Locating the Glide Paths of Flying Squirrels

In 2015, Gispo produced an analysis of potential flying squirrel glide paths for the City of Espoo. The analysis was based on laser scanned data and the results were visualised as maps, which may be used to support city planning and to target fieldwork to specific areas.

Supporting decision making

In a built environment, flying squirrels struggle to find a route from tree to tree. In particular, wide highways without suitable rest areas obstruct the animals’ routes. Digital elevation and vegetation models built using laser scanned data and a specific calculation model were used to identify potential obstructions and crossing points. A model was developed to determine the effect of the forests’ height on the probability of a successful glide from one tree to another. The goal of the project was to support the ability of Espoo’s public administration representatives to recognize the crossing points used by flying squirrels by utilizing digital vegetation and elevation models. The project was awarded second place in the City of Espoo’s innovation competition.

Open data

Data processing, refinement, analysis and visualisation were done using a PostgreSQL database with the PostGIS extension, GDAL/OGR library and the QGIS geographic information system. The City of Espoo published the project’s geospatial data analysis results as open data on the National Treasury’s avoindata.fi web service.

Our role in the project:

  • Developing a calculation model
  • Implementing the geospatial data analysis
  • Processing the data
  • Visualising the results of the analysis

Read more (in Finnish): News article on Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company