Abstract

Some of the most important applications of the optical sciences are in the taking of aerial photographs of the earth’s surface and in the extraction of data from them. This article is intended to serve both as an introduction for the articles following it in this issue and as a summary of the factors that must be considered in the taking and interpretation of aerial photographs. Special emphasis is placed on the means by which photographic images of high quality can be obtained and viewed in order to facilitate the data extraction process A summary of the more important current applications of aerial photography in the earth sciences and life sciences also is provided.

© 1966 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. R. N. Colwell, Ed., Manual of Photographic Interpretation, American Society of Photogrammetry (George Banta Co., Menasha, Wisc., 1960).
  2. A. Chapanis, Am. Scientist 53, 327 (1965).
  3. R. N. Colwell, Am. Scientist 49, 9 (1961).
  4. R. M. Evans, An Introduction to Color (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York1948).
  5. R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).
  6. Alan M. Feder, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 618 (1960).
  7. Henry L. Hackforth, Infrared Radiation (McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 1960).
  8. M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).
  9. L. E. Newbry, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 630 (1960).
  10. C. H. Suits, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 763 (1960).

1965 (1)

A. Chapanis, Am. Scientist 53, 327 (1965).

1963 (1)

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

1961 (1)

R. N. Colwell, Am. Scientist 49, 9 (1961).

1960 (3)

Alan M. Feder, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 618 (1960).

L. E. Newbry, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 630 (1960).

C. H. Suits, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 763 (1960).

Brewer, W.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Chapanis, A.

A. Chapanis, Am. Scientist 53, 327 (1965).

Colwell, R. N.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

R. N. Colwell, Am. Scientist 49, 9 (1961).

Evans, R. M.

R. M. Evans, An Introduction to Color (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York1948).

Feder, Alan M.

Alan M. Feder, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 618 (1960).

Hackforth, Henry L.

Henry L. Hackforth, Infrared Radiation (McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 1960).

Holter, M. R.

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

Landis, G.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Langley, P.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Morgan, J.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Newbry, L. E.

L. E. Newbry, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 630 (1960).

Nudelman, S.

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

Rinker, J.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Robinson, J. M.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Sorem, A. L.

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Suits, C. H.

C. H. Suits, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 763 (1960).

Suits, G. H.

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

Wolfe, W. L.

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

Zissis, G.

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

Am. Scientist (2)

A. Chapanis, Am. Scientist 53, 327 (1965).

R. N. Colwell, Am. Scientist 49, 9 (1961).

Photogrammetric Eng. (4)

L. E. Newbry, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 630 (1960).

C. H. Suits, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 763 (1960).

R. N. Colwell, W. Brewer, G. Landis, P. Langley, J. Morgan, J. Rinker, J. M. Robinson, A. L. Sorem, Photogrammetric Eng. 19, 761 (1963).

Alan M. Feder, Photogrammetric Eng. 26, 618 (1960).

Other (4)

Henry L. Hackforth, Infrared Radiation (McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York, 1960).

M. R. Holter, S. Nudelman, G. H. Suits, W. L. Wolfe, G. Zissis, Fundamentals of Infrared Technology (The Macmillan Co., New York, 1962).

R. M. Evans, An Introduction to Color (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York1948).

R. N. Colwell, Ed., Manual of Photographic Interpretation, American Society of Photogrammetry (George Banta Co., Menasha, Wisc., 1960).

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Figures (10)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

This stereo pair of vertical aerial photographs illustrates the importance of tone contrast, sharpness, and stereoscopic parallax in the aerial photointerpretation of various kinds of objects and conditions. For further explanation see text. (Readers having the ability to study this figure stereoscopically should do so, to facilitate their interpretation of it. The same applies to Figs. 2 and 6 of this article.)

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Stereogram of a three-dimensional model designed to illustrate how vertical aerial photography is taken. Rays extending from the aircraft to the ground indicate the area covered from each camera station. Note that the areas photographed on successive exposures within the line of flight overlap each other by about 60%, and that the areas photographed on successive flight lines overlap each other by about 30%.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

The field of applied optics is of importance, not only in the taking of aerial photography, but also in the viewing of it. See text for a discussion of the use of this Balplex dichromatic projection plotter and accompanying anaglyph spectacles for viewing the terrain three-dimensionally, measuring heights and slopes, and delineating contours.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

This is a simulated satellite photograph of the type obtainable from earth-orbital altitudes. Note the ease with which certain geologic and vegetation features of the landscape can be discerned.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Careful on-the-ground checking has established that only two soil types and two vegetation types are encountered in the sizable area shown on this vertical aerial photograph. As indicated by the annotations, an almost perfect coincidence was found between the soil and vegetation boundaries. A 129.5 sq km area in California’s Coast Range recently was checked in similar fashion. It was found that more than 80% of the significant soil boundaries in this area could be readily mapped by photointerpretation because of their close coincidence with easily discerned vegetation boundaries.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

On this large scale vertical stereogram taken from a helicopter, the most important tree species (fir, cedar, and hemlock) are accurately identifiable. Tree heights frequently can be determined more accurately from stereoscopic parallax measurements on photos such as these than from conventional on-the-ground measurements. On the left center of this stereogram, a small, gas-filled balloon raised from the ground to slightly above tree-top level facilitates the location of sample plots such as this by the helicopter pilot and photographer. By image comparison, the photointerpreter can extrapolate information he has obtained from large scale photography such as this and apply it to sizable adjacent areas of similar appearance for which only small scale photography is available.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Photo taken during the fall aerial count of an antelope band near Swan Lake, Sheldon National Antelope Refuge, Cedarville, California, just prior to start of fall migration to the wintering area. Aerial photos such as this are used routinely in the inventory of certain kinds of gregarious animals.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

A useful first step in the aerial photo identification of agricultural crops is that of classifying the entire agricultural area, field-by-field, into six major crop categories, as shown here. These same six categories prove both necessary and sufficient in virtually every agricultural region of the world.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

For portraying gross landforms and drainage features, radar imagery such as this is unexcelled. More than 62 sq km of the NASA Forestry Test Site in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California can be seen here at a glance. Although the steep north-facing canyon walls are clearly imaged here, they are poorly seen on conventional aerial photography because they are rarely sunlit. When a long wavelength, active system such as radar is used, imagery of this quality is obtainable both day and night and regardless of weather. This imagery was obtained under contract to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by the Aero Space Division of Westinghouse Corporation, Baltimore, Maryland. Outlined area appears on the front cover of this issue.

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

A conventional panchromatic photo (top) and sequential thermal ir photos of a target array. Included in the target array are representative soil, rock, and vegetation types from various NASA test sites in California. The thermal infrared photos, taken at the times of day indicated, illustrate the potential usefulness of tonal cross-overs for determining the thermal inertia of each type of object and condition. This would seem to offer an exciting new dimension for the interpretation of remote sensing imagery, as discussed in the text. The thermal ir photos shown here were taken in the 8 to 14 μ band, using an ir camera of the Barnes Engineering Co., mounted in a fixed position on the catwalk of a 49.75-m water tower.

Tables (1)

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Table I Major Factors Governing the Quality of Photographic Images

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