Air photo – Definition & Meaning

Air photo, also known as aerial photograph, is a photograph taken from an aircraft or other flying object. It is a valuable tool used in various fields such as geography, cartography, and environmental studies. Air photos provide a unique perspective of the Earth’s surface, allowing us to view large areas from above and obtain valuable information about the features and characteristics of the landscape.


An air photo is a photograph taken from an aircraft or other flying object, usually at a height of several hundred feet or more. It is used for mapping, surveying, and other purposes that require a bird’s eye view of the landscape.


The first aerial photograph was taken by French photographer and balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, also known as Nadar, in 1858. He took the photograph from a tethered balloon over the Bievre Valley in France. Since then, air photography has been used extensively in various fields, including military, cartography, and environmental studies.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, air photo is defined as “a photograph taken from an airplane or other flying object.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a photograph taken from an aircraft, especially for mapping or surveying purposes.”


Air photos are associated with various fields, including geography, cartography, urban planning, and environmental studies. They are used to create maps, analyze land use patterns, monitor environmental changes, and plan infrastructure projects.


Synonyms of air photo include aerial photograph, aerial view, bird’s-eye view, and overhead view.


Antonyms of air photo include ground-level photograph and close-up photograph.

The same root words

The same root words as air photo include aerial, air, and photo.

Example Sentences

  1. The cartographer used air photos to create an accurate map of the region.
  2. The urban planner used air photos to analyze land use patterns and plan infrastructure projects.
  3. The environmental scientist used air photos to monitor changes in the landscape over time.
  4. The military used air photos to gather intelligence and plan strategic operations.
  5. The photographer took stunning air photos of the cityscape from a helicopter.
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