Small-Format Aerial Photography

Small-Format Aerial Photography

Principles, Techniques and Geoscience Applications

1st Edition - May 28, 2010
  • Authors: James Aber, Irene Marzolff, Johannes Ries
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444638236
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080932835

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As the need for geographical data rapidly expands in the 21st century, so too do applications of small-format aerial photography for a wide range of scientific, commercial and governmental purposes. Small-format Aerial Photography (SFAP) presents basic and advanced principles and techniques with an emphasis on digital cameras. Unmanned platforms are described in considerable detail, including kites, helium and hot-air blimps, model airplanes, and paragliders. Several case studies, primarily drawn from the geosciences, are presented to demonstrate how SFAP is actually used in various applications. Many of these integrate SFAP with ground-based investigations as well as conventional large-format aerial photography, satellite imagery, and other kinds of geographic information.

Key Features

  • Full-color photographs throughout
  • Case studies from around the globe
  • Techniques presented allow for image resolution impossible to match via traditional aerial photography or satellite datasets
  • Glossary clarifies key terms


Researchers and students in the fields of remote sensing, GIS, resource management, and aerial photography

Table of Contents


    Part I

    Chapter 1: Introduction to small-format aerial photography

    1-1. Overview

    1-2. Brief history

    1-2.1. 19th century

    1-2.2. 20th century

    1-3. Photography and imagery

    1-4. Conventional aerial photography

    1-5. Small-format aerial photography

    1-6. Summary

    Chapter 2: Basic principles of SFAP

    2-1. Remote sensing

    2-1.1. Ideal remote sensing

    2-1.2. Actual SFAP

    2-2. Common aspects of SFAP

    2-2.1. Image vantage

    2-2.2. Photographic scale and resolution

    2-2.3. Relief displacement

    2-2.4. Stereoscopic images

    2-3. Photographic storage

    2-4. Summary

    Chapter 3: Photogrammetry

    3-1. Introduction

    3-2. Geometry of single photographs

    3-2.1. Vertical photography

    3-2.2. Tilted photography

    3-2.3. Interior orientation

    3-2.4. Exterior orientation

    3-3. Geometry of stereophotographs

    3-3.1. Principle of stereoscopic viewing

    3-3.2. Base-height ratio and stereoscopic coverage

    3-3.3. 3D measurements from stereomodels

    3-3.4. Creating stereomodels with aerial triangulation by bundle-block adjustment

    3-4. Quantitative analysis of photographs

    3-4.1. Measuring and mapping from single photographs

    3-4.2. Manual measuring and mapping from stereomodels

    3-4.3. Automatic DEM extraction from stereomodels

    3-5. Summary

    Chapter 4: Lighting and atmospheric conditions

    4-1. Introduction

    4-2. Multiview-angle effects

    4-3. Bidirectional reflectance distribution function

    4-4. Multispectral effects

    4-5. Latitude and seasonal conditions

    4-6. Clouds

    4-7. Shadows

    4-8. Summary

    Chapter 5: Photographic composition

    5-1. Introduction

    5-2. Basic elements of photographic composition

    5-2.1. Oblique and vertical views

    5-2.2. Linear features

    5-2.3. Image depth

    5-2.4. Pattern and texture

    5-2.5. Color

    5-3. Combining compositional elements

    5-4. Photographs vs. human vision

    5.5. Summary

    Part II

    Chapter 6: Cameras for SFAP

    6-1. Introduction

    6-2. Film camera basics

    6-3. Digital camera basics

    6-3.1. Types of digital cameras

    6-3.2. Image sensors

    6-3.3. Image file formats

    6-4. Camera geometry and light

    6-4.1. Focal length

    6-4.2. Lens aperture

    6-4.3. Shutter speed

    6-4.4. Film speed or ISO rating

    6-4.5. Camera exposure settings

    6-4.6. Image degradation

    6-5. Color-infrared photography

    6-6. Camera capabilities for SFAP

    6-6.1. Camera lens

    6-6.2. Image sensor

    6-6.3. File format

    6-6.4. Camera type

    6-6.5. Camera calibration

    6-7. Summary

    Chapter 7: Camera mounting systems

    7-1. Introduction

    7-2. Camera operation

    7-3. Detachable mounts

    7-3.1. Single-camera suspended rigs

    7-3.2. Multiple-camera suspended rigs

    7-3.3. Attaching suspendable mounts to a platform

    7-3.4. Detactable modular unit mounts

    7-4. Fixed mounts

    7-5. Summary

    Chapter 8: Platforms for SFAP

    8-1. Introduction

    8-2. Manned light-sport aircraft

    8-2.1. Powered light-sport aircraft

    8-2.2. Unpowered light-sport aircraft

    8-3. Lighter-than-air platforms

    8-3.1. Lifting gases

    8-3.2. Helium blimp

    8-3.3. Hot-air blimp

    8-4. Kite aerial photography

    8-4.1. Kites for SFAP

    8-4.2. Kite-flying equipment

    8-4.3. Ground operations

    8-5. Drones for SFAP

    8-5.1. Basic model airplane

    8-5.2. Autopiloted model airplane

    8-5.3. Powered paraglider

    8-6. Pros and cons of different platforms

    8-7. Summary

    Chapter 9: SFAP survey planning and implementation

    9-1. Introduction

    9-2. Travel and equipment logistics

    9-3. Site accessibility and characteristics

    9-3.1. Local site accessibility

    9-3.2. Flight obstacles

    9-3.3. Local wind conditions

    9-3.4. High-altitude SFAP

    9-4. Ground Control

    9-4.1. GCP installation

    9-4.2. GCP coordinate measurement

    9-5. Flight planning considerations

    9-5.1. Image scale and resolution

    9-5.2. Stereoscopic and large-area coverage

    9-6. Flight planning example

    9-6.1. Initial calculations: Complete coverage with single image

    9-6.2. Revised calulations: Optimal image resolution

    9-6.3. Consequences for aerial survey design

    9-6.4. Ideal flightline calculation

    9-7. Flight planning for oblique SFAP

    9-8. Legal issues

    9-8.1. German regulations

    9-8.2. Regulations in the U.S. and other countries

    9-8.3. Insurance

    9-9. Summary

    Chapter 10. Image interpretation

    10-1. Introduction

    10-2. Image interpretability

    10-3. SFAP interpretation

    10-3.1. Water and drainage

    10-3.2. Geomorphology

    10-3.3. Vegetation and agriculture

    10-3.4. Cultural heritage and archaeology

    10-3.5. Soils

    10-4. Summary

    Chapter 11: Image processing and analysis

    11-1. Introduction

    11-2. Geometric correction and georeferencing

    11-2.1. Reference coordinate systems

    11-2.2. Image rectification

    11-2.3. Image mosaics

    11-3. Image enhancement

    11-3.1. Correcting lens-dependent aberrations

    11-3.2. Contrast enhancement

    11-3.3. Image filtering

    11-4. Image transformation

    11-4.1. Image ratios and vegetation indices

    11-4.2. Principal components analysis and color-space transformations

    11-5. Image classification

    11-6. Stereoviewing and photogrammetric analysis

    11-6.1. Creating simple on-screen stereoviews

    11-6.2. Using printouts under a stereoscope

    11-6.3. Digital stereoviewing

    11-6.4. Stereoscopic measuring and mapping

    11-6.5. DEM generation

    11-7. Software for SFAP analysis

    11-8. Summary

    Part III

    Chapter 12: Glacial geomorphology

    12-1. Introduction

    12-2. Glacial erosion

    12-3. Glacial deposition

    12-4. Glacial deformation

    12-5. Summary

    Chapter 13: Gully erosion monitoring

    13-1. Introduction

    13-2. Study sites and survey

    13-3. Gully mapping and change analysis

    13-4. Summary

    Chapter 14: Wetland environments

    14-1. Overview

    14-2. Raised bogs, Estonia

    14-2.1. Endla Nature Reserve

    14-2.2. Nigula Nature Reserve

    14-2.3. Discussion

    14-3. Prairie marshes and playas, Kansas

    14-3.1. Cheyenne Bottoms

    14-3.2. Dry Lake

    14-3.3. Discussion

    14-4. Summary

    Chapter 15: Biocontrol of salt cedar

    15-1. Salt cedar problem

    15-2. USBR study site

    15-3. Analysis of KAP results

    15-4. Summary

    Chapter 16: Vegetation and erosion

    16-1. Introduction

    16-2. Monitoring vegetation and erosion test sites

    16-3. Influence of grazing on vegetation cover

    16-4. Combating desertification and soil degradation

    16-5. Summary

    Chapter 17: Soil mapping and soil degradation

    17-1. Introduction

    17-2. Soils and long-term human land use

    17-3. Summary

    Chapter 18: Architecture and property management

    18-1. Introduction

    18-2. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

    18-3. Property management, Lake Kahola, Kansas

    18-4. Summary

    Chapter 19: Golf course management

    19-1. Overview

    19-2. Garden City, Kansas

    19-3. Summary




Product details

  • No. of pages: 268
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier Science 2010
  • Published: May 28, 2010
  • Imprint: Elsevier Science
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780444638236
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080932835

About the Authors

James Aber

Dr. Aber has a PhD in Geology from the University of Kansas. His interests and research experience are wide ranging in geology, tectonics, landscape evolution, wetland environments, remote sensing, aerial photography, and energy resources. He has conducted field investigations across the United States as well as Canada, Scandinavia, Central Europe and Japan. He is a distinguished professor at Emporia State University, Kansas.

Affiliations and Expertise

Emporia State University, Kansas, USA

Irene Marzolff

Dr. Marzoff is a physical geographer and remote sensing/GIS scientist holding a Ph.D. from Freiburg University, Germany. She has been working on high-resolution remote sensing methods for monitoring land degradation and erosion since 1995. She has been involved in designing and building several unmanned platforms for small-format aerial photography and has developed remote-sensing and photogrammetry-based methods for quantifying geomorphological processes in high temporal and spatial resolution. She has collaborated in numerous research projects with colleagues from Belgium, Germany, India, Morocco, Spain and the USA

Affiliations and Expertise

Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Johannes Ries

Dr. Ries holds a Ph.D. from Freiburg University, Germany. His research focusses on methodological questions regarding erosion, land degradation and desertification. His main expertise lies in experimental geomorphology, and small-format aerial and terrestrial photography has always been an integral part of his research concepts and projects. He has extensive international research cooperation and during recent years has conducted fieldwork mostly in semi-arid regions of Europe and Africa

Affiliations and Expertise

Trier University, Trier, Germany