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Color Aerial Photography: Toy or Tool?

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The resolution and color balance of aerial color photographs has been sufficiently improved that they should be considered for routine resource inventories, but they cannot yet be unhesitatingly recommended. Some soil and geologic units unidentifiable in panchromatic prints can be readly distinguished in color. The greater information content of color photography makes vegetation interpretation easier. Vegetation appears more as a spatial volume than as a surface in color photographs, permitting more effective interpretation in shadows than is possible in black and white. Color photography is more expensive than panchromatic, and more is required in exposure, processing, and selection of proper season. Transparencies are superior to color prints because of better resolution and color balance, but are hard to use in the field.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Staff of the Northwest Hydrology Research Center, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Dept. Agric., Boise, Idaho

Publication date: 1966-06-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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