Aerial Videography: An Alternative to

Small Format Aerial Photography


Emmanuel S. Bate, Ronald O. del Rosario, Pedro P. Peralta, Jr. and Armie Jean H. Perez





The use of remote sensing, particularly aerial photographs, has been a standard tool for exploration and natural resource mapping during the last 3 decades or so. With the advent of high-resolution satellite borne sensors, some predicted the eventual demise of aerial photogrammetry during the last decade. But contrary to this prediction, the need for low altitude remote sensing data persisted. Among the reasons for this phenomenon is the specific utility of aerial photographs, the immediate availability of the data and cost efficiency. 

The use of small format aerial photography for resource inventory is in fact growing over the years. With the rapid advances in video technology, magnetic and digital tapes are now popular medium for photography/videography. Locally, use of aerial videography for resource mapping and assessment is increasing.  The method was initially used in the mid 1980ís for forest inventory, in 1991 to document the effects of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, land use and forest mapping of Subic forest protected area, marine wildlife surveys, coastal survey of Samar and Leyte and others. Common to these early surveys is that video cameras are handheld to acquire oblique images.

The need for rapid and low cost mapping of Tubbataha Reef by the Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas (KKP), a local NGO involved in marine conservation, led SEASTEMS to develop the use of vertically mounted video camera on an aircraft to acquire vertical aerial images.  Through the use of GPS technology and off the shelf computer graphics software, a mosaic of the 35,000-hectare reef was prepared from the video footages. This mosaic was used as a basis for mapping the various reef habitats. Subsequently, this method was used to cover a portion of Mactan Island for land cover mapping.

These two experiences exhibited the advantages of this method of small format aerial photography. These are: low cost of acquiring aerial images; uncomplicated method of acquiring images; the method is able to deal with limitations caused by cloud cover; and finally, data is immediately available.  Its use for geological assessment has not yet been explored but hopefully someone from the geologic community will pick the method and improve on the technology.

To get the whole report , please call (633-9025) or email us: 

Geological Society of the Philippines

Unit 250, 2nd Floor, Cityland Pioneer,

128 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Tel: +(63-2) 633-9025