Photogrammetry Introduction l Projects l Camera Systems l Aircraft l Image Interpretation Systems l The Digital Age
From 1979 to 2005, we surveyed dolphin schools in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) from a Hughes 500D helicopter stationed aboard the NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan. The ship was outfitted with its own helipad, which allowed us to survey hundreds of miles offshore, and immediately take advantage of sightings made by the shipboard observer team.
After decades of faithful service, the Hughes 500D was retired from the NOAA fleet in 2005. Our missions in the ETP continue, and for STAR 2006, we made the switch to a NOAA Twin Otter for this work.
In 2004, we ventured to one of the most remote field sites on earth - Antarctica. The bright orange helicopter pictured here is an H65 operated by the US Coast Guard at McMurdo Station (provided for our project by the National Science Foundation). Since our belly-mounted camera system was impossible to use on this aircraft, we used a digital camera. Here, expedition team member Don LeRoi leans out the side of the helicopter, pausing to smile between taking photographs. (He is tethered for safety.) This mission yielded exciting data that indicate a new subspecies of Killer Whale in Antarctic waters.
For marine mammal surveys along the California coast, we frequently use an Observer model Partenavia. This aircraft has a Plexiglas nose, which makes it ideal for making passes over marine mammals on haul outs or at sea.