SenSat Stories | York: Summer bliss and autonomous lawnmowers


Summer bliss and autonomous lawnmowers


Learning to scan cities

Alfonso Vasquez

2017 // 4 minute read

Rich in ancient history, romantic ambience and fun activities, York is one of the finest examples of a Roman walled city left in the world. We arrived in the height of summer, a blistering August morning where the sun was up before we were (for once).


The plan was to fly six areas over the walled city using our Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) and Urban Area permissions from the CAA to form part of our early research and development works for digitising cities. York was a great place to learn because the Roman walls, still intact, run right the way around the centre of the city. These provided great ‘spotter locations’, an elevated place where we could monitor the drones whilst in flight.

York in the summer is pleasant; people spill out of cafes onto the sunny streets, laze in the parks surrounded by ruins or row lazily along the Ouse. However from my spotting location atop the wall close to York Minster, I kept hearing a faint buzz. Alas - an autonomous lawnmower was going about its daily business, mowing the steep banks below the walls that flood with Daffodils in the spring.

Little did the people of York know about the robot revolution happening all around them!

This scan of York city centre is the highest resolution model of the city in existence (about 10x higher resolution than Google maps). 


Win bids and optimise pre-construction planning.


Stay on schedule and prevent rework.


Monitor and track the lifecycle of assets through Mapp®.

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