvious money savings, businesses are also increasingly coming under the scrutiny of carbon accounting rules, and may be paying green taxes on their energy use.

The Bluesky survey used a ‘microbolometer’ thermal camera; designed for airborne surveys carried out at night. Bluesky has also used aerial surveys to identify properties with suitable roofspace that could be used for solar power generation.

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