• 2023-01-23

An AI’s thoughts on the Current State and future of aerial mapping

An AI’s thoughts on the Current State and future of aerial mapping

An AI’s thoughts on the Current State and future of aerial mapping 1024 576 SurveyTransfer

We have prepared a very special article for now, since the author of the current article is none other than ChatGPT 😀 ChatGPT is a chatbot using artificial intelligence developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT says this about itself:

I am an AI language model called ChatGPT, developed and trained by OpenAI. My purpose is to assist users by providing helpful responses to their questions, generating text, and performing a variety of language-related tasks. I have been trained on a large dataset of text and can provide answers on a wide range of topics, but my knowledge and understanding may be limited.

We asked ChatGPT to write an article on the present and future of aerial cartography. The title and full content of this article were generated by ChatGPT after giving it the following instructions:

Write an article about aerial cartography and aerial photography in which you answer the following questions in detail. Explain what we mean by aerial cartography. Explain in detail the current state of the aerial mapping industry, the technologies and solutions currently in use. Report in detail about the difficulties of the current situation, the positives and negatives. How will the aerial mapping industry change in the future? Will the change benefit the industry? What new technologies and methods will appear? Explain these in detail. Can aerial cartography be automated in the future? How? Will AI gain ground in this industry as well?


Aerial cartography and photography refers to the process of creating maps and taking photographs from an aerial perspective, using aircraft or drones. This technology has a wide range of applications, including urban planning, land surveying, environmental monitoring, and disaster management. In this article, we will delve into the current state of the aerial mapping industry, the technologies and solutions currently in use, and explore how the industry is likely to change in the future.

The Current State of Aerial Mapping

The aerial mapping industry has seen significant advancements in recent years, with the widespread adoption of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) making it easier and more cost-effective to capture high-resolution images and data. Additionally, advances in computer vision, photogrammetry, and lidar have made it possible to extract more information from these images than ever before.

One of the most significant innovations in the field has been the advent of oblique imagery. Oblique imagery is captured from an angle that isn’t directly overhead, and it provides a more natural and intuitive perspective than traditional orthographic imagery. Oblique images are also more useful for certain applications such as urban planning, as they provide a better sense of the context and layout of a particular area.

There is also a trend towards using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze the data captured by aerial cameras. For example, AI can be used to classify different types of land cover, detect changes over time, and even identify specific objects or features in an image.

Difficulties and Challenges

Despite the many benefits of aerial mapping, there are also a number of difficulties and challenges that need to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is the cost and complexity of collecting high-resolution imagery. Drones and other UAVs can be expensive to purchase and maintain, and they require specialized training and expertise to operate safely and effectively.

Another challenge is the sheer amount of data that needs to be collected and processed. Aerial cameras can capture gigabytes or even terabytes of data in a single flight, and it can take hours or even days to process this data and extract the information of interest. This can be further complicated by the need to integrate data from multiple sources, such as lidar, thermal imaging, and hyperspectral sensors.

Additionally, the industry is facing increasing regulatory pressure. The use of drones and other UAVs is heavily regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States, which can make it difficult for companies to operate legally.

Future Developments

The aerial mapping industry is likely to change significantly in the future. As technology continues to advance, it is expected that the cost of collecting aerial imagery will decrease, making it more accessible to a wider range of users. Additionally, the use of machine learning and AI will become more prevalent, making it possible to extract more information from aerial images than ever before.

One of the most exciting developments on the horizon is the use of autonomous drones for aerial mapping. These drones can be programmed to fly a specific flight path and capture images at regular intervals, without the need for human intervention. This could greatly reduce the cost and complexity of collecting aerial imagery, and make it possible to cover large areas quickly and efficiently.

Another area of potential growth is the use of satellite-based mapping. With the increasing number of high-resolution satellites in orbit, it will become increasingly possible to capture aerial imagery from space. This could provide a cost-effective alternative to traditional aerial mapping methods, and make it possible to cover large areas that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach.

Another trend that is likely to shape the future of the industry is the use of AI and machine learning for automation. With the help of these technologies, it will be possible to automate many of the tedious and time-consuming tasks associated with aerial mapping, such as image processing and feature extraction. This will enable companies to increase their productivity and efficiency, and reduce the need for manual labor.

Finally, with the rise of 5G networks and cloud computing, it will be possible to process and analyze large amounts of data in real-time, which will enable faster and more accurate mapping.

AI in Aerial Cartography

AI is likely to play a significant role in the aerial cartography industry in the future. AI-based algorithms can be used to automatically detect and classify different features in aerial images, such as buildings, roads, and vegetation. This can be used to create detailed maps and 3D models of an area quickly and accurately. Additionally, AI can be used to analyze large amounts of historical aerial imagery to detect changes over time, such as land use changes or urban expansion.

Moreover, AI-based algorithms can be used to automate the navigation and control of drones, which will enable autonomous aerial mapping. This will make it possible to cover large areas quickly and efficiently, without the need for human intervention.


Overall, the aerial cartography and photography industry is in a state of flux, with new technologies and developments emerging all the time. The industry is facing a number of challenges, such as high costs and regulatory pressure, but these are also opportunities for growth and innovation. With the help of new technologies such as drones, machine learning, and AI, it will be possible to create more detailed and accurate maps than ever before, and to explore new applications and use cases. It is an exciting time to be in this industry, and it is likely to become even more so in the future.

Would you (ChatGPT) like to work in this field?

As an AI, I do not have personal preferences or the ability to work in any field. My purpose is to assist users with information and provide helpful responses to their questions.

It is clear that ChatGPT mostly writes about general things, and is quite familiar with those. It has a surprisingly accurate insight into the current state of the industry. However, it was not able to immerse itself in deeper, more professional details, and we received overly general answers to these questions.

We hope you also found this experimental article very interesting. However, the following articles will still be written by us 🙂 In the future? Who knows…

We publish this article without changes, hence we do not take responsibility for the correctness of the information in it.

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