New detailed aerial imagery of Malta and Gozo

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Xlendi BayNew detailed and definitive aerial imagery of the Maltese Islands has recently been added to the extensive aerial photographic records of the Authority. This latest acquisition to its resources comes as a result of the Malta Environment & Planning Authority’s (MEPA) efforts to offer the public and its customers up to date information and quality service.

The latest aerial photography was carried out in May 2008 at two different scales: a low flight at 1:4,000 scale and a higher flight at a scale of 1:10,000. Metric aerial photographic surveys are carried out by specialist companies using dedicated cameras following premeditated flight-plans. The photography can only be taken when the right atmospheric, solar and weather conditions coincide to provide clear and optimum quality images. The latest series of aerial photography was taken by Compagnia Generale Ripreseaeree spa a subsidiary of the Blom Group, the largest company in Europe for the airborne collection of geographic information.

The new imagery is available at MEPA and is already in productive use within the Mapping Unit. The larger scale photography is being used to update the topographic map; this is a digital, large scale database of the topographic landscape of Malta. The smaller scale imagery will be used to create an orthophoto map, a mosaic of aerial photographs orthorectified to provide a high resolution and accurate representation of the land.

The 2008 photography is the latest addition to the Authority’s extensive archive of aerial images of the country. This is the 6th aerial survey commissioned by the Mapping Unit since it was first set up in 1988. However MEPA’s archive of aerial photography, being Malta’s National Mapping Agency, spans over 60 years; the oldest photography dates back to 1943, originally contracted by the Survey Directorate Allied Forces Headquarters.

Besides their use as the principal source of information for map-making, aerial photography is also a primary and definitive document of what’s on the ground. Aerial photography provide a time-stamped snapshot of the landscape of the Maltese Islands at the time they were taken; this makes the Authority’s archive an invaluable record of the development and change in the country’s rural and urban environment over the last few decades.

MEPA’s aerial photography archive is available for reference; the public is able to view and consult the images. Copies of individual photographs can also be ordered and purchased. Further information about aerial photography and other mapping products can be obtained from the Mapping Shop by phoning on 22901007 or via email at mappingshop@mepa.org.mt

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