COWI has been awarded a frame contract to perform airborne laser scanning of approximately 75 percent of Sweden's territory over the next 2-5 years. This project will be the largest of its kind in Europe. The project has been initiated by the demands from the forestry industry, requesting up-to-date laser data in its management and planning.
More than half of Sweden is covered by forest, and the forestry industry is dependent on having up-to-date laser data to perform high-quality estimates of timber volume, growth and other parameters for the management and development of the Swedish forest.
To meet these demands, the Swedish government and the forestry sector have together initiated a major mapping project covering an area of 350.000 km². This includes most of Sweden's land area except for the mountain chain up north.
Although COWI has done several national scannings of both Denmark and Lithuania, Sweden poses a far greater challenge, Market Director of Mapping & Surveying in COWI, Steen Davidsen explains:
“In Europe, Sweden is rather unique as it stretches further north with long distances. Up north, the airports are further apart and harsh weather can affect the laser scanning sensors," he says.
The airborne sensors can operate both day and night but not in rain, snow, fog or in case of low hanging clouds, because the planes with the laser scanning sensors fly more than two kilometres above ground.
The challenges of a project of this magnitude do not only reside in the air.
"There are very strict requirements to be met in terms of data security. Everybody involved with access to the data have to be cleared by the Swedish Security Authorities,” Market Manager COWI Mapping in Sweden, Hans Strandberg, explains.
Further, the captured data is not allowed to leave the country and all processing will take place in special office facilities with a closed IT-environment and no online access.