Friday, October 27, 2006

Aerial photo and GIS developments

There were so many great sessions in Pittsburgh. Here are a few that I especially remember.

Clarence Neese from Orbis discussed how organizations could save time and money by using online mapping systems such as Google maps, Microsoft's Local Live , or Yahoo! Maps to display their data. Using the API's or programming interfaces provided they then only have to build an interface for their own data needs. Their are also other pay services, such as ESRI's that provide mapping data and an interfaces. Organizations save by not needing to support a large database of imagery. Also, they can deliver products over the internet. The world of GIS is advancing rapidly.

Later I visited the ORBIS booth and asked them if traditional film-based aerial photography was still common. I was surprised to learn that digital sensors are rapidly becoming more common. They are now fast enough and have storage capacity to hold full flight runs. This digital data can be used in many applications with little processing. I was concerned about the loss of stereoscopic viewing with digital, but it is easy enough to use a DEM (digital elevation model) to display the data in 3-D and from any angle! I really need to evaluate what we're doing in the Aerial Photo Interpretation course. Here's the Orbis web site:

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