Our geospatial team helps clients in public and private sectors to analyse and understand the physical world. The service is a powerful combination of science, human experience and data analytics – helping our clients to make better decisions about the planet. 

We work on many major infrastructure projects, establishing the physical constraints and opportunities within schemes like the UK’s High Speed 2 rail network or Elizabeth Line. Our approach is data-driven, establishing geospatial information to common standards, enabling efficient sharing and analysis across complex teams of suppliers. Fundamentally, geospatial services are an opportunity to bring together the needs of the built and natural environments and develop sustainable outcomes for the planet. We see the ability to interrogate and visualise multiple and disparate datasets together as a way to achieve a deeper understanding of the space and the most appropriate and effective design choices.

We work at different scales and in varied sectors, from property to city planning, transport to energy and water. Geospatial services produce outcomes ranging from designing an effective data architecture for projects to providing detailed analysis to build a business case for major urban development programmes. Our work informs decision making, building acceptance of a proposed design choice among clients and communities.

How we help you

Our expertise can be implemented a number of ways. Examples include:

Shape transport projects

Investments in public transport continue to one of the best ways to grow a country’s economy while moving people away from polluting forms of transport. Geospatial services have a key role to play. On the UK’s Great Western Main Line electrification programme, we used geospatial data skills to create a set of data visibility tools and processes to improve the accuracy and speed of the design and construction of the new overhead line equipment that was needed. This reduced health and safety risks and cut the programme by 13,667 working hours.

Target and deliver sustainability

Geospatial research and analytics can help establish the feasibility, form and commercial prospects of new infrastructure. Our approach also draws on the increasing power of machine learning based analysis. Working for the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy we have developed a tool that can evaluate the wind power potential of the country’s entire coastline, before identifying the optimal location for offshore wind farms. In Wales we have helped the government with a geospatial platform that can establish the wind/solar energy potential the country could generate.

Improve city planning

Geospatial analysis is fundamental to successful city planning and urban development. Arup provided GIS services on the Abu Dhabi Capital Plan 2030, shaping a better future for the city state. Our GIS analyses comprised 800 data layers including interpolation, and route network analyses. We also developed a geospatial analysis tool to capture locations of capital investment projects from 35 government agencies across the country, helping leaders to evaluate future scenarios with confidence.

Boost climate resilience

Geospatial analysis is increasingly important as nations attempt to bolster their resilience to threats like flooding, hurricanes or sea level rises. In the UK we have designed an online tool to help clients to site wave energy structures, locating them nearest to ports and concrete manufacturing facilities, to support their offshore construction.

‘Read the planet’

Arup also now provides a growing range of Earth observation or remote sensing services and geodata science services. Our teams make large scale use of satellite photography to carry out ecological surveys from space, reducing the need to travel, reducing time, cost and CO2 emissions. This means we can assess land use, analyse the permeability of surfaces and assess flood risks, helping decision makers to better understand the context they’re in and the choices they can make.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals share a clear requirement to ‘measure and record’ both problems and progress, so geospatial capabilities are only gaining in importance, bringing transparency and honesty to the issues the planet and communities face. As the world struggles to develop effective mitigations to climate change, geospatial services can help shape the most effective interventions and solutions.

We have helped the UK to improve biodiversity net gain (BNG), in a partnership with the European Space Agency. BNG is becoming a mandatory planning requirement for most new development in England, fundamentally altering how biodiversity impacts development consents. 

Urban Heat Snapshot
Our Urban Heat Snapshot used the insights derived from our Terrain tool to understand how the fabric of our cities affects the local temperatures.
Download the snapshot