State of the art system to control urban growthThe Balearic Ministry for Public Works will next year be using the very latest technology to map the Balearics from the air. The regional government here in the Balearics, has split the cost of purchasing the customised and especially equipped Cessna 421 Golden Eagle II light plane with the Canaries, Navarra and it is hoped eventually Madrid, - that way the costs are shared and the plane will be in constant use, rotating amongst the three regions. The plane was actually bought from an American millionaire and then equipped with some two million pesetas worth of the latest GPS satellite and photographic equipment in Kansas. The lens on the special camera is worth 60 million euros, hence the plane is fitted with a six million euro windscreen to protect the valuable precision camera equipment. In the past, the mapping operation was carried out every five years - but with the new plane and equipment, the operation will be mounted every two years and some of the charts and maps taken can also be used for urban development control. In the Balearics however, work can only be carried out between March and May. Firstly because the weather conditions are more suitable than in the winter, although June would be the ideal month for such work, and secondly, Balearic airspace is far too busy during the summer for this kind of precision work to be carried out. The government intends to use the findings of the three dimensional mapping to keep a close watch on urban sprawl, illegal construction, coastal erosion, pollution and the environment.
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