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Open source GIS optimise aerial photo archive

Open source GIS optimise aeri…

Published on: 20/02/2014 News Archived

An archive of 170,000 aerial photographs intended for geographic research is made publicly available thanks to the open source QGIS geographic information system. The photo archive is managed by the Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection of Turin, Italy. A report on the use of QGIS for the archive was published last month on the QGIS website. "QGIS features and plugins allowed developing tools and procedures to optimise the archive."

The report, by Danilo and Franco Godone, explains how the use of QGIS and specialised plugins including Event Visualization Tool and Processing, allowed the institute to make the collection fully accessible.

The oldest aerial photograph in the archive of Turin's geo-hydrological institute dates from the 1920s, the authors write. The institute combines aerial photographs with field surveys, historical records and models, to study geological and hydrological features of the Alpine-Po river system in the north of Italy. It allows the institute to monitor natural disasters.

Serial numbers

The use of the open source QGIS software helped the Turin researchers cope with the large amount of records in its archive. Next to digitising the many aerial photographs, the researchers also scanned the corresponding maps displaying the flight plan for the photographs. "Files were named according to a code including map sheet, year of acquisition, strip number, the aerial photograph's serial number and code of property."

To help researchers and others deal with the amount of data, a search interface was developed, using the QGIS tools. It allows a user to choose administrative boundaries, map sheets and rivers, select a certain feature, and to find the corresponding aerial photographs and associated records.


More information:

Qgis case study on the Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection of Turin
The Research Institute for Geo-hydrological Protection (IRPI)
IRPI's aerial photo archive