Monday 31 October 2011

Mapping and aerial reconnaissance

Aerial imagery and mapping has had a strong relationship in the Middle East since the first ‘Pioneers’ started aerial reconnaissance in the early 20th century. When sourcing maps for this large region for archaeological research, it is often these older maps that can be the most informative. This is partly because urban development at this early period was scant and often it was the ruins of ancient structures, some that have all but since disappeared from view, that provided necessary landmarks.

Often, supplementary publication notes printed on the maps can provide additional useful information. A large amount of aerial reconnaissance and map making was undertaken by British, French, German and Australian armed forces of the areas behind enemy lines with aircraft flying in parallel lines. The details of the squadron and date of the aerial imagery used to compile the map data can be useful for tracking down the original imagery now housed in national archives.

An observer of the Royal Flying Corps in a Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c reconnaissance aircraft demonstrates a C type aerial reconnaissance camera fixed to the side of the fuselage, 1916. Image: IWM Q 33850. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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