Aerial Photography

Document No:  D12#434446
Revision:  3A
Date amended:  14-May-2015
The information below is intended to reflect the preferred practice of Main Roads Western Australia ("Main Roads"). Main Roads reserves the right to update this information at any time without notice. If you have any questions or comments please contact Nathan Miller by e-mail or on ph (08) 9323-4559.

To the extent permitted by law, Main Roads, its employees, agents, authors and contributors are not liable for any loss resulting from any action taken or reliance made by you on the information herein displayed.


Revision Register


Ed/Version Number Clause Number Description of Revision Date
​2 ​ALL ​Content Review and Revision ​08-Oct-2008
3​ ​ALL ​Content Cleanup ​04-Feb-2013
​3A​Header​Guideline introduction amended.​14-May-2015

Table of Content

1 General

Aerial photography is used within Main Roads for investigation, presentation and map creation purposes.  It can be captured in black and white or colour and comes in different mediums i.e. digital, paper contacts, negatives and diapositives.  Aerial photographs can additionally be reduced or enlarged within certain limits to meet specific needs by focusing on areas of interest.



2 Where to find aerial photographs?

All aerial photography captured by Main Roads is to Department of Land Administration (DOLA) standards.  The negatives are stored at DOLA and are made available for public use.  DOLA have a program to update photography at regular intervals depending on location to ensure currency.

A small number of aerial photographs are available to Main Roads staff through the Main Roads photographic library.  These generally consist of copies of previous Main Roads projects.  The photographic library indexes can be sourced through the Senior Mapping Surveyor.

If suitable aerial photographs cannot be found within Main Roads, then aerial photography can be purchased through the sales counter at the Central Mapping Agency (CMA) at DOLA.     DOLA has an extensive photographic library that covers the whole of Western Australia.  It consists of aerial photography that has been captured by state government departments and private companies.  This photography has resulted in a large selection of different scales and dates.  

Photographic enquiries to DOLA can be made in person or over the telephone (ph 9273 7209).  Additionally, photography can be ordered via fax or email.  Photographs ordered through DOLA must be accompanied with a credit card number.  The sample fax provided may be altered to suit your requirements when ordering aerial photography from DOLA.  Please supply a simple diagram with your order to assist the DOLA officers in searching for your photography.  This will ensure that your area of interest is adequately covered. 

When ordering reprints, areas of interest can be scaled (enlarged or reduced) to suit a specific purposes.  The enlargement factor is limited by the quality of the photograph and the location of the area of interest on the photograph.  As a rough guide, an area of interest can be enlarged on a photograph ten times before quality starts to diminish.

3 Government discounted photography

Aerial photography is available to Western Australia Government Departments from DOLA at a discount rate.  A consultant can purchase discounted aerial photography on Main Roads behalf, if they are supplied with a signed letter from the Main Roads project manager indicating the photography is to be used for a Main Roads project.  An example of a sample letter for Main Roads project managers can be found here.  The letter is to contain the Main Roads project managers signature and is to be printed on Main Roads stationary.

4 How to have aerial photography flown?

If existing aerial photography detailed in the library for a Main Roads project is unsuitable, then project specific photography can be flown and captured at cost through the DOLA aerial photography contract.   

Aerial photography can not be flown in unseasonable weather.  For example, aerial photography cannot be flown in the Kimberley Region in the wet season which extends from August to March.  Additionally, cloud coverage during the winter season make it extremely difficult to capture photography in the Southern sections of the state. 

Photography can also be ordered through the SLICP program which is run on a annual basis.  This program allows photography to be captured at lower rates but may be subject to delays as timing for photographic capture may vary due to DOLA priorities.

To request new aerial photography to be flown, a clear understanding of the requirements of the photography must be known.  The cost, time and techniques to fly aerial photography alter with the requirements of the photography.  The three basic requirements Main Roads WA has for flying photography is:

  • Route Investigation
  • Presentations
  • Mapping

To fly aerial photography, a map showing the area of coverage, the scale of capture and the purpose of the aerial photography must be supplied.  This will ensure that the area of interest is adequately captured.  Diagrams can consist of marked copies of existing maps. 

For advice on flying aerial photography please contact the Senior Mapping Surveyor.  Advice can also be provided on cost and current suppliers.

5 Reproduction times and cost of existing aerial photography?

Aerial photography from the Main Roads library is available on loan to Main Roads staff and can generally be accessed immediately if the photographs are available within the library.

Aerial photography from DOLA are available to Main Roads at a reduced government rate.  DOLA rates change due to your requirements and are effected by reductions or enlargements of photography.  Turn around times for receiving photography is ten working days for a standard request, or three days when ordering with priority (if available) with a 50% surcharge.

Aerial photography flown for specific purposes will vary in cost due to location, availability of aircraft, scale of requested photography or the number of exposures required.  Turn around time to receive the photography can vary from weeks into months due to planning, the seasonal weather conditions, aircraft availability and processing times.  These factors can be requested before asking for quotes from aerial photography specialists.

6 Digital photographic products

Aerial photographs can additionally be scanned to a digital format.   Main Roads Mapping section has a small selection of digital images available. 

Digital DOLA imagery (SkyView) is also available within MRWA over selected areas of the State but is of varying quality.  This imagery can be accessed by Main Roads staff free of charge.

Digitally produced images can have additional information added to them (i.e. road designs or property boundaries etc).  Multiple digital photographs can be joined together to form digital mosaics or enhanced with additional ground control to form ortho rectified images