Short Scientific Communication

Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 105-108

First online:

Oblique photogrammetry with visible and thermal images of active lava flows

  • Mike R. JamesAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Science, Lancaster University Email author 
  • , Stuart RobsonAffiliated withDepartment of Geomatic Engineering, University College London
  • , Harry PinkertonAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Science, Lancaster University
  • , Matthew BallAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Science, Lancaster University

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Digital images from hand-held cameras are increasingly being acquired for scientific purposes, particularly where non-contact measurement is required. However, they frequently consist of oblique views with significant camera-to-object depth variations and occlusions that complicate quantitative analyses. Here, we report the use of oblique photogrammetric techniques to determine ground-based thermal camera orientations (position and pointing direction), and to generate scene information for lava flows at Mount Etna, Sicily. Multiple images from a consumer grade digital SLR camera are used to construct a topographic model and reference associated ground-based thermal imagery. We present data collected during the 2004–2005 eruption and use the derived surface model to apply viewing distance corrections (to account for atmospheric attenuation) to the thermal images on a pixel-by-pixel basis. For viewing distances of ~100 to 400 m, the corrections result in systematic changes in emissive power of up to ±3% with respect to values calculated assuming a uniform average viewing distance across an image.


Close-range photogrammetry Etna volcano Lava flows Thermal imaging