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Designing Landscape off Satellite Images

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Grant11, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Grant11

    Grant11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    I'm looking for a website that has satellite images of homes to scale. Then I could trace the house and existing featuers (pools, walks ect.) to velum and design an overhead view of the new landscape around it.
    I feel like meausring every last corner of the house and property lines the old fashioned way is ineffecient and very time consuming. There has to be an easier way- any thoughts or websites?
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,749

    get a design program.

    get a plat from the customer or town hall.
    This is how designer and architects do it.

    Velum? Really? and your concerned with time and efficiency?

    I can't think of how big of a screen you would need to trace a 1/20 scale project off the screen onto your vellum.

    there is satellite imagery that will give you all your measurements, that's pretty simple.

    But there are design programs that will just scale your imported scanned plat and have been since before we had satellite imagery available for free to us.
  3. Grant11

    Grant11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    Do you know specifically what is the best site to find the satellite imagery? I have tried all the ones I know of but they have no scale and don't get big enough for tracing onto paper.

    In class I've taken seperate classes on design by hand (on velum) and design with dyna scapes. I would much prefer to do it on a computer but I can't justify spending the money on a program when currently I rarely do design work outside of school.
    I am by no means a landscape designer- But I know exactly what the customer wants and they just want it drawn up before I bid for the install.
  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    I can completely measure the house, locating all windows and doors, document walks and sidewalks, locate relevant trees and other fixed points, and take 50-100 reference photos and be in and out in under 30 minutes on a standard (>5000 sq ft) suburban home. 45 if I have to shoot grades. You just need to develop an efficient system for site analysis, which comes with time.

    All my drawings start with bringing the survey plat into CAD, then adding the field measurements to the drawing. Satellite imagery is the last step, and I generally use it for locating winding driveways, meandering farm walls, creeks, and generally things that I want to include in the drawing - but they don't need to be dead nut accurate. Often, I'll pull some reference points off the house and use them to align the image, because you have to remember that depending on the angle at which the photos were taken, there's some skew. You'll almost never find satellite imagery from perfectly, directly over the site.

    Bottom line is if you're designing the project, you're responsible for making sure it's accurate. If all I'm doing is a front foundation planting, I'll work off of 2-3 photos and the survey plat. I'll be close enough that we can tweak it on install. But otherwise, I don't think there's a viable alternative to getting hard measurements of the area you're working in. Unless you want to hand the client a $10k change order while you stammer "oops" on day one, I wouldn't view satellite imagery as an alternative to boots on the ground.
  5. Grant11

    Grant11 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    Thank you for your reply. I was wondering if it could be done to use satellite imagery but now I definitely don't think its as good of idea. For real this is why I use lawn site. If I'm headed in the wrong direction someone can steer me straight.
    Maybe someday those satellite images will play a big role in landscape design
  6. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    The challenge is making it affordable. One of my clients designs electronic tower installations all over the world for the US military. He showed me the imagery they use to design remotely (they don't really want civilian contractors wandering the mountains of Afghanistan with a tape measure) and it's flipping amazing - and they pay upwards of $10,000/month for the license.

    Just figure out an efficient system. I'm planning on doing a webinar on designing to sell as efficiently as possible, if you'd be interested PM me your email address and I'll let you know.

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