Aerial Photography


aerial photography is an act of taking a picture of a ground from a raised surface. The camera is not supported by any structure from the surface of the earth. Aerial photography uses the following platforms helicopter, rockets, multirotor, aircraft, balloons, dirigibles, parachutes, pigeons and standalone telescoping. This photography should not be confused the air to air photography.

Types of aerial photography

There are two main branches that are oblique aerial photograph and vertical aerial photography. Oblique are taken from an aircraft from an angle while vertical are taken from directly above and provide a flat image.


They provide a pictorial with the current ground view that is better than any map can offer. it is readily obtained, it can be in the hands of the user just hours after it has been taken unlike a map that would take a long time to prepare. It enables people to get pictures and maps of places that are inaccessible to the ground soldiers. It shows features of the earth that do not show in the maps hence giving more information. With them day to day comparisons can be made of different places making it possible to monitor activities of the enemy. It also provides a record that is objective and permanent of the day to day activities of an area. These photographs offers a bird's eye view for a ground for the human being it also offers an instantaneous view that is used to observe rapid actions such as moving population, vehicles and floods. Finally the aerial photographs offer a permanent recording of the current situation and it provides a basis for drawing maps.


With aerial photographs it is hard to identify and interpret ground features as they are mostly obscured by other details on the ground such as buildings in the wooded areas. The position, scale and location are not exact they are just approximates. They do not show detailed variations of terrain features unless an overlapping photography is used to identify them. It is hard to use the photograph in poor lighting due to lack of tone and contrasting colours. Aerial photograph also lack marginal data and it always requires training to be in a position to interpret them as compared to a map.


They are used by humanitarians in disaster control, prevention and reduction. They help in response mechanisms and improve the rate of response since one knows the level of damage and how to navigate the area. They are used in protecting the natural environment which includes wildlife and nature. By giving documentation of changes taking place over time awareness is created over our nature and wildlife. They are also used in cartography and geography as they play an important role in the map making process. They provide the description of the earth hence promoting the study of geography. They are used in engineering and urban planning, the information they provide is used by the developers, engineers and planners.