December 2016 | National Drones

Evolving Aerial Photography

Believe it or not aerial photography dates back to 1858, when French photographer and balloonist Gasper Tourachon experimented and patented the idea. Unfortunately Tourachon’s photos no longer exist, however his idea of taking photos from the sky has since been successfully developed utalising a multitude of flight methods.

Gradually, as improvements in photographic technology were made, it was easier to take cameras into the skies. Besides hot air balloons, early pioneers also used kites, pigeons and rockets to carry their cameras.

In 1860 James Black became known for this famous aerial photography of Boston from a hot air balloon.

In 1882 Archibald used a kite with a camera attached. In 1903 Julius Nebranner thought it would be a good idea to strap a tiny camera to the breast of carrier pigeons, but quickly discovered that the flight path was not always reliable, however.

The first successful aerial photograph from a rocket mounted camera was taken by the Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel in 1897. He is best known nowadays for the Nobel prize.

During the first world war, aerial photography replaced sketches and cameras were specially designed for planes in order to produce battle maps. Interestingly, by the end of the war, the entire front was being recorded twice a day.

After the war, the business of aerial photography quickly developed. In 1921 Sherman Fairchild took a series of overlapping aerial photographs and made an aerial map of Manhattan Island. This aerial map was a huge commercial success and was used by several New York City businesses. The popularity of aerial surveys quickly followed as it was faster and much less expensive than a ground survey. Aerial photography was shown to have multiple civilian uses and was proven to be a successful commercial venture.

Today aerial photography cameras are mostly digital and mounted on remotely piloted aircraft. Stablising gimbles have been developed to counteract the movement of aircraft and images are now of exceptional quality. High-resolution aerial views can now be delivered right to a client’s desktop on the day of shooting. Aerial Photography is now days in wide-spread use for a diverse set of commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.

National Drones continues the development of aerial photography with high definition imaging, 3D modelling and digital thermography as just some of the applications made affordably accessible through remotely piloted aircraft operations.

The Power of Aerial Photography

Australia is one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world according to the Bureau of Statistics.’  Population data clock the number of people in Australia at 24 million and apparently most of the recent population growth has occurred in the major cities such as Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. This urban shift in the last decade made Australia’s major cities home to almost 80 per cent of the Australian population.

More often are infrastructure development projects impacting peoples’ business and everyday life. People want to influence the decisions on whether proposed projects get the green light or not. However, infrastructure projects can be very complex and hard to grasp and it can be difficult for some people to visualise dimentions and finished products just by looking at engineering drawings and maps.

Aerial photography can improve situational awareness and reduces speculative ideas and false perceptions. It can be an effective strategy for establishing and maintaining necessary common ground. Powerful aerial imagery can be a key component of effective community consultation through high-resolution aerial photography that can help government body representatives and/or property developers to communicate the benefits of urban infrastructure projects in various ways. For example, a bird’s eye view of a location can help all stakeholders subscribe to a new point of view.

Before and after comparisons utalising aerial views, combined with location data also provides powerful insights that are not possible to obtain from the ground level. Previous and current imagery comparison of a project location is also an effective way to emphasise the positive aspects of a project.

National Drones are specialists of aerial photography and have developed an Australia wide team of fully insured, CASA certified, professional UAV controllers, operating across the country.