Aerial images are useful to government departments as they give more clarity and help to make more meaningful decisions. Governments need to make decisions on land use, zoning laws, taxation structures and even public security planning and provision.
Some of the areas that may benefit from aerial maps include mining, wildlife management, archaeology, the forestry department, environmental conservation and disaster response.
In the case of wild life management for example, it would be difficult to count the animals that do not sit in one place. Aerial maps then come in useful. Digital aerial maps are analysed using special software to analyse vegetation, count herds, and check the location of herds, fences, water points and even incidences of poaching.
Perhaps it is in archaeology that can find the most interesting usefulness of a different kind of aerial map. Remote sensing allows workers to see what lies beneath the surface of the ground without actually excavating it first. This is useful in oil and other mineral prospecting. Remote sensing can be done from handheld devices but also can be achieved through airborne devices like imaging satellite Landsat 1 launched in 1972. A better version called SIR-A launched by NASA was able to show how the modern Sahara dessert was full of rivers, lakes and vegetation. The river banks hence mapped yielded a lot of archaeological artefacts.
An environmental impact assessment study makes use of aerial maps. By comparing the different images over time scientists can identify deforestation, soil erosion, shrinkage of water sources among other effects. Oil spills would be so difficult to manage without the use aerial maps. With aerial maps the task of planning a clean up is much easier.
The use of aerial images by government in warfare and espionage is also very interesting. Governments can spy on rival armies discretely. When combine with Global Positioning System (GPS) it is possible to map the movement of vehicles and the movement and size of personnel. This assists in preparing an informed response. The placement of spying devices can also be mapped.
Aerial maps are very useful to government in the cases of disasters response and disaster management. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina aerial photographs helped in the planning of emergency response plans and delivery of aid and in the rescuing of survivors alike. Early warning information for drought and famine in Africa is obtained in part through aerial mapping techniques. Aerial maps will show conditions of landscape, community movements, the state of water sources and the condition of vegetation in the area. Governments can then make planned responses to the situation before disaster strikes.
There are several companies that offer high quality aerial mapping resources. Most offer high quality maps. Government departments also produce their own maps.