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 An Oblique View of Terrain Mapping
Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton majored in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado and has been employed within both the LiDAR and IFSAR mapping worlds since 1998. His interests (that all appear to be tied to mapping) include blue water sailing, backcountry skiing and big mountain and downhill mountain … More »

Unfortunate Byproduct of Remote Sensing

November 22nd, 2013 by Ryan Hamilton

As remote sensing technologies become both more accurate and detailed, as well as more frequently collected and posted in public view, when will the geospatial world start to experience significant push back from civil rights groups? Just last week an image of a boy’s murder scene in California was brought to the attention of the boy’s parents causing them severe mental anguish.

The image was an aircraft-based, natural-color image taken from a low-altitude aircraft from 4 years ago, and Google has agreed to replace it as soon as possible. But, the idea that a mapping image has entered this family’s private life makes one wonder how many more situations like this will occur as the image resolution from spaceborne platforms, that can update regularly and goes beyond the 50 centimeter level, and image updates begin jumping to monthly and even daily intervals. Street view gives a good preview into the world of high resolution monitoring because the images are collected at street level so we can actually see, in detail, what is taking place.

The intent of remote sensing, and even street view, has never been to capture people and their activities, it is just an unfortunate byproduct of remotely-sensed map data. So, with the advent of even higher res remote sensing, captured to improve our understanding of the world, who knows what will actually be shown.

Category: Oblique view of terrain data

One Response to “Unfortunate Byproduct of Remote Sensing”

  1. Jack says:

    The subject image is not a “1-meter posted” image taken from a satellite-based remote-sensing system. Rather, it is an off-nadir aircraft-based natural-color image taken from a low-altitude aircraft as was done for Google Maps. Details much smaller than 1 meter can be seen in the image. And, of course, aerial imagery having this kind of imagery has been taken from aircraft since the 1930s. Nevertheless, there needs to be a quick and efficient process in place for excluding offensive aerial images that may be posted on public Web sites such as Google Maps. The best resolution available now from a satellite is 0.5 meters.

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