Low Cost Amateur Aerial Pictures with Balloon and Digital Camera - Main Users / Purpose

files/images_static/user.jpg Provincial, District, Municipal and Community Planners or related development projects, local line departments, private sector, Natural Resource Mangement, Buffer Zone Management, Rural Developement, Urban Land Valuation and related fields on a similar scale.

Airborne photography and photogrammetry has been a platform for technological improvements and innovations ever since and it was just a question of time to combine balloons, ultra lights and other flying objects such as kites with digital remote observation technology. Major differences between traditional airborne photogrammetry and digital amateur orthophoto gathering technique are the utilization of low budget technology which is easy to transport and handle as well as appropriate under many circumstances with suitable calm weather conditions.

The aim of this methodology is to incorporate and geo-reference unregistered data from a balloon or ultra light born aerial photography to a coordinate system topographical map. The resolution quality of low-altitude aerial photography far exceeds that of other surface imagery such as Spot or even Ikonos satellite imagery, making it a valuable tool for urban planners, environmental scientists and nature protectionists. Detailed spatial information below 1m pixel resolution such as vegetation associations or housing types is not detectable on inexpensive but larger airborne imagery while high resolution Quickbird images are often not available or cloud covered for many regions. Detailed construction types and multi-temporal spatial features such as vegetation vitality and small scale clearings are not easily to detect on conventional satellite imagery. Due to geo-referenced aerial photos these features could easily be digitized into separate layers using GIS mapping techniques. However, amateur aerial photos do not generate compass orientation nor any spatial reference information or exact scale. Geo-referencing or ortho-referencing methods needs to be applied, i. e. using referencing tools in ArcMap which allows the user to align geographically unregistered data to data that exists in geographical coordinates.