Project Information
After 1907
1901 Snapshot
Air Photo Study
Image Library
Air Photo Analysis Hints

Working with air photos can reveal much about any community. There are a few simple guidelines to follow when you first start your analysis. The suggestions below will aid you in this endeavour.

1- Use Imaging Software: First and foremost, consider loading the air photos in your own image software rather than the browser software you are using at this moment. This will allow for much more flexibility in photo analysis in terms of zooming and scrolling. Follow this path to find the air photos:

(Your CD Drive letter) : History of Ottawa East\HTML Documents\Image Library\Air Photos

You can now toggle back and forth between the browser and the image software.

2- Orient the photograph:
Almost all of the aerial photos on this disk have been rotated so that north is towards the top of the image. Therefore, the Rideau Canal will be on the left and the Rideau River on the right. Find key points such as the Gas Plant on Lees Ave., Pretoria Bridge, the "Deep Cut" (where the canal makes a sharp left turn to travel west), the Exhibition Grounds (on the west bank of the canal) and the Scholasticate (on the west shore of the river). With these points established, it should be relatively easy to identify Main St. that runs from the northwest to the south east from the canal to the river.

If you are not familiar with Ottawa East then go here for a modern map of the area. Either print this map or load it in a second browser window. Correlate (compare) the map to the photograph to establish the correct orientation of the landscape.

3- Find what is not there:
Equally as important as what is in the photo, is what is missing. The photos begin in 1922 and end around 1960. Almost all of the photos will have the year in the title. For example, A26_36_1928 is a photo taken in 1928. By loading photos by date you will see the evolution of the landscape.

Alternately you can go to a hotlinked map found here. Use the green boxes to move through a sequence of photos from 1922, 1928, 1931, 1938 and 1956.

4- Identify the time of year:
Photos taken in the early Spring will have pockets of snow and the river will be swollen with the ice melt. Photos taken in the late Fall will show groomed fields and a smaller river. Snow can be confusing when trying to identify an area.

5- Street and Building Analysis:
Use the 1902 and 1956 Fire Insurance Maps as they provide excellent detail of the buildings on each street. If you want to see the evolution of your street, start with the 1902 Fire Insurance Map, track the street with the photos and see what has been built by 1956

6- Crop the photograph:
Using your own imaging software, identify the area that you are interested in and then "crop" the photo with the tool available on all good software. Save the cropped image to a temporary file where you can manipulate the image attributes. For example, a smaller image will load faster and you can play with software functions such as sharpening, despeckling, contrast and brightness. One trick is to invert the cropped image (black become whites, whites become blacks). This will highlight aspects such as foliage and streams. Lots of fun - give it a try!

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