By Holworthy Hall
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Extra info for Aerial observation : the airplane observer, the balloon observer, and the army corps pilot
Images over a small part of the battlefield offered little of military value. A series of images over an area of the Western Front of several hundred kilometres would have raised some interest, but assembling such imagery and creating a mosaic of the resulting pictures took time. Weather was an ever-present limitation to those conducting flying operations. Even on the few early occasions when aircraft were used in an offensive capacity their impact was minimal. The generals were unimpressed. Air power’s contribution was easy to label as puny and insignificant.
For Vietnam the argument with China over the ownership of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea is a potential catalyst for war. This is one example of a number of potential flash-points in the South China Sea. Israel, like South Korea, finds itself in a similar position with air power being the principal means by which it could engage Iran if it decided to act against the Iranian nuclear programme. In Georgia when Russian forces intervened over the status of South Ossetia air power was one of the elements used with airborne forces being dropped into the outskirts of Tskhinvali, the major population centre in South Ossetia.
Ingenious methods were developed to solve this problem in the First World War. Whereas today airmen take for granted the benefits of automated navigation data being tagged to any imagery, in the First World War knowing where an image had been taken was not straightforward. The vagaries of the weather also did not help. The military value in the image depended upon its location being established accurately. This is referred to as geo-referencing the image. As the image was then analysed any changes in enemy dispositions could be accurately assessed.