Photogrammetry Introduction l Projects l Camera Systems l Aircraft l Image Interpretation Systems l The Digital Age
The Digital Age
We are moving slowly into the digital age for our data collection. So far, the adaptation of this new technology to our work has been limited by the size of the sensors and the ability of the cameras to rapidly move large amounts of data. To photograph animals in large aggregations, we require images covering large areas at very high levels of resolution. The old film cameras still have the lead in this area. (See footprint comparison below. Image shot with 3 inch lens.)
We have successfully used smaller format digital cameras to sample killer whales in the Antarctic. Members of our team, with scientists at NMML, recently completed field work in Alaska in a study designed to compare the efficacy of film vs. digital imagery for aerial photogrammetric survey of marine mammals. The rookeries and haul outs of Steller Sea Lions were our survey subjects on this project. Preliminary results indicate that with the addition of a rocking mount to provide forward image motion compensation, the resolution of the digital images is competitive with those from the old film systems. Unfortunately, the footprint of the digital image is still the limiting factor.
Clearly, we need to move forward with the transition into the digital age. The films we use, and some of the camera components, are becoming scarce. As the expense associated with making and processing large format film increases, we are finding it more difficult to justify our commitment to film-based systems. All we need are digital cameras with larger chips, coupled with the ability to move the data from larger images at a faster rate, to get us to leave these old systems behind.