Aerial Photography: A Brief History

Aerial imaging or aerial photography means taking images of the surface of the earth from an elevated position this can be done using different platforms which includes satellites drones, airplanes and other platforms. This was not always the case before airplanes satellites or drones were invented people used other aerial photography platforms like balloons rockets and even pigeons now let’s take a look at how aerial photography evolved over the years before we talk about some of the earliest aerial photography platforms.

The world’s first photograph or at least the oldest surviving photo was taken by joseph Nisifornieps in 1826 or 1827. He captured a photo using a technique known as heliography. The shot was taken from an upstairs window at Napes’s estate in burgundy in 1858 Gaspar Felix Nadar was credited as the first person to successfully take an aerial photograph from a hot air balloon 262 feet over petite clam art just outside Paris. However his original photos have been lost in 1903 Alfred Maul a German engineer patented the maul camera rocket the camera would be launched in the air with a black powder rocket after reaching an altitude of about 600 to 800 meters the rocket would open and the camera would descend with a parachute and a timer would trigger the taking of a photograph the first known photo taken from an aircraft was taken by Bon William over Lamont’s in France with an airplane piloted by none other than one of the Wright brothers Wilbur wright himself and the emergence of the cold war came with the u2 spy plane which first took flight in August of 1955 the cold war also saw the emergence of the space race which came with an acceleration in the development of space technology. In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite into elliptical low earth orbit .the sputnik one in April 1960 the TIROS. One spacecraft was launched by NASA as the first successful low earth orbital weather satellite. in 1965 the director of the USGS William Pecora proposed the idea of an imaging satellite program to gather facts about the natural resources of our planet seven years later the LANDSAT mission was launched leading a new age of remote sensing of land and space.

Since then aerial imaging has rapidly progressed and is now commonly referred to as remote sensing various countries have launched several Remote Sensing satellites over the years and in the past few years we have seen the emergence of unmanned aerial vehicle UAVs or Drones being used for aerial photography aerial imaging continues to develop rapidly and it is exciting to imagine what it will look in 30 years time.


About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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