Modelling Light

Our scientists can build a unique, project-specific light model to accurately and precisely represent the intensities, wavelengths and overall spatial visibility of your project's lighting. We can:

  • Help inform planning decisions before development by modelling the proposed lighting design;
  • Model the reduction in intensity and visibility with distance from the light source;
  • Predict if light spill from your project will be visible to threatened wildlife at sensitive habitat;
  • Determine the visibility of direct light and glow to wildlife at nearby sensitive habitat;
  • Categorize future lighting development/changes to project and compare with baseline light monitoring; and
  • Offer guidance on overcoming any environmental impact identified by the modelling.

Do you need to understand predicted light emissions as seen from the view of a sensitive receptor?

Method: Panoramic All-Sky Imagery

Purpose: Determine light intensity across the hemisphere 'as viewed' by an observer at a specific area of interest (e.g. sensitive habitat) and height.

Application: Using site-specific data to determine project-related brightness from an observers perspective. A panoramic image of the site from the observer's location and height is generated using available topography data and a scenario of the proposed project's lighting inventory. This modelling can incorporate Sky42 imagery as a baseline/benchmark to apply the modelled results to and visualise the cumulative light output (i.e. current light + proposed project light). The cumulative light outputs can also be shown with, or without, proposed light mitigation measures, allowing their effectiveness at controlling light to be quantified (and visualised). 

Output: Panoramic images (360° wide by 90° high) showing light intensity visible across the entire horizon and sky from an observer location. One panorama can be created for different lighting inventory scenarios or zones specific to the project and allow comparison between proposed mitigation measures such as shielding of lights or changes in wavelength or lumen output.

Do you need to predict light emissions over a large area?

Method: Broadscale Heatmap

Purpose: To predict the impact of artificial light from a project site on the natural night sky over a wide area.

Application: Uses a generated lighting inventory of a project site to predict the impact of light emissions on the visibility of the night sky (overhead) as seen by humans over an area of interest. Useful for understanding light emissions on a regional scale as well as providing relevant data for IDA Dark Sky Place applications.

Output: An interpolated heatmap showing the intensity of light over the area of interest. One map is generated for each given scenario (e.g. Scenario 1 - all lights on, Scenario 2 - some lights off).

Do you need to understand line-of-sight visibility of lights from a sensitive habitat area?

Method: Viewshed Analysis

Purpose: Determine if lights from a project site will be directly visible from an area of interest.

Application: Using the location and height of lights, in addition to topography data, we can run a simple analysis using GIS to determine how many of the lights will be directly visible, where the light will be visible, and how much of a sensitive habitat area is exposed to the light.

Output: A map showing those areas that have visibility of specific project-related lights.