A high-definition aerial photograph of Grafton, taken in May 2016.
A high-definition aerial photograph of Grafton, taken in May 2016. Nearmap

LOOK: Grafton like you've never seen it before

STUNNING aerial photography from Australian-based start-up tech company Nearmap has given a never-before seen birds-eye view of Grafton.

The high definition photography, taken from an aeroplane that flew over Grafton in May this year, is the sharpest aerial imaging ever taken of the area, and gives a unique view of not just buildings and neighbourhoods, but also geography and topography.

Nearmap vice-president of marketing James Rabey said the images represent a huge advance in aerial imaging.

"Aerial photography has been around since the 1840s, and rather than using satellites to take photos, which have to take an image through a lot of atmosphere, we are very close to what we are photographing and we can capture a great amount of area," he said.

"With the sort of image you get from a satellite, every pixel represents about a metre. The sort of resolution we get, every pixel gives us 7cm of actual terrain, so the detail is immense. On Google Earth, people can see their roof clearly. With our photographs, you can see each individual tile clearly."

This high resolution has many applications, and Mr Rabey said there has been significant interest in their fly-over of Grafton.

"The interest in Grafton is the amount of investment that is going on there," he said.

"A colleague has had a discussion with the NSW Government about the new jail at Pillar Valley, and it's not just the building of the jail but the knock-on effect of the landscape which is something we can photograph and measure. The level of resolution our photographs take means we can derive true elevation models and develop the lie of the land."

Mr Rabey said the technology has many uses, from construction and engineering to architecture to building companies who want to survey area before building.

"We've developed technology that has allowed up to capture large areas of land, process the data quickly and provide the images to anyone with a professional interest in them," he said.

"We try and bring the world to you, because you can't be everywhere at once."

One example Mr Rabey used to explain the implementation of Nearmap technology was when they took aerial photographs of Mackay after it was devastated by Cyclone Marcia. The images were able to be used by insurance companies from their offices, and rather than flying out to the area and assessing in person, the damage to customer's houses was able to be examined from their head office with accurate quotes, and repair crews dispatched on a priority basis, saving time and money in the process.

"People who are doing pool fencing are able to use our images and able to measure up exactly how much fencing is needed, and can do a very accurate quote and estimate without even leaving the office," Mr Rabey said.

Nearmap started out of Western Australia seven years ago before relocating to Sydney, where it has expanded into a publicly listed company, taking aerial photography across the world. So far, their images have captured a population size of more than 200 million people.

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