Air Photo Interpretation 1 - Fundamentals

Air Photo Interpretation 1 - Fundamentals

Areas of Study: Exploration and Geology

Qualifies for CMS

This course is the first in a set of two courses on Air Photo Interpretation, which are a must for anyone who needs to understand and apply the basic principles and techniques. The first course covers stereoscopic vision, scale, stereogram construction, optical distortions and techniques for stereo viewing.

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Enrollees have access to all self-paced online courses.

  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 10 hours

Certify to Test Your Knowledge, and Earn a Certificate

Certification is optional. Enrollment is required for Certification.

  • Fee for Certification:
  • Not Available
  • Completion:
  • 20 days
  • CEUs:
  • 1.0 (10 PDHs)

Course Summary


Air photo interpretation is a powerful technique that can be used to identify a wealth of geological, environmental and man-made features. The technique can be applied to:

  • mineral exploration and mapping,
  • mining and resource extraction,
  • engineering, and
  • logistics and planning.
Air Photo Interpretation is a set of two courses: a must for anyone who needs to identify and apply the basic principles and techniques. In these courses, you will examine many air photos and learn the techniques of air photo interpretation. Topics covered in Air Photo Interpretation 1 - Fundamentals include stereoscopic vision, scale, stereogram construction, optical distortions and the techniques of stereo viewing. Air Photo Interpretation 2 - Applications covers how to identify features on vertical air photos, and the many applications of air photo interpretation to mineral exploration, mining, engineering and environmental studies, illustrated by detailed case studies and numerous photographic examples.

Course Content

The course comprises 18 learning sessions, each of 15 - 30 minutes duration, plus supporting figures, tables, images, references, examples and interactive reviews that confirm achievement of the learning objectives. The total duration of the course is estimated at 8 hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and apply the basics of aerial photography, camera optics and geometry, photo scale and how to calculate it, and photo distortions and parallax.
  • Successfully perform three-dimensional viewing of air photo pairs, based on tests of your stereoscopic vision capabilities and practical vision exercises.

Recommended Background

  • High school science.
  • Familiarity with maps.
  • Observant disposition and eye for detail.

Dr. Selina Tribe

Dr. Selina Tribe has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Simon Fraser University (2004), an M.Sc. in Physical Geography from University of British Columbia (1996), and an Honours B.Sc. in Geological Sciences (1994) from University of British Columbia. She is a practising member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia since 1999.

Dr. Tribe has more than 20 years experience mapping and interpreting minerals, rock, structure and landforms on Earth and as far afield as Mars. She developed her skills in terrain analysis by examining thousands of air photographs and satellite images covering millions of hectares of glaciated, mountainous, tropical and permafrost-ridden terrain. She completed numerous site-specific and regional mapping programs for clients in mining, oil and gas pipelines, forestry, transportation and government.

Complementary to her technical expertise, Dr. Tribe conducted innovative research using remotely sensed data; for example, mapping permafrost-related landforms on the surface of Mars, and determining pre-glacial stream networks in central British Columbia. She was chosen as the sole Canadian for two NASA intern programs at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Centre, Maryland, USA and the Lunar & Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas. In 2006 she published a state-of-the-art shaded relief map of British Columbia showing the complexity of the province's landforms and geologic structure at a scale and resolution never before seen.

As President of Carta Exploration Ltd., Dr. Tribe's current work involves a combination of management, public relations and the application of geologic knowledge to appraise and advance mining projects. The author of many technical and peer-reviewed articles and courses, Selina also mentors junior geologists and engineers.