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GIS404 Remote Sensing – Module 2 – Aerial Photography Basics & Visual Interpretation of Aerial Photography

Building off of the overview of remote sensing and history of aerial photograph provided in Module 1, we will now learn more about the types of and techniques for interpreting aerial photography. Modules 3 and 4 will continue to focus on the use of aerial photography but expand on the material covered in the first two modules.

The first slideshow (Lecture 2a: Aerial Photography basics) provides background on the types of aerial cameras, the different types of images they capture (oblique, vertical, stereo), the types of film used by traditional cameras, and understand how resolution (spatial, spectral, temporal) applies to aerial photography. This lecture (and Chapter 4) provides students the background material that form the foundation for understanding how to use aerial photos. The second slideshow (Lecture 2b: Aerial Photo Interpretation) goes into detail about the concepts, techniques, and application of visually interpreting aerial photos. Students will learn about the methods and techniques used to visually interpret aerial photos (i.e. recognition elements). These techniques form the basis for deriving geographic features and/or land use land cover types from aerial photos (which we will do in the next lab) and that are used in a wide variety of real world applications. This lecture (and Chapter 5) provide students an overview on the concepts and techniques of visual interpretation that will be applied in this week’s lab.

In the laboratory exercise, you will learn some basic principles of interpreting features found on aerial photographs. These principles range from concepts so basic that you might never have considered them, to quite obvious ideas, and finally some more advanced techniques.

Module 2 Topics

Topics covered in module 2, include:

1. Aerial Photography Basics

  • Types of Cameras
  • Types of Film
  • Types of Products

2. Basics of Visual (i.e. manual) Interpretation

  • Recognition Elements: 
    • shape, color, size, texture, pattern, shadow
    • Site and Association
  • Examples of Applications of Remote Sensing 
  • Forestry Interpretation Case Study
  • Sources for Aerial Photography

Module 2 Student Learning Outcomes

When you complete this module, you should be able to:

  • Recall the major types of aerial photos/cameras
  • Recall the types of films, resolution and products generally produced from aerial photos
  • Recall case study examples of the visual interpretation of aerial photos
  • Recall how to use various recognition elements to visually interpret aerial photographs

By the end of this lab, you should be able to:

  • Interpret the tone and texture of aerial photographs
  • Identify land features in an aerial photograph based on several visual attributes
  • Compare similar land features in true color and false color infrared (IR) photographs

INSC 553 Assignment 1: Career Pathfinder

IS 553 Assignment 1 is a career pathfinder.

Volunteer Service to National Amphibian Conservation Organization Highlighted

Along with volunteering as the webmaster for SEPARC, I volunteer to help out with content management tasks for the national Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) web site.

Mostly, I post new job opportunities to the PARC jobs board. If jobs are particularly interesting or relevant to the Southeast, I’ll post them on the Southeast PARC (SEPARC) Facebook Page that I help manage, which then is linked to that organization’s Twitter.

This volunteer work not only helps out the animals, but helps me keep my HTML and social media skills up-to-date, and lets me add experience with the Joomla content management system to my list of skills.

Visit PARC’S website at! The website has been updated and new content has been added. In particular, see the new information under Resources, including a new Department of Defense PARC (DoD PARC) link regarding our new initiative with military instal- lation natural resource personnel to provide stewardship for threatened and endangered herpetofauna. You can also join our announcement listserv to stay up-to-date on PARC and partner happenings. Check it out! PARC thanks JD Willson (University of Arkansas) and Tanner Jessel (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) for their volunteer time to keep our website up to date and attractive, and to Brian Todd (University of California, Davis) for maintaining our listserv!

Read more about PARC in the 2012 Annual Report linked here <>.