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Bud Young Airphoto Specialist

Special Reports

It is quite difficult writing about a subject in which one has been immersed for 40 years but here I am offered an opportunity to advertise my skills. They relate to aerial photography, not taking photos from the air, which many people are involved in, but analysing what was going on the ground using vertically taken airphotos taken from’ the back list’ which stretches to 1944. And doing this in the most surprising detail. For surprising perhaps read incredible!

It is something I grew up with, working on airphoto analysis for the Government, detail mapping of whole territories – the Bahama Islands all 10 of them was one such. Later I worked in matters to do with planning. I left that behind as many 40 year olds do – there comes a time in life when getting into the country and away from the London 7am/pm commute routine is magically appealing. That is when I focussed on the use of airphotos as evidence. [And alongside of this, on precise urban mapping for a number of London and other Local Authorities].

My first case was in 1983 and involved a heavily wooded residential area in Surrey. There was a house with poorly defined bounding fences. It worked, I got paid and I was on my way. I have since then done perhaps 150 cases. Some of these were really interesting, some rather routine but nevertheless satisfying – satisfying for the outcomes. That said we nowadays have the Internet, we have aerial photography on Google Maps and Google Earth and can look back to some extent on the photography of yesteryear. I feel that some of my potential clients are using their undoubted intelligence to sort out their boundary and land use problems in that way. Some of the photography on offer, free, is very good. But all is monoscopic. Is the Judge going to be impressed by ‘their expert credentials’?

What then is the need for an airphoto specialist, a real expert? How does it help the situation, your client’s long contested case, to employ one? Settle back here and I will tell you. Stifle your yawn.

First off, is that I use airphotos to create a 3D model of the ground. It is an idea going back to Victorian stereoscopes made of mahogany, and 3D photos of the American Civil War, but now pursued using high quality optically based instruments. Computers come into it as well in the preparation of the most advantageous images, digitally sourced. I am aware as many of you are that 3D images can be produced on screen (gorgeous) but this requires expensive software and achieves no more, at single target level, than a pair of overlapping airphotos.

The advantage of consecutively taken overlapping airphotos (a standard method in survey) is that they offer that 3D model – they also gives two views of the same piece of land (ie from different angles) and detect any movements. Two views, one for each eye, reinforces the readability of the image. Think how well (NOT) you would drive with one eye blanked off.

A second advantage is that I routinely scale photography and therefore produce measurements accurate to 10 cms ground distance. This brings to mind that, using an additional instrument (a stereometer) and 3D photos which allows me to measure the heights of trees, walls and buildings to a similar 10cm height accuracy.

That is all detail. The most important advantage that I offer is many years of experience in recognition of how people use land, gardens, shift boundaries, take advantage of unclaimed areas; ground conditions portrayed in a series of dated photos. The whole business of secure inference. This answers the critical question that my clients come with ‘It used to be like that and then it changed (often when a new neighbour came on the scene). Now it is like this. Can you tell me if this account of things is verifiable’?

There have been some notable cases for example of the discharge of effluent into a tidal river from a ‘ginormous’ industrial plant. Where and when and to what extent? Photos going back to 1947. A second case, to precise the position and accurate height of trees (which had been cleared at groundwork stage) on a development site where some of the houses began to develop foundation problems. That was a job where ‘cheap and cheerful’ automated heighting had already proved less than satisfactory. Imagine measuring the height and spread of 250 trees and setting this out in a coherent map based report accurately related to numbered houses.

Another case, one of the most complex, involved placing the physical position of a wall and gateway to an old furniture works when the entire area to the north had been cleared of similar factories and put down to housing. Added to this that the adjacent railway cutting had been filled in and most all previous landmarks were lost. One hundred thousand pounds rode on that decision and again it depended on a series of dated airphotos viewed in 3D. Critically it was the sharpness of the some of the photos that made accurate measurement possible.

I particularly remember the case of access to the rear of an old building – one of those in a complex townscape. The claim was that the other side had always driven into a back yard; the reality as found in one dated photo was that they could not have done this as the way was blocked by a small outbuilding long since removed but clear to see on a photo taken within the legal time limit. I recall speaking about this in an interview for Radio London. Hang on!! Was it Radio London – fortunately I have the cassette tape as solid evidence – but where did I put it! The uncertainty of memory is fundamental to land disputes.

I half recall the 14 year dates of Railtrack land near Liverpool Station.

Many disputes arise out of the width of access, sometimes on farm tracks, sometimes access widths critical to backland development. Other cases are about the use or non-use of paths and bridle ways and is such cases one is looking for gate widths, unrecorded obstacles and track wear.

A most attractive kind of case is the so called Village Green claim in which 20 or 30 local residents recall their use of a piece of land. ‘We always went … we used to play … when my son was a child we picked blackberries … there used to be a bridge …there were no fences … we held village fetes on land next to Number 21 … there was never any form of notice telling us it was private …it was never farmed.’ Many of these claims can be investigated using airphotos, some cannot. But often it is what is not claimed that indicates that those who filled in forms were not familiar with the land. And that emerges in cross examination. I recall people dog walking straight through thick (now vanished) hedges.

And there was the case of the rooftop dormer window in Kensington; the planning start in sand dunes in South Wales; the amazing case of an advertising sign on a building in North London – it actually showed up on a vertical photo that had been taken (as the plane progressed) not from directly above but slightly from the side; the incident of the Cockle Fishers in the Wash.

And the sea serpent seven miles long. But I mock!

Bud Young www.airphotointerpretation.com
young@airphotointerpretation.com

Memory of places

How well do you remember places you feel you know, your home ground perhaps for twenty years? Airphotos give an eyewitness account for year dates that have long since faded from memory. In land claim cases, if you are a witness you might have filled out a claimants’ questionnaire. Horror and embarrassment in court when you are put on the spot. This is cross examination. The barrister is merciless, withering. You are discredited. You flounder and you mis-remember, you start to lie to cover lies.

And you will not necessarily remember places and that is because your memory is:
• Limited by your age at the time

• Limited by your range of travel and frequency of visit (it was some way away, we only went there once a year) • Limited by your understanding of what you see (frame of reference)

• Limited by your indifference to what you see (‘mind on other things’)

• Limited by your access to a site, I never went beyond the gate

• Biased to what you thought was important

• Effaced by the onward accumulation of other information (particularly about a changing site)

• Dishonestly biased in pursuit of a property suit or strongly held notion

• Honestly mistaken for an adjoining place. • Dishonestly transposed from another place

• Non existent because of bad memory!

Bud Young is a partner at “Airphoto Interpretation”. A two person partnership established 1983.
He is experienced in detailed urban mapping, forest survey, river corridor and greenspace surveys.

He has over 32 years litigation experience based on the notion “Airphotos make Good Evidence.” He is also the professional editor of Landscape Research Extra, now in its 28th year.

Mr Young is experienced in expert witness work Contact: Mr. Bud Young 26 Cross Street, Moretonhampstead Devon TQ1 8NL Area of work Nationwide

Tel: 01647 440 904

Email: young@airphotointerpretation.com Website: www.airphotointerpretation.com

It is quite difficult writing about a subject in which one has been immersed for 40 years but here I am offered an opportunity to advertise my skills. They relate to aerial photography, not taking photos from the air, which many people are involved in, but analysing what was going on the ground using vertically taken airphotos taken from’ the back list’ which stretches to 1944. And doing this in the most surprising detail. For surprising perhaps read incredible!

It is something I grew up with, working on airphoto analysis for the Government, detail mapping of whole territories – the Bahama Islands all 10 of them was one such. Later I worked in matters to do with planning. I left that behind as many 40 year olds do – there comes a time in life when getting into the country and away from the London 7am/pm commute routine is magically appealing. That is when I focussed on the use of airphotos as evidence. [And alongside of this, on precise urban mapping for a number of London and other Local Authorities].

My first case was in 1983 and involved a heavily wooded residential area in Surrey. There was a house with poorly defined bounding fences. It worked, I got paid and I was on my way. I have since then done perhaps 150 cases. Some of these were really interesting, some rather routine but nevertheless satisfying – satisfying for the outcomes. That said we nowadays have the Internet, we have aerial photography on Google Maps and Google Earth and can look back to some extent on the photography of yesteryear. I feel that some of my potential clients are using their undoubted intelligence to sort out their boundary and land use problems in that way. Some of the photography on offer, free, is very good. But all is monoscopic. Is the Judge going to be impressed by ‘their expert credentials’?

What then is the need for an airphoto specialist, a real expert? How does it help the situation, your client’s long contested case, to employ one? Settle back here and I will tell you. Stifle your yawn.

First off, is that I use airphotos to create a 3D model of the ground. It is an idea going back to Victorian stereoscopes made of mahogany, and 3D photos of the American Civil War, but now pursued using high quality optically based instruments. Computers come into it as well in the preparation of the most advantageous images, digitally sourced. I am aware as many of you are that 3D images can be produced on screen (gorgeous) but this requires expensive software and achieves no more, at single target level, than a pair of overlapping airphotos.

The advantage of consecutively taken overlapping airphotos (a standard method in survey) is that they offer that 3D model – they also gives two views of the same piece of land (ie from different angles) and detect any movements. Two views, one for each eye, reinforces the readability of the image. Think how well (NOT) you would drive with one eye blanked off.

A second advantage is that I routinely scale photography and therefore produce measurements accurate to 10 cms ground distance. This brings to mind that, using an additional instrument (a stereometer) and 3D photos which allows me to measure the heights of trees, walls and buildings to a similar 10cm height accuracy.

That is all detail. The most important advantage that I offer is many years of experience in recognition of how people use land, gardens, shift boundaries, take advantage of unclaimed areas; ground conditions portrayed in a series of dated photos. The whole business of secure inference. This answers the critical question that my clients come with ‘It used to be like that and then it changed (often when a new neighbour came on the scene). Now it is like this. Can you tell me if this account of things is verifiable’?

There have been some notable cases for example of the discharge of effluent into a tidal river from a ‘ginormous’ industrial plant. Where and when and to what extent? Photos going back to 1947. A second case, to precise the position and accurate height of trees (which had been cleared at groundwork stage) on a development site where some of the houses began to develop foundation problems. That was a job where ‘cheap and cheerful’ automated heighting had already proved less than satisfactory. Imagine measuring the height and spread of 250 trees and setting this out in a coherent map based report accurately related to numbered houses.

Another case, one of the most complex, involved placing the physical position of a wall and gateway to an old furniture works when the entire area to the north had been cleared of similar factories and put down to housing. Added to this that the adjacent railway cutting had been filled in and most all previous landmarks were lost. One hundred thousand pounds rode on that decision and again it depended on a series of dated airphotos viewed in 3D. Critically it was the sharpness of the some of the photos that made accurate measurement possible.

I particularly remember the case of access to the rear of an old building – one of those in a complex townscape. The claim was that the other side had always driven into a back yard; the reality as found in one dated photo was that they could not have done this as the way was blocked by a small outbuilding long since removed but clear to see on a photo taken within the legal time limit. I recall speaking about this in an interview for Radio London. Hang on!! Was it Radio London – fortunately I have the cassette tape as solid evidence – but where did I put it! The uncertainty of memory is fundamental to land disputes.

I half recall the 14 year dates of Railtrack land near Liverpool Station.

Many disputes arise out of the width of access, sometimes on farm tracks, sometimes access widths critical to backland development. Other cases are about the use or non-use of paths and bridle ways and is such cases one is looking for gate widths, unrecorded obstacles and track wear.

A most attractive kind of case is the so called Village Green claim in which 20 or 30 local residents recall their use of a piece of land. ‘We always went … we used to play … when my son was a child we picked blackberries … there used to be a bridge …there were no fences … we held village fetes on land next to Number 21 … there was never any form of notice telling us it was private …it was never farmed.’ Many of these claims can be investigated using airphotos, some cannot. But often it is what is not claimed that indicates that those who filled in forms were not familiar with the land. And that emerges in cross examination. I recall people dog walking straight through thick (now vanished) hedges.

And there was the case of the rooftop dormer window in Kensington; the planning start in sand dunes in South Wales; the amazing case of an advertising sign on a building in North London – it actually showed up on a vertical photo that had been taken (as the plane progressed) not from directly above but slightly from the side; the incident of the Cockle Fishers in the Wash.

And the sea serpent seven miles long. But I mock!

Bud Young www.airphotointerpretation.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Memory of places

How well do you remember places you feel you know, your home ground perhaps for twenty years? Airphotos give an eyewitness account for year dates that have long since faded from memory. In land claim cases, if you are a witness you might have filled out a claimants’ questionnaire. Horror and embarrassment in court when you are put on the spot. This is cross examination. The barrister is merciless, withering. You are discredited. You flounder and you mis-remember, you start to lie to cover lies.

And you will not necessarily remember places and that is because your memory is:
• Limited by your age at the time

• Limited by your range of travel and frequency of visit (it was some way away, we only went there once a year) • Limited by your understanding of what you see (frame of reference)

• Limited by your indifference to what you see (‘mind on other things’)

• Limited by your access to a site, I never went beyond the gate

• Biased to what you thought was important

• Effaced by the onward accumulation of other information (particularly about a changing site)

• Dishonestly biased in pursuit of a property suit or strongly held notion

• Honestly mistaken for an adjoining place. • Dishonestly transposed from another place

• Non existent because of bad memory!

Bud Young is a partner at “Airphoto Interpretation”. A two person partnership established 1983.
He is experienced in detailed urban mapping, forest survey, river corridor and greenspace surveys.

He has over 32 years litigation experience based on the notion “Airphotos make Good Evidence.” He is also the professional editor of Landscape Research Extra, now in its 28th year.

Mr Young is experienced in expert witness work Contact: Mr. Bud Young 26 Cross Street, Moretonhampstead Devon TQ1 8NL Area of work Nationwide

Tel: 01647 440 904

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website: www.airphotointerpretation.com

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