BlomSTREET™ images are geographically accurate 360 degree panoramic street level images for professional use. The first BlomSTREET™ pilot projects in Finland were carried out for the cities of Turku, Kaarina, Tampere, Espoo, Pori and Jyväskylä in 2011.
The cities of Turku and Kaarina were the first customers in Finland to have access to the BlomSTREET™ data, which have now been in use for about six months. “We have received positive feedback from the users, especially in regards to the high accuracy of the data. The use of the product has reduced field visits significantly”, says Harri Soini, GIS engineer in the City of Turku.
There are several potential users inside a communal organization who needs data from roads and their surroundings. “The data is used by road planners, city planners, people responsible for road and green zone maintenance. It’s also used when giving excavation permits and updating asset management databases”, sums up Jere Metsävuo, Service Manager in the City of Espoo.
The tools for making measurements and visualizing spatial data bring significant additional value for the images. “Our surveying department has used images as a help for complementing our city map. Also, the establishment of a traffic sign register based on the images has created interest”, states Olavi Ujanen, Head of GIS services in the City of Tampere.
The measurement tools are one of the key elements that make the difference between BlomSTREET™ and other street images available on the Internet. “City planners have used the tools on the software for measuring building heights and footings”, says Harri Soini. Many measurements that previously required a field visit can now be easily carried out on your own workstation within a couple of seconds.
Road and traffic planning and road maintenance are areas that see some of the greatest benefits of street level imagery. Taking an inventory of a street property is one of the applications in which BlomSTREET™ is very useful. “In Turku, an inventory of bus stop equipment, street furniture, trash cans, advertisement boards, surface materials and other street property was carried out with BlomSTREET™ data”, notes Harri Soini. BlomSTREET™ images also enable surveying objects and surroundings during winter time when the ground level is covered by snow. In addition, it is also possible to take an inventory of road condition from the images. For example are cracks in asphalt and condition of road stripes visible in the images.
Inventory of traffic signs is an additional service for BlomSTREET™ offered by Blom and Cyclomedia. City of Pori is the first city in Finland in which traffic sign inventory is carried out with BlomSTREET™ images. “Taking an inventory of traffic signs with street level images is a cost efficient and fast practice compared for example to field surveys”, says Product Manager Lauri Hartikainen, from Blom Finland.
Visualization of spatial data on the images provides the advantages for many applications. For example the validation check for the map data can be done by visualizing existing base map data on the images. “On the images, we have spotted areas where we need to have our city map updated”, continues Harri Soini. Overlaying of cadaster data on images is useful for supervision of buildings. “The system makes it easier to solve border disputes between property owners because you can see property borders on the images already at the office and boundary markers can also be found more easily”, says Sami Kääriäinen, the chief GIS officer in the City of Kaarina.
Data capture is carried out with a camera and positioning system developed by Dutch company Cyclomedia. Image data and the included software enable making 3D measurements and visualizing 2D / 3D spatial data on the images.