Determining the height a photo was taken from

Discussion in 'Aerial Photography' started by 480sparky, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    I have an old photo (taken in 1909) that I have determined precisely where (relative to the ground) it was taken from, but I'm wondering if it's possible to use the features in the image to mathematically calculate the height at which it was taken from.

    I have positively identified 6 houses that are still standing (easy to do with Google street view), so the latitude and longitude are easily determined. But I'm wondering if there's a way, using the know distances between these houses, to figure out how high the camera was when it took the image.

    Here is the image:

    [​IMG]

    The houses with the red dots are still standing. The image was taken from above this location.


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If the streets are still there and relatively unchanged, just send your drone up vertically at that distance 'til you get the same view. I get that it's not a mathematical solution, but I don't think there's a practical mathematical way to do this with any accuracy.
     
  3. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Well, two issues arise. One is the drone won't have the same vertical FOV as this image. Second, the drone doesn't take panoramic views. I'd have to send it up, take a series of images, land, offload the images, stitch a pano, compare it to the original, and.............. do it all over again.

    I'm not asking for a 1/16" tolerance here. 20 or 30 feet would be close enough.
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I never said it was an easy method! :p
     
  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Nothing in my life ever is............
     
  6. Trever1t

    Trever1t Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    yes there is. Known height of structure. Scale. Math. Beyond me but like that.
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That will allow you to calculate distance between two objects, but in order to determine elevation, you need to account for slant range, which would mean you would need to know the FoV of the lens at the very least, wouldn't it?
     
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  8. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    If you need a known FOV, just crop the image so it covers 90°. Easy to do with the streets plainly visible.
     
  9. jake337

    jake337 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Can you see what you are shooting from the ground while the drone is up there?
     
  10. petrochemist

    petrochemist No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suspect it can be approximated by comparing the apparent distance apart of two known points traveling directly away from the viewpoint with the apparent distance for points perpendicular to that (equidistant to the camera).
    Points at the same distance from the camera will not have their apparent distance effected by the height, while objects directly in line with a spot directly under the camera will look to be further apart as the viewpoint gets higher.

    If the streets are unchanged you should have enough points so make some reasonable estimates...

    Alternatively you could ask pilots at the local airport for their estimate. They'd probably be fairly good at estimating height from the view :)
     
  11. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Absolutely. But there's no way to compare it to the original image.
     
  12. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In other words, you have no real idea whether the OP's question is possible. Man these forums are useless sometimes!
     
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