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Aerial photos with Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon is a project/concept for collecting aerial imagery from passenger plane windows with handheld digital cameras. To make a map, just take photos out the window of your commercial flight. Then use the free and open source to align the images with a map as soon as you land.

( Above, NRG composite from out the window of airplane over Amsterdam, by @warren)


Tips for photographers

  • point the camera as straight downwards as possible
  • hold the camera as stably as you can - brace it against the window
  • try not to sit behind the wing, where the engine exhaust blurs the air
  • take note of where the photos are, if you anticipate difficulty in placing them on a map later
  • check flight-tracking websites ahead of time to plan when you'll be able to take good photos (possibly during landing or takeoff, if you're allowed to use your camera)


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Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Infragram test photos from a plane window - - @warren - - 0 replications: Try it » for Passenger Pigeon - - @mathew - - 0 replications: Try it »
Passenger Pigeon methods: getting your location, the hacky way - - @eustatic - - 0 replications: Try it »

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Some Public Lab folks have done multispectral imaging from a plane window -- see the near-infrared camera page for details on how to collect/produce infrared imagery with less than $150 of equipment.

Infrared vegetation analysis from a plane


Title Author Updated Likes
Fort Jackson Passenger Pigeon @eustatic over 4 years ago
SFO-ORD @cfastie about 5 years ago
ORD - SFO @cfastie about 5 years ago
Saugus landfill overflight photos -- with Infragram @warren over 5 years ago
Infrablue Haze @cfastie over 5 years ago
Infragram test photos from a plane window @warren over 5 years ago
a new burp in the Texas Brine Sinkhole @eustatic almost 6 years ago
Passenger Pigeon methods: getting your location, the hacky way @eustatic almost 6 years ago
Passenger Pigeon shots of MSY to PHX @eustatic almost 6 years ago for Passenger Pigeon @mathew about 6 years ago
the Hills have Acne: passenger pigeon photos of drill sites out West @eustatic over 6 years ago
NDVI-NRG infrared tests from an airplane @warren almost 8 years ago
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