Saturday, November 20, 2004

Up in the Sky...It's a Camera

Mike Ball in La Mirada, California, near Los Angeles, is in the airborne robotic photography business. (No link here. I can't find a Website. What is here is from cached Google searches and a article from October 26, 2004. That and related newspapers require a subscription to search the archives. Boo.)

A gray-bearded MB flies remotely controlled baguette-sized airplanes -- unmanned of course -- equipped with 4-megapixel cameras. He stands close and steers his robo-photo machines 100 feet above targets. He fires off dozens of shots for a few good ones.

Unfortunately there is no titillating angle, like tracking errant spouses. Typical customers are businesses that want a picture of a building or real estate for advertising. Mike's $100 to $200 fee is much cheaper than the same job from an regular plane or helicopter.

Apparently there are about a dozen U.S. companies doing this.

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