Aerial photographs were employed in archaeological work as early as 1880. The results proved the value of aerial photographs, but the methods of raising a camera aloft were unsatisfactory until the invention of the airplane. Also the quality of cameras and sensitive plates was not very good in the early days. For these reasons, aerial photography was applied to archaeology infrequently until after the World War.
Military operations accelerated the development of airplanes. Cameras were designed especially for air use and the quality of lenses and plates was improved greatly. This resulted in a rapid growth of aerial photography. The applications of aerial photographs were limited almost entirely to military uses, including mapping. The post-war development followed similar lines. Aerial photography was found to be indispensable to military operations and all air forces devoted considerable attention to this specialty.
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