Gatwick Airport’s new geospatial platform supports Biodiversity Action Plan

London Gatwick Airport (LGW) has created a new geospatial platform using Esri’s GIS (Geographic Information System) technology.

The technology will support multiple operational areas at the airport, including engineering and environmental services. It is already making engineering and construction works safer by reducing accidental strikes on buried utilities and enabling better management of the airports biodiversity, according to LGW.

The geospatial platform contains critical infrastructure information spanning the 70-year history of the airport, including BIM, CAD, utilities, environmental details, aerial photography and legacy data. By integrating all spatial data into a single view, combined with advanced spatial analysis tools, mobile apps and dashboards, the Esri platform provides new insights to support better collaboration and decision-making across the airport.

LGW is using the geospatial platform to support its Biodiversity Action Plan, designed to deliver a biodiversity net gain at the airport by 2030. Within the airport boundaries are 75 hectares of woodlands, grasslands and wetlands, inhabited by hundreds of species of mammals, birds, insects and bees. Environmental data in the GIS includes environmental stewardship areas, notable birds, protected, rare or invasive alien species and bat box locations. The system also visualises the estimated embodied carbon of built assets.

Insights from the GIS will enable LGW to plan works around any environmentally sensitive sites to minimise impact and seek ways to bring additional benefits, such as improving biodiversity. The embodied carbon data allows users to see the carbon ‘price’ of assets, supporting sustainability decisions by showing the potential carbon emissions of demolitions or new construction.

The airport’s sustainability strategy is also set to benefit from the GIS, by helping to determine the optimal sites for solar panels, from potentially floating them in lakes or installing them on the most effective roof tops. London Gatwick’s ‘Decade of Change’ roadmap includes sourcing 50% of airport electricity from renewable sources with onsite generation part of the mix.

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