History of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry in SA

The birth of remote sensing as science began with the invention of the camera. Louis Daguerre developed the process of photography in 1839 when he fixed the images of a landscape on copper plates that were treated with silver iodide. In 1840, Arago (a geodesist) used these photographs in plane table surveying to create a map. The first aerial photographs were taken from a balloon by Tournachon in 1858.

The first known photograph by Niepce 1827
History of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry in South Africa.

South Africa had its own specialist in the photogrammetry field in the early 1900’s when the first precise measurement methods using photographs were developed about the same time by two persons, Prof. Fourcade in Cape Town (UCT) and Dr. Pulfrich in Germany.

Prof. Fourcade submitted his scripts in 1901, followed by that of Pulfrich in 1902. The machine designed by Dr Pulfrich was the first stereoplotter to interpret 3D images. This plotter resembled the Fourcade design in almost all aspects. Prof Fourcade’s stereoplotter is still on display at the University of Cape Town in the Survey/GIS faculty of science.



 Prof. Henry Fourcade

At 10h29:55 GMT (12h29 South African Time) on Tuesday 23 February 1999 South Africa entered the space age and the field of satellite remote sensing with the launch of its own satellite named "Sunsat". This was an environmental low level satellite manufactured by the University of Stellenboosch.





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