Bluesky’s old aerial photos help Geomatics students monitor landforms

January 09, 2013 -- Historical aerial photographs are being used by undergraduates at the UK’s Nottingham Trent University to help them understand some of the essential facets of remote sensing technology. Images from the Bluesky archive are used to demonstrate the effects of topography and other features on unprocessed aerial images and help students understand the process of orthorectification. Aerial photographs are also used for research activities, specifically the mapping and monitoring of land cover and erosion in areas of upland peat, and the identification and examination of sites of potential archaeological interest on the university campus.

“Bluesky has an extensive archive that is easily interrogated via an online search engine,” commented Dr Ben Clutterbuck, Lecturer in GIS and Remote Sensing Technologies at Nottingham Trent University. “As camera calibration data are provided with images obtained from OldAerialPhotos, we can demonstrate how orthorectification of the imagery removes distortion introduced by the camera system and varied topography.”

“Imagery supplied by Bluesky also feeds into modules examining upland geomorphological processes,” continued Dr Clutterbuck. “For example, from a recent requisition of imagery we have been able to quantify the short-term progression of a ‘bog burst’ – a mass movement of blanket peat often initiated by a rapid intense rainfall event. By feeding current research into our teaching activities we can keep module content fresh, up to date and therefore interesting.”  

The imagery supplied by Bluesky to Nottingham Trent University forms part of an historically important archive that includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photography from World War II and many national archives. Offering a record of most major UK cities and towns, transport and utility infrastructure and commercial property developments, the images are an invaluable resource for anyone with a personal or professional interest in local studies, genealogy, boundary disputes, environmental land use research or town planning.

Visitors to can search through more than a million aerial photos dating back as far as 1917 by simply entering a postcode, address or grid reference. Detailed search results, including the age and ground coverage, of every image that matches the search criteria are displayed and the visitor can choose to purchase a hard copy print, digital image file or money saving photopack.

Bluesky Tel +44 (0)1530 518 518


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