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The Top 5 Uses of Aerial Maps for Landscaping

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Some say spring arrives when the forsythia sprouts their memorable, yellow flowers reaching into the blue sky. Chunky sweaters are tucked away into winter closets. The sun rides high and the mop head hydrangea sprout tiny green blooms that grow into a baby blue, pink and purple cacophony of color. These are some of the glorious signs that spring has sprung.

Just as obvious are the regular sightings of lawn services trucks replete with mowers, fertilization equipment, edgers and the occasional aerator. Landscapers fill the roadways as they prepare properties for a growing season of greenery. Some do-it-yourselfers love to crank up their own equipment but that doesn’t deter the lawn guys from their search to acquire new customers.

While these signs of spring are well known by most of us, what’s less obvious are the business operations that fuel the start of this busy season. Gardening and nursery centers stock mulch, pebbles, pots and plants. Lawn services companies prospect for new business. Truckloads of flowers and fertilizer are routed to specific locations. Sales teams walk new paths in search of more customers while service crews do what they do best—groom, plant, clean and prune—as fast as they can.

New forms of technology support this business and service ecosystem allowing for economies of scale and the ability to win business faster. Some lawn and landscape companies use satellite imagery to estimate and quote. But the blurry property boundaries and presence of tree canopies obscure their view. More recently, drones have been used to visualize landscapes. But those annoying mechanical birds are flown over smaller, localized areas with image processing lurking as a necessary next step.

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The most important new form of location content for lawn and landscape companies are aerial maps—current, clear, changing aerial photography consistently captured from planes flying through clear skies at 10,000 to 18,000 feet.

Aerial maps, or aerial photography as it’s sometimes known, provide remarkable detail for ground features including surface area, pools, fences, decks and vegetation of varying height. Lawn and landscape companies (along with other types of businesses that service commercial or residential properties) are rapidly adopting this technology. Aerial maps are accessible in the cloud. Just log into your PC or tablet and start seeing the details. There’s no need to travel on site or attempt to interpret dated satellite imagery. You can prospect for new business across a wide area instantly without the need to fly a drone. This “reality-as-a service” allows you to scale operations faster than ever before from the comfort of your home or office—every month, every minute.

Nearmap high resolution aerial maps allow lawn and landscape professionals to see the details without having to travel on site. Here’s a recent aerial image captured on January 15th from Durham, NC:

HD oblique aerial photo of landscape in Durham, NC - Jan. 2018

Anyone developing a quote for service could zoom in and assess the quality of the landscape. They could measure areas, exclude beds, hardscapes, driveways and arrive at a precise estimate for services.

As landscapers build their business, they typically focus on 5 top uses of aerial imagery to win business faster and grow their clientele:

  1. Efficiently Prospect for New Opportunities

    Using a web-based tool from Nearmap called MapBrowser, landscapers can search for locations across 430 cities in the US. Notice the greener grass for the property in the upper center of the screen. You would know this home is your customer since you can locate the address easily in MapBrowser. But the property in the lower center of the screen is a prospect and their lawn needs some work.

    Aerial photo in MapBrowser showing property in Marietta, PA - Mar. 2018
    Using split view, users can compare an historical capture to a very current aerial map. In this example, March 29, 2017 (left) is compared to March 31, 2018, a very recent image. There’s been little change over time. Prospecting for new business using high resolution aerial maps means you don’t need to travel on site.

  2. Accurate Measurements and Quotes 

    Precise area estimates consider only the area that requires treatment. In other words, building structures, driveways, garden beds and hardscape can be left out of the estimate. In this case, we’ve used MapBrowser to include the square feet for the front and back yards while also annotating the image with notes we’ll use to win the business. Creating these types of area measurements take seconds using a set of measurement tools that include line, area and radius. Any number of “map objects” can be included in your analysis. In this case, we are using spring imagery also known as “leaf off” imagery providing a clear way to visualize property details without obstructions impacting your measurement.

    Aerial map with precise property measurements in Marietta, PA - Mar. 2018
    See Your Landscape Project in Nearmap

  3. Creating Winning Proposals

    Imagine a scenario where a prospect calls and asks for a proposal. Within minutes you have located their property. Using a timeline of imagery dating back to 2014 and including both leaf-off and leaf-on imagery, you’ve analyzed the property. One click later, their home is exported and included on the front of your proposal. Details inside include different look angles for the property, identification of areas that will and won’t be treated and cost estimates based on precise measurements. You may not have been the first landscaping company they called, but you’ve delivered insights faster than your competition and likely with much clearer imagery.

    High-res aerial image export from MapBrowser for use in lawn & landscape bids

  4. Field Service Optimization

    Perspective can make all the difference. In this example, a commercial developer has called and asked for landscape services adjacent to a parking garage being completed. They have described the structure but you need to verify height, width, decide on the types of trees to install and then requisition equipment for the job.

    Oblique aerial image for validating site inspections
    In earlier examples, Nearmap provided “top down” or vertical imagery for area measurement. The company also offers “oblique” (angled) location content that’s measurable. Users can measure the heights of structures from different look angles (north, south, east and west) as well as widths. Having a clear sense of area, height and width allows for more efficient field service. You’ll avoid time on the road  while requesting the right vehicle to perform either the installation or removal.

  5. Maintenance and Customer Satisfaction

    When you need validation that your services have improved a landscape, or proof that a problem with the lawn existed prior, Nearmap historical imagery can be compared to current aerial maps to prove your point, retain customers or win new business.

    Aerial photos streamline lawn care maintenance
    Aerial maps streamline lawn care maintenance
    The examples above are aerial maps taken near Boston, MA in the fall of 2016 and then again in the fall of 2017 – for the exact same property. Notice the difference in the quality of the lawns in the center and the lower right. Your services have worked well leading to high levels of customer satisfaction. In cases when you risk someone “churning” because they claim you have not improved the lawn, you can use the Nearmap historical archive to clearly demonstrate the progress you are making. 

A cold, snowy winter is behind us. It’s time to plant, time to grow. There’s nothing like freshly mulched beds, precise edging and a lush green lawn. That’s what customers are looking for and now have the technology tools of the trade to build your company, win business faster and retain customers. Now you have the means to create that breathtaking landscape using a virtual set of aerial maps and truth on the ground. Transform the way you work with Nearmap high resolution aerial maps.

See Your Landscape Project in Nearmap

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Image Quality Outshines Satellite Images

Nearmap PhotoMaps™ are consistently 2.8” GSD—which is typically several times sharper than satellite images—giving you unrivaled clarity, precision and detail.

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Get a Clear Aerial View of Property

Take accurate remote measurements. Estimate with precision. Plan around detailed features, and view property changes over time.

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View Current Aerial Maps

Our up to date aerial maps are consistently refreshed to give you timely, actionable information. Browse aerial photos from recent surveys, or view our nationwide urban coverage areas.

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Watch Updated Aerial Maps Tell Stories

With precise geolocation, Nearmap aerial imagery monitors change over time and tells compelling stories of truth on the ground. Plan with confidence, and see your projects evolve.

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Always-on, Instant Access

Whether you're viewing orthoimagery or oblique aerial views, Nearmap's cloud-based PhotoMaps™ give you instant access to consistent, high quality aerial imagery with spectacular detail.

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Sharper than the Best Satellite Maps

And frequently updated, too. Nearmap captures the urban US multiple times per year, and new aerial images are processed and streamed to the cloud within days. Get instant access to all current imagery and historical aerials, precisely georeferenced to show you truth over time.

View incredible detail with our high resolution aerial maps. Satellite images are often blurred by weather or the atmosphere. Nearmap captures leaf-off and leaf-on aerial photos year round under the best possible conditions.

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