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Misleading information from direct interpretation of Geometrically Incorrect aerial photographs

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Remote sensing represents a powerful method to study the change of several phenomena over time. However, useful input data (for example, aerial photos) can produce misleading information if an inadequate geometric correction is applied. Among mathematical models used for this type of correction, orthorectification (differential correction) seems to be the only one that guarantees accurate results. However, many authors are still basing their results on incorrectly transformed images. This phenomenon is especially due to the incidence of several user-friendly tools and interfaces for the rectification of images. This paper tests both polynomial rectification and orthorectification. Aerial photography of 1954 of the same area was acquired and polynomial rectification and orthorectification were applied, using a 1998 orthophoto as a base. An unsupervised classification was performed by utilising the nearest neighbour method for the resampling of images. The area occupied by each class was calculated. A multitemporal analysis was then performed, considering the overlap between the 1954 orthophoto and the 1998 orthophoto as the base of reference. An overestimate up to 21% of class area was found. When multitemporal analysis was carried out, an overestimate up to 100% of class area change was found.

Keywords: DEM; aerial photos; differential rectification; geographical information systems (GIS); multitemporal analysis; orthorectification; polynomial rectification; remote sensing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: ( ) University of Siena, Italy, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2004


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