About hansen partnership

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hansen partnership is a Melbourne-based consultancy offering expertise in urban planning, urban design and landscape architecture. One of its great strengths is in being able to deliver projects that comply with rigorous council requirements and industry standards, while still incorporating unique creative flair. At the 2014 Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards, hansen received a number of honours, including the Urban Design Award for its Surabaya Urban Corridor Development Program, and the People’s Choice award for its MacKenzie Falls Precinct Redevelopment. The award jury for the MacKenzie Falls project commended its “bold yet highly site-specific intervention”, which “introduces an entirely new and enhanced visitor experience to this spectacular natural landscape.”

The challenge

With almost all of hansen’s work involving real-world places - sites, properties, and locations, including commercial buildings, schools, town centres and residential properties—access to timely, high-resolution aerial photography would help to maintain competitive advantage. It used Google Earth’s satellite imagery, but this provided only a fraction of the required detail, and aerial surveys supplied by Local Councils, with whom hansen did a lot of work, were often two or three years old. As a result, the company had to source the majority of its information manually, through site visits, which it couldn’t prepare in advance, while useful historical data related to the site and its environment was effectively unavailable.

“nearmap is particularly useful in helping us to understand what’s happening around a site, which is something you don’t pick up with the naked eye,” observed Schutt. “In fact, even the drawings clients include with an application usually tell us very little about the physical environment. With nearmap, however, we can create a bespoke picture of everything we need to know, cutting down the time we spend onsite, and often revealing things we hadn’t previously been aware of.”

Why nearmap?

Adoption of nearmap’s high-resolution PhotoMaps™ imagery had an immediate impact on the whole organisation. “Pretty much everybody, from staff involved in preparing plans, and graphic support for base maps, through to company directors like myself, use the platform all the time,” said Steve Schutt, a landscape architect and company director. hansen increased the efficiency and accuracy with which it was able to plan, for example, town centre developments across regional Victoria, such as Warragul, Korumburra and Traralgon. It also minimised requirement for site visits by replacing low-resolution satellite imagery, and dated Local Council aerial surveys with up-to-date—no more than two months old—nearmap imagery. 

“We always do a site visit, but usually only one,” Schutt noted. 

“The benefit of nearmap’ is that, when we’re creating detailed planning-permit applications, we can get critical information about the site by going back there, virtually, as many times as we need to.” Moreover, if a site visit is required, having access to current, high-resolution aerial photos enables Hansen to prepare for and optimise the value of the visit. This research not only avoids the pressure of arriving onsite and having to absorb a whole mass of information all at once, it also provides insights that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

“nearmap is particularly useful in helping us to understand what’s happening around a site, which is something you don’t pick up with the naked eye,” observed Schutt. “In fact, even the drawings clients include with an application usually tell us very little about the physical environment. With nearmap, however, we can create a bespoke picture of everything we need to know, cutting down the time we spend onsite, and often revealing things we hadn’t previously been aware of.”

Further Benefits

nearmap’s frequent capture enables it to regularly update its high-resolution,aerial surveys, ensuring that hansen’s staff members have anytime anywhere access to current geo-spatial information from a desk-top or mobile device. This significant advantage is further enriched by a timeline feature that leverages the stock of aerial surveys to provide a comprehensive visual site history. “With nearmap’s timeline tool we can look back two or three year sinto the past and discover things we would never have known from a single image, or even from a site visit,” Schutt said. “This can impact our whole approach to planning a particular development,and enable us to reduce risk to the client.”Because nearmap technology is intuitive, hansen’s users—its entire headcount—were able to use the service without requiring training,while the frequent addition of new functionality ensures the value of nearmap to the organisation continues to increase over time.