Surveying the Scene: Environment

Love Canal

Love Canal in 1951 Love Canal in 1980

Compare Love Canal Images (75k)

The left image is an aerial photo of Love Canal taken in 1951. In the 1940s and 1950s the abandoned site was used for disposal of tens of thousands of tons of chemical wastes. Photos such as these have been used throughout the country to help pinpoint old hazardous waste sites beneath more recent construction.

The image on the right shows Love Canal in 1980. Comparison of the photos illustrates the extensive development around the canal. These buildings were later abandoned and torn down because of dangers of the hazardous wastes.

Today, study of historic aerial photos before the beginning of new construction can help avoid later environmental problems.
First image courtesy of Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
. Second image courtesy of National Ocean Service, U.S. Department of Commerce. Aerial photo analysis courtesy of EPA's Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center

Underground Fire

In Centralia, Pa., an underground fire has been raging through the coal mining district since 1962. This aerial image, made with a heat-measuring instrument, indicated the extent of the fire. The bright white areas, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, show where the blaze had made the upper ground level abnormally hot.
Image and aerial photo analysis courtesy of EPA's Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center

Typhoon Ida

High-altitude aircraft can be used to monitor weather systems. Typhoon Ida was photographed by a U-2 about 750 miles off the coast of the Philippines in 1958. The storm was characterized by surface winds of more than 200 knots and the lowest sea level atmospheric pressure ever recorded.
Courtesy of CIA


The Enviropod is a 2-camera system used to locate and document sources of environmental pollution. Designed to fit Cessna 172 or 182 aircraft, the portable pod can be strapped to a waiting plane with no modifications. The Enviropods allow a low cost, rapid response to environmental emergencies or routine monitoring. (47k jpg)
From the EPA's Environmental Photographic Interpretation Center

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