Bluesky International, a Leicestershire-based geographic data company, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to collaborate on a major data collection project with SPRINT partner, the University of Leicester. SPRINT will provide Bluesky with funded access to the expertise and resources of the University’s School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science, enabling the collection and analysis of key urban environment data that will provide business intelligence for the UK insurance sector.
Bluesky acquires and manages high resolution airborne imagery, and provides commercial 2D and 3D GIS datasets to a range of UK sectors including insurance. The SPRINT project will help Bluesky to develop a portfolio of new built environment feature classification services for its UK customers. The data will catalogue and classify buildings, helping insurers to identify domestic dwellings and their structural features.
The project will leverage the University of Leicester’s significant expertise in object classification systems, as applied to satellite remote sensing data. Images from visible and infra-red satellite and aerial sensors will be used in isolation and in combination to deliver a robust, high confidence intelligence service.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
James Eddy, Technical Director at Bluesky said: “Bluesky has strong ties with the academic community having worked with universities and higher education organisations on previous projects. We went to the University of Leicester with the idea for this project and with lots of talk about AI and machine learning, were directed to the School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science.
“We were particularly interested in how best to use machine learning to accurately extract and analyse data on structural features for our work with insurance companies. The space-based aspect means that we can use these mathematical methods to look at data in different forms and by the end of the project, we will be able to develop a technique to extract data and provide this commercially for different sectors.
“We were introduced to SPRINT by the University of Leicester. Although we have internal R&D, it’s difficult for small businesses to commit resources and we wouldn’t consider working with a commercial provider on this particular project as there are potential IP challenges. Working with the University allows us to stay in control of this.”
Ivan Tyukin, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Leicester added: “Satellite data is an extremely valuable resources, and the volume of this data grows very fast. Hence, it is important to develop methods enabling organisations to utilise this wealth of resources in the most efficient and reliable way. In our project, we will employ state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to extract information from available satellite datasets and fuse this extracted information with Bluesky’s own proprietary data to increase the company’s data analysis capabilities.”