Frequently Asked Questions
About the Bluesky Map Shop
About The Products
Delivery and Returns Policy
Terms and Conditions
About the Bluesky Map Shop
What is the Bluesky MapShop?
The Bluesky MapShop is a web portal managed and operated by Bluesky International Limited. Using this website allows you to purchase high quality, up-to-date geographical data, including aerial photography and height data. Other datasets and types of data are continually added to the website so it is always worth coming back to see what’s new.
What products and services are available on the Bluesky MapShop?
The Bluesky MapShop offers the ability to search and view your area of interest then purchase digital orthorectified aerial photography and aerial photographic prints. It also offers digital height data in the form of Digital Terrain and Surface Models. The digital products can either be downloaded from our secure server or posted on DVD.
How do I search for my area of interest?
The interface is simple to use, please follow the instructions and look out for text in the information box. You need to enter your area of interest in the search box; this can be an address, postcode or OS grid reference. Once you press search the area requested will appear in the map window. Use the controls to the left to zoom in and out and to pan across the image. You can change the view to alternative datasets using the buttons on the right. You can also see if there are other dates available for each product by selecting the date (year) buttons at the top.
How do I purchase from the site?
Once you have searched for your area of interest just change the size of the blue box using the controls to the left and press continue. The next page offers you a list of all the products available for that area. Please select as many products as you would like, formats and delivery method, and then continue to the checkout. You will need to register before you can proceed with your purchase.
I have forgotten my password.
Easily done! Please press the “forgotten password” link at the log in page. We will email you with your password.
Can I have a photograph outside England and Wales?
The Bluesky MapShop offers full and comprehensive coverage of England and Wales at 25cm resolution or better. There is also about 20% of Scotland available for purchase. We are continually adding to the data, but if you require an area that is not offered, including international data, please call our sales team on 01530 518518 for more details.
Do you offer other data such as 3D building models or mapping?
Bluesky International Limited is a leading supplier of geographic data and products, including Historical Photography, 3D Building Models, Mapping, Satellite Imagery, Thermal Infrared, Land Use, Consultancy Services, GIS and Photogrammetric services. If there is anything you require please call our sales team on 01530 518518.
About The Products
How is the photograph taken?
All of the photography on the Bluesky MapShop is taken using cameras from aircraft. Since 2005 all the photographs have been taken using state of the art digital survey cameras.
What will I be able to see in my photo?
The detail in the photos is impressive. All of the photos are at a resolution of 25 cm or greater (ie each pixel in the digital photo represents 25cm on the ground, this is often referred to the Ground Sampling Distance (GSD)). Some of the images have a resolution of as much as 5cm, which enables you to see cracks in the pavement. The standard resolutions allow you to see street furniture and inspection covers.
How up-to-date is the photo?
Much of the data on the MapShop makes up part of the GeoPerspectives suite of geographic products. The GeoPerspectives aerial photography is updated on a continuous 5 year rolling program, with key areas (cities) being updated more frequently. The oldest data on the MapShop is from 1999.
I require more recent data for my area. When will it be updated?
The MapShop will always offer the most recent data available, but if you require very up-to-date data, this may be in our flying plan, or might require a special survey. Please call our sales team on 01530 518518 for more details.
How geographically accurate are the photographs?
The MapShop offers some of the most accurate aerial photography available, as it has been fully orthorectified. Independent tests have shown the accuracy is better then 1m RMSE across the entire dataset. In many areas it is even much better than this, as much as 20cm RMSE in some areas. All digital files are supplied with associated georeferencing information to allow you to view the images in GIS etc.
What is an orthorectified image?
The term orthorectified refers to an aerial photography that has been geographically referenced, placing each pixel in it’s correct geographic location, using a DTM. The process removes all errors caused by the camera lens and the undulating terrain, and involves the use of GPS information collected on the ground as well as in the aircraft. All data in the UK is referenced to the Ordnance Survey National grid system.
What is a JPG/TIFF/ECW/ASCII? What format do I need?
These are all data formats. JPG, TIFF and ECW are all image formats and ASCII is a height data format. JPG and TIFF can be read by many common software packages (they are the same as images from a digital camera). Both JPG and ECW are compressed formats, whereas TIFF is uncompressed. We would always recommend JPG as the file volume is much smaller, and the loss of data during compression is negligible. ECW and ASCII are more specialised formats that only experienced users should request.
What is a tile?
A tile is a small image that makes up part of a larger image, or a mosaic. Tiles can vary in size, but the standard is 1 sq km. Each tile has it’s own separate georeferencing file.
At the checkout there is an option for ‘mosaic’ – what does this mean?
A mosaic is one large image made up of many tiles. A mosaic can vary in size, and can be very large and difficult to open. If a mosaic is larger than 2GB (uncompressed) then it will be automatically supplied in ECW format. It will also take longer to process.
Can I select a specific area for digital files?
Yes you can select any area and any size you require. Just use the tools to the left of the map window.
What size photographic print can I order?
Standard print sizes are A0, A1, A2 and A3. Other sized prints can be ordered by calling 01530 518518
I want a different sized print to the ones offered – can you do this?
Yes, we offer a full printing service, including framing, laminating, and we can even add your logo or other information. We also offer 3D prints. Please call our sales team on 01530 518518 for more details.
What will my framed print look like?
Your print will be professionally framed in a quality wooden frame. To see a picture of a sample framed print, please click here.
Will my print fade?
Bluesky photographic prints are produced to full photo quality on professional paper. They will not fade if, as with all photographic prints, they are kept out of direct sunlight.
What is height data?
Height data is a digital file that depicts the height of the terrain and/or features on the terrain (DTM and DSM). It is in it simplest form a grid of points at a set spacing (5m for example), each with the height of the terrain or feature attached. This type of data allows the user to get a feel for the ‘lie of the land’. Only Professional users should use height data, as it is information rather than an image or a picture.
What is a DTM?
DTM stands for Digital Terrain Model. This is a form of height data that depicts only the surface of the earth, ignoring features such as trees and buildings.
What is a DSM?
DSM stands for Digital Surface Model. This is a form of height data that depicts the surface of the earth and features on it, including tress and buildings.
How accurate is the height data?
The accuracy of height data offered on the Bluesky MapShop is better than 1.5m RMSE in the x, y and z.
What are the applications for height data?
For a list of height data applications please see our main website: www.bluesky-world.com/products/height_data.
I can see a join (marked colour change) in my photo preview.
The aerial photography offered on the Bluesky MapShop is made up of many hundreds of thousands of individual aerial photographs. There may be a time difference of several years between two photos, and they may have been taken at different times of the year. Our expert team do their utmost to minimise the visible join between two dates, using state of the art image processing software, but sometimes only so much is possible without causing damage to one or both of the photographs. If the join is extreme, please let us know and we might be able to improve it.
Are Letters or Certificates of Authenticity (COA) available?
Bluesky International Limited will only issue a COA for photographs bought directly from the film stock, and not for photographs bought on the Bluesky MapShop. If you require COA, please call the sales team on 01530 518518. There will be an additional cost for a COA.
Can you supply older historical photography?
Yes, please visit www.OldAerialPhotos.com to purchase older aerial photography from a range of archives including our own. Photos on this site date right back to the 1940’s and there is an interesting History of Aerial Photography. Alternatively, if you have a specific requirement please call us on 01530 518528.
Delivery and Returns Policy
What delivery methods are available?
Digital photos and height data can be either downloaded (which is the quickest and preferred method), or supplied on CD or DVD by post. Prints (framed and unframed) are sent in the post in protective packaging.
How long will it take for my photographic print/framed print to arrive?
We aim to dispatch your print order within 7 working days and we guarantee it within 28 days. If you would like to know the status of your order, please call us on 01530 518518.
How will my order arrive?
Unframed prints (except A0 prints) are rolled and packed in a tube, then sent by first class post. A0 prints are rolled and packed in a tube and sent via carrier (eg. DHL). Framed prints are wrapped in bubble wrap, packed in a cardboard box and sent via carrier (eg. DHL). All items sent via carrier will require a signature to accept receipt.
Can I have a picture delivered as a gift to someone else?
Yes, please specify a different delivery address to your own billing address. The delivery note does not include any price or payment information. Please note: a framed print will require a signature.
Can I have delivery outside the UK?
We can deliver outside the UK but you will need to call us to discuss delivery charges as the charges on the website are for UK Mainland delivery only. Please call 01530 518518 to discuss.
What if my framed print is damaged?
Please do not accept delivery if the packaging is visibly damaged or not intact. If you have accepted delivery please follow our Returns Policy.
Can I return a print/framed print?
We only accept returned prints (framed or unframed) if they are damaged or faulty. For details please see our Returns Policy.
I have ordered data via download. How am I informed when my data is ready?
Your order should be ready within minutes of you placing your order. You will be sent an email to your specified email address once the image is ready to download. This email will give you a link to the file on our secure server for you to download. The data will remain on the server for 7 days.
How long does it take for data to be available on the download site?
The time it takes to prepare your order is determined by the size of your order, but in general it will be a matter of minutes. However larger orders may take a little longer, perhaps several hours.
How long will this data be available on the download site?
The data will remain on the download site for 7 days after which time it may be removed. It is recommended that you download the data as soon as you receive the email. If you fail to do this you must reorder the data.
How long does it take for data on CD/DVD to be delivered?
Please allow a few days for your CD/DVD to reach you. If you have not received your order or heard from a member of the team within 7 days, please call us on 01530 518518.
Terms and Conditions
What are Bluesky’s terms and conditions?
When you purchase data (including photographic or height data) from the Bluesky MapShop you are purchasing a licence to use the data. You do not purchase rights in the data. All data offered for sale on the Bluesky MapShop is copyrighted. Each ordered item has specific terms and conditions and you are licensed to use the data under the specific license terms. You will be asked to confirm acceptance of the terms and conditions before you proceed with your purchase. If you wish to use the data for anything that is not covered by these license terms you will need to obtain written authorisation. Please call us on 01530 518518.
Can I order from outside the UK?
Yes, please note: we only accept payment in GB Pounds Sterling. Also delivery charges are only for UK Mainland so you will need to contact us about delivery charges on 01530 518518. This does not apply to downloaded data.
How much will it cost?
The price payable for each data type that is available for your area is calculated once you have selected your area. The price is dependent on the type of data, resolution and size of area. The price displayed is excluding VAT and p&p. however this is added before you check out.
How do I pay?
You can pay by credit or debit card (all the major ones are accepted). WorldPay will handle the payment on our behalf. There is also an option to open a credit account with us (this is subject to credit checks and is only available for UK businesses), whereby we will invoice you monthly for the data downloaded that month. Please call 01530 518518 for further details.
Is using WorldPay to pay online secure?
Bluesky uses WorldPay for the management of online payments. WorldPay is part The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the fifth biggest banking group in the world. WorldPay payment solutions are trusted by thousands of businesses, big and small. The WorldPay payment system uses a combination of both established and innovative techniques to ensure the security and integrity of all sensitive data. Furthermore, Thawte, a public Certificate Authority, ensures that both the shopper and retailer can have confidence that nobody can impersonate WorldPay to obtain confidential information, certify the public web servers. During the transfer from Bluesky to WorldPay, the purchase details are encapsulated using an encrypted and digitally signed protocol. This uses a combination of standard methods such as PGP, RSA and MD5 to ensure that the information passed is secure and tamper-proof. Any communication between the shopper and WorldPay is also encrypted to the maximum strength supported by the shopper's browser using TLS or 128 Bit SSL. Shoppers are also protected from fraudulent use of their card in a "card not present" environment, by their card issuers. The card issuers provide the right for a shopper to dispute a transaction if the goods/services did not arrive or if the card was used fraudulently. The banking authorities regularly audit the data storage on WorldPay systems and the communication between WorldPay and the worldwide banking networks to ensure a secure transaction environment.
Can I have a VAT invoice?
An invoice/receipt will be sent via email to your designated email address once the WorldPay transaction is complete. The invoice will contain full VAT details. If you have a credit account we will issue a VAT invoice to you monthly.
Can I set up an account?
Yes. Having an account means that you can download data without having to go through the WorldPay system every time, and each transaction can have a unique ID making it easy to track at your end. This service is aimed at high volume users. You will be subject to credit checks and it is only available for UK businesses. We will invoice you on a monthly basis. Please call 01530 518518 for more details.