BiodiversityView Technical Details

BiodiversityView – Methodology Overview

The Map Impact methodology combines several data sources, alongside a novel satellite imagery analytics approach, to infer biodiversity condition, at any location.

Habitat Datasets

Map Impact’s solution currently utilises ancillary open-source datasets to identify habitat types. Habitat types align with the UK Habitat Classification (UKHAB) system, although currently available open-source data does not allow all habitats to be represented. Map Impact are a UKHAB Partner, and the UK Habitat Classification is used under license, with no onward licenses implied or provided. All rights reserved.

Each habitat is provided with a distinctiveness score, which assigns additional weighting to the final biodiversity score. The distinctiveness of each habitat is defined within the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric Calculator 4.0.

Ancillary habitat data sets are layered in a defined structure to provide the best available view of habitats. The following data sources and licenses are used:

Satellite Imagery

Map Impact is utilising the Sentinel-2 satellite constellation operated by the European Space Agency. This is due to the historical archive of available satellite images (back to 2015), high frequency of collections, and the number of spectral bands which provide a range of indices that can be used to infer the condition of each habitat.

Satellite imagery is processed and analysed using Google Earth Engine. The use of Sentinel data is governed by the Copernicus Sentinel Data Terms and Conditions.

Hexagon grid

Map Impact is utilising the H3 Hexagonal hierarchical geospatial indexing system as a foundational layer with which to define a biodiversity score that combines both the habitat type and condition of habitat. The outcomes will be displayed using this hexagonal grid, utilising Resolution 11, where the length of each edge of the hexagon are approximately 29 metres, the longest distance across the hexagon is approximately 50 metres, and the area of each hexagon is approximately 0.2 hectares. The hexabin grid is chosen since it allows for a higher degree of connectivity to best reflect the true nature of habitats, with more adjacent cells than a square grid can provide.

Condition Score Range

This can be considered both an input and a variable. The current score range is 1 to 3 to align with the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric Calculator, where condition scores are deemed “Good, Moderate, or Poor.”

Confidence Score

Each biodiversity score is assigned a confidence value based on the source of the underlying habitat layer at a specific location, alongside a comparison between satellite benchmarking and in-situ ground sample condition data. Confidence ranges from Low, Medium, High.


Map Impact’s BiodiversityView uses satellite data to provide a unique indication of biodiversity condition every 50 metres across England. The product delivers rapid screening and monitoring of biodiversity, providing end users with efficiency improvements in their ecological assessment workflows. Although the process aligns closely with the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric Calculator, it is not designed to be a replacement for ecological survey.