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History of Aerial Maps, Surveys and Photography

Before I get into the history of aerial maps (aka aerial survey), it would be informative to give a brief definition:

Aerial mapping/surveying is a system of collecting information from the air by using aerial photography or remote sensing technology. This is normally doneby using kites, planes, balloons and satellites.

These maps and surveys are used for many different reasons, from archaeology to real estate to wildlife tracking.

Recently, technology has brought about orthophotography. The orthophotograph is an aerial photograph that has been corrected for the curvature of the earth. In other words, putting a round surface on a flat surface.

The History Of Aerial Maps

1840 - Photography is used for topographic surveying.

1858 - French photographer,Gasper Nadar rides in a hot air balloon and takes the first aerial photographs of Paris at 1,200 feet.

1860 - Boston is photographed from a hot air balloon by James Wallace.

1860's - Balloons used for reconnaissance and surveillance during the Civil War.

1887 - Forests are used in experiments in aerial photography by the Germans.

1889 - The first aerial photograph by kite is taken by Frenchman, Arthur Batut in Labruguiere.

1903 - Julius Neubronne develops and patents the breast mounted pigeon camera while the Bavarian Pidgeon Corp uses pidgeons to transmit meassages and take serial photos.

1906 - Using a compressed air rocket, Albert Maul takes aerial photographs at 2,600 ft. The camera is ejected and parachutes back to earth.

1909 - While in Italy trying to sell planes to the Italian govt for their Northern Africa campaigns, Wilbur Wright takes aerial photographs and motion pictures from a plane.

1918 - The French aerial units use aerial photographs and surveys by the thousands, up to 10,000 a nite. Production of aerial cameras increases. Canadian Forestry Mapping program begins in 1919.

1934 - The American Society of Photogrammetry founded to advance the field of aerial photography.

1940 - WWII increases tremendously the sophistication of aerial photos and maps.

1946 - First space photographs from V-2 rockets.

1957 - The launching of Sputnik defines the beginning of satellite imagery.

1960 - Current - Dozens of satellites launched with newer technology, over time creating brilliant online aerial maps whereby an individual can sit at a desk with a computer and bring up virtually any spot on the Earth using digital aerial photography, such as Google Earth.

Ted Schmidt owns and operates while living in the Sunshine State of Florida.

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