Photographs are the true image pictures showing truly appearance of the earth’s surface objectives on the flat bodies of special pieces of paper taken with the use of a camera and chemically printed.


Are the pictorial representations of the remote sensed data recorded on film in a camera then chemically printed on special pieces of paper.

With respect to the definition given, photography is produced as the image of the object captured and recorded with a camera on a light sensitive film. The film by then is developed in a developer machine to remove darkness in it to develop brightness of object’s image.

The image in the film by then printed on a special paper using chemicals to develop clear true image pictures. The camera recording the images of objectives can be mounted on the ground or aerial platform.

A person who takes photography with the use of a camera is called photographer; and the art of producing these pictures is known as photography.


Photographers have potential significance in geographical studies in a number of ways. For instance; they are used to assess the geographical facts of respective areas. Alternatively used to make storage (recording) of the geographical details of pieces.

It has to bear in mind that, land details change with time, But a photography once produced remains unchanged. Some of the geographical details that can be accessed from photographs include; relief, land use, drainage features, settlement and vegetation.


Photographs are not all the same as images of objects on them observed to have varied appearance. The varied appearance of image objects are determined by the orientation of the camera axis (Photographic views).

Thus; photographs are classified according to the appearance of the images on them relatively to the orientation of the photographic views. Also; photographs are classified by considering the nature of platform from which the camera and photographic view has been mounted and set.

By regarding the two categorizing factors, the numerous photographs are broadly classified into the following types. ·

  • Horizontal/ground photographs.
  • Vertical aerial photographs.
  • Oblique photographs.
  • Satellite photographs.


These are the photographic prints of which whose images have been captured and recorded on film as photographic views horizontally set with camera mounted on the platform of the ground I e the photographic view by camera towards the object is from the surface level of ground the camera is placed fixed on a tripled stand very close to the ground comparatively Ground photographs are also known as terrestrial photographs.

 The horizontal photographic view may target a particular object or the general scenery of the area it is thus; the horizontal photographs may show major object or the general scenery of the area basing on this; horizontal photographs sub divided into two
– Close up ground photographs
– General view ground photographs

Close up ground photographs

These photographs are produced as the photographic view focuses on a major item such as a tree a person an animal a house and others of the same reflection The particular item obscures most of the other details behind it and thus the picture shows a died ground These photographs are alternatively known as particular view photograph

General view ground photographs.

These are taken by the photographic views with mounted camera focusing the general scenery of areas commonly; the photographic view are not intercepted by an obstacle as a result all objects at an area recorded on the film and printed to appear on the photo by getting progressively smaller from the fore ground to back ground hence; the photograph give the general view of the scenery this photograph shows horizons.

Close up ground photograph

Horizon means part of the photograph where the land and sky apparently meet.

General view ground photograph

Characteristics of ground photograph.

-On the ground photographs particularly objects get progressively smaller from the fore section to back section and horizons likely to be seen.
-The ground close up photographs do not show horizons.
-They cover smaller areas of ground.
-They do not make uniformity coverage of the ground represented.
-Scale changes by getting progressively smaller from the fore ground to back ground due to the non uniformity coverage of the ground.
-They show front views of the object’s image.
– Ground photographs are taken from surface level.

Strengths of the horizontal photographs.

-The objects on the photograph are clearly seen.
– It is easy to interpret as the image of objects is clearly observed on the photograph.
-They are less expensive to be produced compared to other types of photograph.
– Comparatively; horizontal photographs are the most familiar pictures to people compared to other forms of photographs.
-Ground photographs can be used as an aid to field sketching.
-They give more easily instant data of areas.

Setbacks of the horizontal photographs.

-Cover smaller area size of the ground. It is thus; enables people to make analysis of geographical features of small areas.

– Subjected to scale distortion as image of objects as well as ground coverage get progressively smaller from the fore ground to back ground this makes difficult to asses  the used scale.

– They are not potential for assessing the measurement of the geographical features like; area size and distance due to scale distortion.

-Not all objects are seen on the photograph as some are hidden by others

– They are not potential for map making due to scale distortion and coverage of smaller areas .


Horizontal photographs are produced purposely to have an aid for making geographical analysis and description of the smaller areas



These are  photographic prints whose images of objects have been captured and recorded on film as photographic views vertically set with camera mounted on the platform of the aircraft. i.e. the earth’s surface is viewed vertically from the air craft with the camera axis at almost right angle of 90 though the angle can be displaced to either 87 or 93 due to the movement of the aircraft

According to the history the first vertical aerial photograph was taken from a balloon by a French man in 1855 and were much improved in Germany However; the importance of these photographs for map making became during the first and second world wars when maps were needed for military purposes.

Vertical aerial photographs have less scale distortion and mostly used for map making and assessments of the geographical features and  measurements.




Characteristics of the vertical aerial photographs.

1. They display the top view of the objects as photographic view vertically directed towards the landscape.

2. The image of objects on photographs appear less distorted in size.

3. They are taken with camera axis vertically directed.

4. They make considerably uniform coverage of ground.

5. They are less subjected to scale distortion.

6. The change of scale by getting progressively smaller is from the centre to outwards

7. Advantages of the vertical aerial photographs

8. They have less scale distortion following the uniformity coverage of the landscape on the photo

8. It is possible to judge the photo scale as there is uniformity coverage of the landscape on the photo and images are less distorted in size. Scale is assessed by relating the corresponding measurements between the photograph and ground or by relating the focal length of the used camera and flying height of air craft above the ground

9. Cover larger area of the ground. It is thus; people make geographical analysis of the wider geographical areas

10. They are mostly used in map making because of covering wider areas and less scale distortion It is possible to make photogrammetric i. e. They are used to asses measurements of the geographical features as whose scale almost is less distorted

11. Vertical aerial photographs can be viewed stereoscopically. i. e. images can be viewed in three dimensions with the use of a stereoscope

12. They provide instant data particularly those which can not be given by the horizontal photographs e. g. the volume of moving objects at a time such as cars ships etc

13. They can provide details of the impenetrable or remote areas which can not be visited by ground surveyors or photographed horizontally. e. g. swampy land dense tropical forest, desert interiors ice caps and others of the same consideration 

Disadvantages of vertical aerial photographs.

  1. Objects are not clearly seen as very huge area covered and only the top view of objects are displayed
  2.   It is some how difficult to make photo interpretation as objects are not clearly seen
  3.   They show only the top views of the land objects taken
  4.   The taking of the vertical photographs is affected by the adverse weather E. g. cloud cover during the rainy season
  5.   The taking of the vertical photographs is still an expensive process
  6.  Minor detail is often lost in vertical aerial photographs and need to be supplanted by ground survey
  7.  Because of being non selective; vertical photographs are wasteful as show masses of details some of which may not be needed in the analysis and description


These are the photographic prints of which images have been captured and recorded on film as photographic views tilted with mounted camera from either aircraft or elevated ground. Tilting of the aircraft can be from low oblique photographs which only show the surface.

Tilting of the photo graphic view from high height produces the high oblique photographs which commonly show both horizons and surface. By regarding from where the tilted photographic view set;

oblique photographs are divided into two and include;-

· Ground oblique photographs/low oblique

· Aerial oblique photographs/ high oblique

Ground oblique photographs

Ground oblique photographs

These are the photographic prints  whose images have been captured and recorded on film as photographic views tilted with mounted camera from elevated ground e.g. from a hill looking down. These make smaller coverage and are termed as low oblique aerial photographs.

Aerial oblique photographs. 

They are the photographic prints of which whose images have been captured and recorded on film as photographic views tilted with mounted camera from aircraft



Characteristics of oblique photographs.

· Images of objects on the photograph get progressively smaller form the fore ground to back wards.

· Subjected to scale distortion as there is no uniformity coverage of the ground on the photograph.

· The change of scale by getting progressively smaller is from the fore section to back section.

· Show both side and top views of the objects.

· Images on the photo are highly displaced as they occupy apparently linear position

Advantages of the oblique photographs

·Objects on the photograph are relatively large in size. Hence they are clearly seen.

· It is easy to interpret the photograph as images of objects in them are clearly viewed.

· They show both side and top parts of the objects.

Disadvantage of oblique photographs.

·They suffer from the problem of image displacement i.e. the objects on the photo are observed to occupy the linear position.

· They are subjected to scale distortion as objects get progressively smaller from the fore ground to backwards. Hence it is difficult to judge the used photo scale.

·They are not used for map making due to scale distortion.

·They are not potential for assessing the measurements of the geographical features.

Differences between the oblique and vertical photographs.

 ·Vertical aerial photographs cover larger area size of the ground, while; oblique aerial photographs cover smaller area size of ground.

·Vertical photographs show only the top view of the objects; while oblique photographs show both side and top views of objects taken.

· Oblique aerial photographs show both the surface and horizons while the vertical aerial photographs show only the surface.

·Oblique aerial photographs show displaced images; while the vertical photographs do not show displace images.

·Oblique photographs are much subjected to scale distortion; while the vertical aerial photograph is less subjected to scale distortion.

·The change of scale by getting progressively smaller is from the centre  outwards on vertical aerial photographs while on the oblique aerial photographs are from the fore section to back section.

·Vertical aerial photographs display much smaller images of the objects; the oblique photographs display relatively large sized images of the objects.

·Vertical aerial photo is used in map making while the oblique aerial photo is not used in map making.


These are the photographic prints whose images recorded (taken) electronically with the use of a scanner as a sensor placed in a satellite.


photographs of earth and other planets made by means of artificial satellites in which multi spectral scanners installed (equipped)

The scanning view is directed towards the land space from the satellite operating in a very high altitude. Satellite operates at vertical distance of 900km above the mean sea level.

The satellites are equipped with sensitive receptors called multi spectral scanners which reflect details from the earth’s surface. The data recorded by multispectral scanners are relayed (sent) electronically to ground stations where with other electronic machines the imaginary data processed to develop photographs which give much details up on meteorological condition, geology, soil, pollution, forests, and crops.

The satellite imagery have daily used for weather for forecasting, provide information for mapping, land use and plotting the landscape details and other uses.

Types of satellite imagery

Satellite imagery are recognized by considering types of data they display.

(a)Land sat satellite imagery: – these provide details about earth’s resources.


(b)Meteosat satellite imagery: – these provide meteorological data for daily weather forecasting.


Uses of satellite imagery

They are used to forecast the weather conditions likely to occur in some days to come.

They are used to monitor forest fires, ice flows and ocean currents.

They are used for resources assessments. i.e. satellite photographs are used to reveal the resources which present in different parts of the earth’s surface.

They are used for mapping purposes. The boundaries of countries, continents and other features which appear on maps mostly traced from the satellite imagery.

They are used for environmental management.

Satellite imagery facilitates scientific studies. For instance; satellite imagery used to detect sea surface temperatures.

They are used for military purposes. Satellite imagery provide secure communication for the military.

Disadvantage of satellite imagery

They are most expensive to be produced as it can be compared to all other forms of photographs.

They are difficult to be processed.

They require high skill to be interpreted because of their colour composites.