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Local air monitoring

Local air monitoring allows you to quickly visualise vast land areas in detail using oblique photography (landscapes) taken at altitude based on a simple method, but one that offers the scrutiny required by a geographic information system.


Slash and burn’ agriculture destroys soil structure which in turn leads to rapid erosion. Seen from the sky, these forest fires and these watercourses reddened by the earth they carry give the impression of setting the country ablaze, and the damage is significant. It looks like the forest has been bombed!

Stopping forest fires with ASF means protecting the livelihood of local groups.


Deaths due to global warming, linked to progressive degradation of the environment, could reach one million per year by 2030.” For Kofi Annan, global warming is “the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time” 
Global Humanitarian Forum, 29/05/2009.

Protect the forests with ASF prevent humanitarian crises linked to climate change

Simplicity in real time

For example, an NGO wants a report on a 2 million hectare area. A team of two ASF photographers equipped with oblique photography equipment (PC, GPS, cameras) rent a plane locally just for this project. They carry out around fifty hours of flights over two to three weeks, then send the digital photographs grouped by transects to the field staff who can easily view them. In total, the cost per hectare will be around €0.015, or €1.5 per km2.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) in the hands of field staff

Both exploration of satellite images or vertical aerial photography is a specialism that requires a certain level of training and experience. Anyone with a computer and who is familiar with Google Earth can use oblique photographs, and will be able to open the photos on ordinary photo software and open source GIS software such as ArcView. 

Synergy with satellite imaging and drone usage

Although satellite imaging is a powerful tool for land and environmental management decision-makers, obtaining recent images is very expensive and they are not used regionally or locally. While drones are used more and more for aerial surveillance, the only drones currently capable of covering large areas such as national parks or ecoregions are highly-complex, for professional use and very expensive. 

An innovative and easily transferable methodology in line with sustainable development

Every effort has been made to ensure the oblique photography methodology uses equipment and software that are available on the market. This starts with the aircraft that will be rented from a local company, and also applies to software that allows georeferencing and geolocalisation of photos. The methodology is transferable on three levels: usage of photographs (in the very short term), taking photographs (short term) and management of the aerial component (medium term, with local air operators). Know-how is a huge advantage. 

Potentially varied and proven usage in the environmental sector 

Photographs have a usable depth of 1.5 to 3 km depending on the desired accuracy in order to observe details on the ground. They can be used to count livestock or wild animals, to monitor environmental damage due to humanitarian crises, to manage and exploit land - in particular river basins - for agricultural purposes, to study refugee settlements and displaced groups, etc. The methodology has been used in Madagascar since 2010 by one of the largest environmental protection agencies to monitor forests. 

See also: “Our Actions” page, oblique aerial photography in Madagascar.

A tool for communication with local groups to jointly manage resources 

Local groups are increasingly involved in participatory management of ecosystems - or rather agroecosystems - for environmental protection and improving their food security. The experience in Madagascar showed the huge impact of oblique photographs to raise awareness of environmental matters among local populations as they recognise their landscapes, something they find very difficult to do with other vertical photographs or views of the land.