Photogram metric surveying or photogrammetry is the science and art of obtaining accurate measurements by use of photographs, for various purposes such as the construction of planimetric and topographic maps, classification of soils, interpretation of geology, acquisition of military intelligence and the preparation of composite pictures of the ground. The photographs are taken either from the air or from station on the ground. Terrestrial photogrammetry is that Brach of photogrammetry wherein photographs are taken from a fixed position on or near the ground. Aerial photogrammetry is that branch of photogrammetry wherein the photographs are taken by a camera mounted in an aircraft flying over the area.

Mapping from aerial photographs is the best mapping procedures yet developed for large projects, and are invaluable for military intelligence. The major users of aerial mapping methods are the civilian and military mapping agencies of the Government.

The conception of using photographs for purposes of measurement appears to have originated with the experiments of Aime Laussedat of the Corps of the French Army, who in 1851 produced the first measuring camera. He developed the mathematical analysis of photographs as perspective projections, thereby increasing their application to topography. Aerial photography from balloons probably began about 1858. Almost concurrently (1858), but independently of Laussedat, Meydenbauer in Germany carried out the first experiments in making critical measurements of architectural details by the intersection method in the basis of two photographs of the building. The ground photography was perfected in Canada by Capt. Deville, then Surveyor General of Canada in 1888. In Germany, most of the progress on the theoretical side was due to Hauck.

In 1901, Pulfrich in Jena introduced the stereoscopic principle of measurement and designed the stereo comparator. The stereoaitograph was designed (1909) at the Zeiss workshops in Jena, and this opened a wide field of practical application. Scheimpflug, an Australian captain, developed the idea of double projector in 1898. He originated the theory of perspective transformation and incorporated its principles in the photoperspecto graph. He also gave the idea of radial triangulation. His work paved the way for the development of aerial surveying and aerial photogrammetry.

In 1875, Oscar Messter built the first aerial camera in Germany and J.W.Bagloy and A.Brock produced the first aerial cameras in U.S.A. In 1923, Bauersfeld designed the Zeiss stereoplanigraph. The optical industries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France, and later also those of the U.S.A and U.S.S.R. took up the manufacture and constant further development of the cameras and plotting instruments. In World War II, both the sides made extensive use of aerial photographs for their military operations. World War II gave rise to new developments of aerial photography techniques, such as the application of radio control to photoflight navigation, the new wide-angle lenses and devices to achieve true vertical photographs