A method of quickly collecting digital imagery of ground areas from video cameras carried aboard locally launched rockets has been developed. The method can be used, for example, to record rare or episodic events or to gather image data to guide decisions regarding treatment of agricultural fields or fighting wildfires.

A Digitized, Transformed Image acquired from a video camera aboard a rocket was superimposed on a scan of an aerial image of a larger area that contains most of the video-image scene.

The method involves acquisition and digitization of a video frame at a known time along with information on the position and orientation of the rocket and camera at that time. The position and orientation data are obtained by use of a Global Positioning System receiver and a digital magnetic compass carried aboard the rocket. These data are radioed to a ground station, where they are processed, by a real-time algorithm, into georeferenced position and orientation data. The algorithm also generates a file of transformation parameters that account for the variation of image magnification and distortion associated with the position and orientation of the camera relative to the ground scene depicted in the image. As the altitude, horizontal position, and orientation of the rocket change between image frames, the algorithm calculates the corresponding new georeferenced position and orientation data and the associated transformation parameters.

The output imagery can be rendered in any of a variety of formats. The figure presents an example of one such format.

This work was done by Stacey D. Lyle of Conrad Blucher Institute for Surveying and Science at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi for Stennis Space Center.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Texas A&M — Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Dr.
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
Phone No.: (361) 825-3712
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Refer to SSC-00214-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.