Reflections on Photogrammetry

Reflections on Photogrammetry

Fig. 1: Kite & Camera over the Cistern of Muhammad Ibn Salame Al-Uqbi (Caine, 2018).

This article presents an overview of the history, principles, and current developments in the media technological field of photogrammetry. By chronicling the isomorphic shift taking place in image capturing, we seek to show that photogrammetry has led the way forward in seeing technical images not only as two dimensional projections, but as three-dimensional model-based images. In the mid-nineteenth century, photogrammetry was first used for the documentation of architectural objects and it later became a standard technique in aerial photography. Although its fields of application have become more extensive, photogrammetry’s basic principle hasn’t fundamentally changed: it is still defined as the three- dimensional geometric reconstruction of two-dimensional photographs through the measuring of reference points. With digital technological standards and advances in camera technology, photogrammetric imaging nowadays is intensively used for object recognition in machine vision and robotics. Beside this, photogrammetry is also opening new possibilities for documentation in the fields of investigative arts, this being explored with a discussion on the “Ground Truth” project from Forensic Architecture.

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The origins of interpreting technical images not only as two-dimensional projections but also as geometrical descriptions of objects and scenes dates back to the invention of modern photography itself.
Reading time: 16 min.

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