Aerial Camera Systems

The aerial camera systems used by IMF’s Photogrammetry and Image Analysis department were developed there both for research purposes and pre-operational use. These systems make it possible to record and immediately process high-resolution aerial images that are used especially for traffic and disaster management. Pre-processed image data and thematic analyses, for example traffic data, are transferred to a mobile or stationary ground station with an integrated microwave data link.

The DLR aerial camera systems were developed and certified for the Cessna (D-FDLR), the Dornier Do 228 212 (D-CFFU), the Dornier Do-228-101 (D-CODE) and for the Bo 105 (D-HDDP) and EC135 (D-HFHS) helicopters of the Eurocopter company.

The hardware configurations for the sensor systems depend on the particular aerial platform. The sensor on the Cessna and on the Do228 is referred to as a 3K system and on the helicopters as a 4k system. At an altitude of 1,000 m above ground and a focal length of 50 mm there is a ground resolution of 13 cm per pixel.


Example of a terrain model and orthomosaic of the 3K camera system for the Oktoberfest in Munich
Oktoberfest in Munich
  • Automated recording of traffic data with real-time capability (vehicle detection, measurement of travel direction and velocity)
  • Rapid mapping (recording situation imagery and providing the data locally)
  • Calculating high-resolution digital surface models
  • Recording the flow of persons and crowd density to prevent dangerous situations during mass events
  • Precisely recording flooded areas

3K camera system

  • Platform: Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Dornier Do 228-212/101
  • Sensor: 3x Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Coverage / resolution (1000m altitude): 2560m x 480m; 13cm (image acquisition)
  • Microwave data link (12Mbit/s for distances up to 70km)
  • Used to map flooding of the Elbe and Donau rivers in June 2013 and in advance of the G7 summit in Elmau in 2015
3K camera system in Cessna208B

4k camera system on th Bo105

4k camera system on Bo105
4k camera system on the Bo105
  • Platform: Eurocopter BO 105, external installation on a multi-purpose carrier
  • Cameras: 1x Canon EOS 1D-C, 2x Canon EOS 1D-X
  • Size and weight: 542mm x 869mm x 595mm; 82kg
  • Coverage / resolution (1000m flight altitude):
    Image recording: maximal 2560m x 460m; up to 7cm
    4k video images: maximal 808m x 424m; up to 13.8cm
  • Microwave data link (12Mbit/s for distances up to 70km)
  • Used in disaster-control exercises together with the Bavarian Red Cross and the  Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance in 2014 and 2015, and for real-time mapping during a mass public event (Wacken Open Air 2016) and a forest fire drill in Catalonia in 2016

4k camera system onboard the FHS

  • Platform: Eurocopter EC135 T2/P2, external installation on a carrier for camera systems
  • Cameras: 3x Canon EOS 1D-X Mk II
  • Size and weight of sensor: 621mm x 544mm; 45 kg
  • Size and weight of processing unit inside the cabin: 600mmx600mmx390mm; 55 kg
  • Coverage / resolution (1000m flight altitude):
    Image recording: maximum 2560m x 460m; up to 7cm
    4k/UHD video images: 808m x 424m; up to 13.8cm
  • Microwave data link (12Mbit/s for distances up to 80km, LTE link up to 20Mbit/s (upload)