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Operation Crossbow

Nigel Jones reports:

It may be the cinema fashion of the moment, but 3D technology is almost as old as photography itself – and, as a new documentary reveals, it was used by British boffins in World War II to foil a Nazi plan to flatten our cities with a barrage of rockets.
The BBC film, Operation Crossbow, highlights for the first time the work of a secret team who used special 3D machines to make sense of millions of aerial photos taken from the skies of Nazi-occupied Europe.
[…]
The team lived and worked at Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire, which was requisitioned by the Government and renamed RAF Medmenham. They analysed millions of aerial photos of Nazi-occupied Europe taken by aircraft fitted with special cameras. Their job was to measure the effects of Allied bombing and look for concealed enemy bases.
‘Nothing moved in Europe without us noticing it,’ boasts James Byrne. ‘We flew at 30,000ft but we could spot a man on a bike in a street.’ Interpreting the pictures was down to the skills of the men and women at RAF Medmenham. ‘We soon learned to tell the difference between houses and factories,’ says Elizabeth Hicks.

Is this skill in aerial reconnaissance a long lost trade or have people been building on the human remote sensing “algorithms” developed during WWII? The documentary is at the time of this posting available on YouTube. Ahh, time to get back to Gravity’s Rainbow

Posted in Geospatial technologies.