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Definition: Aerial photographs

Land Use/Land Cover

Aerial photographs are black and white or colour pictures of the earth's surface taken by a film camera onboard an airplane, helicopter or balloon (NASA 1999).

It is important to distinguish between the terms "images" and "photographs" in remote sensing. An image refers to any pictorial representation, regardless of what wavelengths or remote sensing device has been used to detect and record the electromagnetic energy. A photograph refers specifically to images that have been detected as well as recorded on photographic film (Canadian Center for Remote Sensing 1999).

Types of aerial photographs:

- Black and white;
- Colour infrared film;
- Orthophoto.
Eurostat, "Manual of concepts on land cover and land use information systems (2000 Edition)", Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2001