How Do Maps Help Property Developers?

How Do Maps Help Property Developers

Maps are an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Whether you are looking to find your way in a new town, see how much an area has changed over the years or build a house, you need a map. Everyone has used a map at some point of time or the other in their lives.

However, maps are more important for some people as compared to others. For a town planner or a property developer, a reliable map is as important as a blackboard is for a teacher. These maps help them select the perfect site, assess risk, and understand the feasibility of using the land that’s mapped out.

Here’s an overview of five different types of maps a developer needs.

OS Detail MasterMap

This is a detailed map on a scale of 1:1,250, 1:2,500 and 1:10,000. It can be described as a comprehensive map that details natural as well as manmade features. When it comes to land registration and planning applications, this is the government approved map that must be followed. With Promap OS Maps, a developer can make annotations as needed, measure distances accurately, and customize aspects as needed.

This map can then be either exported to a CAD or GIS system or printed to scale. Likewise, OS Detail MasterMap can be viewed in color or black and white. Such maps may also be overlaid with aerial details. The common uses for these maps include:

  • Valuation reports
  • Site searching
  • Site evaluation
  • Site location
  • Risk Management
  • Routing and transport

Zmapping Detailed 3D Models

Sometimes a 2D map is not enough to understand an area. In such cases, developers may need 3D models which represent real-world features accurately. These maps have a stated accuracy level of +/- 50 cm and support urban design and planning needs.

These can also be described as multi-layer maps because they have different layers to represent buildings, water bodies, trees, roads, etc. This gives developers a ready base to make their plans and control over dropping their plans in relation to other features. The common uses for these maps include:

  • Planning
  • Sun-shadow studies
  • Strategic views
  • 3D GIS integration
  • Emergency planning
  • Traffic layout
  • Visualization
  • Environmental studies

Digital Elevation Models

This can be described as a 3D CG representation of the surface of an area. It is created by analyzing the terrain elevation data. There are two types of Digital elevation models – Digital Surface Models (DSM) and Digital Terrain Models (DTM). DSMs allow developers to view a topographic model of the area’s surface by measuring the height of different surfaces from the ground. This type of map includes vegetation, terrain features, buildings, power lines, etc.

It can be used to support augmented simulated environments and location-based systems and create 3D fly-throughs. DTMs are derived from DSMs. They help developers to visualize a topographic model of the bare area. These maps do not include vegetation or manmade features. The common uses for these maps include:

  • Base mapping
  • Line-of-sight analysis
  • Relief map creation
  • Modeling mass movement or water flow
  • Terrain analysis
  • Surface analysis
  • Flight simulation
  • Cut and Fill analysis
  • Flood modeling

Along with maps, developers also need other types of data for their projects. This includes recent aerial photographs and Local Development Plans. Let’s take a look at how such photographs and plans can be useful.

Aerial Photographs

Aerial photographs provide irreplaceable information for developers. This type of data can include both recent photographs and historical photographs of a specific area. Recent photographs provide real-time information on how the area looks and they also give street view details.

Even objects such as trees and cars are easily identifiable in such images. Historical photographs help developers assess how the area has changed over the years and the trends that have been followed. The common uses for these photographs include:

  • Identification of vegetation
  • Identification of how the land has been used
  • Site analysis
  • Creating supporting documents
  • Creating  marketing literature

Local Development Plans

When developers take on a new project, they must know the planning laws and acts existing in the area. This information is provided by Local Development Plans. It includes Land Use Policies created by local authorities and the country planning acts that are relevant.

Plans created by unitary councils, district councils, and national park authorities are also included in this. The data provided by these plans can be categorized as housing data, industrial and commercial data, town center and retailing data, community and social facilities, heritage environment data, transport data, and open land.

These plans help developers to identify suitable areas for housing, retail, industrialization, conservation, etc.

Editorial Team
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  1. Cool post and timely too. Yesterday I checked out a map from a local town here in NZ, to check out the farm property where we’re spending time. Proper map with topography, accurate as can be, relief-wise. Fascinating to study it.


  2. Nippon says:

    Your work seems to be informative. Thanks!!

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