The Development of Photogrammetry in Switzerland

Introduction

Authors: David Hughes, Peter Fricker, Alain Chapuis, E. Traversari, P. Schreiber, F. Schapira
edited by J.Dedual


In order to follow the first steps of photogrammetry in Switzerland, the book on the history of Photogrammetry in Switzerland “ Photogrammetrie in der Schweiz – Geschichte – Entwicklung " [1] is the best starting point. The history of the relatively young SGPBF (founded on the 22nd of Sept. 1928) and the two manufacturing companies Kern Aarau and Wild Heerbrugg, (both now consolidated into Leica Geosystems AG) are inseparably connected with each other. The following report sets out to explain how technological development, market requirements and infrastructure worked together to favour a small country such as Switzerland establish such a dominant influence on this technology.


Summary


This report discusses the three important stages of analogue, analytical and digital photogrammetry development in relation to terrestrial and airborne applications. The products of the companies Kern Aarau and Wild Heerbrugg are listed in order of their date of market introduction together with important system characteristics [ 2 ]. As of 1990 both companies were integrated into the Leica company. Lack of space in this report forces the authors to limit the product illustrations and descriptions to those highlights of major importance and technological breakthrough.


The analogue period


This period is characterized by the extraordinary longevity of the instruments. The development went from 1922 to 1990, when the last analogue instrument AG1 left the factory. Many of these instruments were upgraded with a digital output and software for PCs so hundreds are still in use to this day.


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  • Wild A6  (115x produced 1940 -1953)
    Wild A6 (115x produced 1940 -1953) less features than the A5
  • Ordovás- Kern  (1 Prototye 1930)
    Ordovás- Kern (1 Prototye 1930)
  • Wild A9  (71x produced 1959 -1974)
    Wild A9 (71x produced 1959 -1974) 3rd universal instrument of Wild with half format image carriers
  • Wild PUG4  (449x produced 1968 -1985)
    Wild PUG4 (449x produced 1968 -1985) improved PUG3 with zoom optics
  • Wild A7  (313x produced 1952 -1972)
    Wild A7 (313x produced 1952 -1972) 2nd universal instrument of Wild
  • Wild B8S  (808x produced 1971 -1982)
    Wild B8S (808x produced 1971 -1982) most important 2nd order instrument of Wild
  • Wild A5  (90x produced 1937 -1953)
    Wild A5 (90x produced 1937 -1953) 1st universal instrument of Wild, workhorse instrument during WWII years
  • Wild B9  (31x produced 1969 -1971)
    Wild B9 (31x produced 1969 -1971) complementary to the A9 with half format image carriers
  • Wild A4  (33x produced 1933 -1963)
    Wild A4 (33x produced 1933 -1963) Terrestrial photogrammetry with C12
  • Wild AM/AMH  (173x produced 1977 -1983)
    Wild AM/AMH (173x produced 1977 -1983) Family of universal instruments of Wild based on air cushions and in the accuracy class of the A8
  • Wild A2   (28x produced 1926 - 1932)
    Wild A2 (28x produced 1926 - 1932) For C2 and P3 photo plates
  • Wild A10  (308x produced 1969 -1984)
    Wild A10 (308x produced 1969 -1984) 4th universal instrument
  • Wild A1 (3 Prototypes 1923)
    Wild A1 (3 Prototypes 1923) Units sold: 3 Prototypes
  • Wild A8  (1070x produced 1952 -1980)
    Wild A8 (1070x produced 1952 -1980) “the” workhorse over nearly three decades
  • Wild B8  (721x produced 1961 -1972)
    Wild B8 (721x produced 1961 -1972) together with the B8S, the most-built instrument of 2nd order
  • Kern PMG2  (>60x produced 1977 -1994)
    Kern PMG2 (>60x produced 1977 -1994) point marking and transfer device with comparator characteristics
  • Kern PG0  (1 Prototype 1946)
    Kern PG0 (1 Prototype 1946) advanced but too expensive
  • Kern PG3  (30x produced 1971 -1981)
    Kern PG3 (30x produced 1971 -1981) universal instrument of Kern
  • Kern PG2/PG21  (>700x produced 1960 -1985)
    Kern PG2/PG21 (>700x produced 1960 -1985) most important instrument of Kern in the accuracy class of the A8
  • Wild AG1  (230x produced 1981 -1990)
    Wild AG1 (230x produced 1981 -1990) simplified, economical universal instrument in the A8 accuracy class
  • Wild PUG3  (310x produced 1959 -1973)
    Wild PUG3 (310x produced 1959 -1973) point marking and transfer device for aero triangulation
  • Wild A40  (89x produced 1964 -1982)
    Wild A40 (89x produced 1964 -1982) Terrestrial photogrammetry with C120 and C40
  • Wild AMU  (21x produced 1979 -1981)
    Wild AMU (21x produced 1979 -1981) 5th universal instrument of Wild – fully electronic

Legend:

A = Autograph of first order (Wild)  
B = Autograph of second order (Wild)     
PUG = Point marking & transfer device (Wild)  

PMG = Point marking device (Kern)
PG = Photogrametric Instrument (Kern)


Highlights in the development of the analogue photogrammetric instruments

It would have been inconceivable to think of photogrammetry instrument production in Switzerland without recognition of the following related factors:

  • The development of photography in France and Germany in the 19th century
  • The development of the basic theory of photogrammetry in Germany in the 19th and 20th century
  • The need for military maps in a topographically difficult country such as Switzerland, as was required during the period between WWI and WWII
  • Industries such as Zeiss in Jena and Kern and their supply of a basic stock of well trained precision mechanics and technical designers into the market
  • Business and capital commitment of a few Industrialists.

Without doubt, the need for military maps for reconnaissance was the driving force which guaranteed the market absorption of photogrammetry instruments in Switzerland and provided a base for the further development of instruments for civilian applications.

Today, the military customers of photogrammetric systems contribute a substantial part to the company turnover and are a driver for sophisticated development however the civilian users, after almost a century of instrument availability, have become the principal customers of photogrammetric systems.


The analytical period

Produkt
Product

Phase-in

Phase-out

Verkaufszahl
Unit Sales

 Merkmale
Characteristics

 

B8 Stereomat

1964

 

1 Prototyp

Automatische Korrelation entwickelt zusammen mit Raytheon USA


automated correlation developed with Raytheon of USA

A2000

1968

 

1 Prototyp

Automatisches Orthophoto Instrument


fully automatic orthophoto instrument

OR1

1975

1991

88

Rechnergesteuerter Spalten-Orthoprojektor


computer controlled slit ortho-projector

AC1

1980

1987

45

Höchste Genauigkeit (nach Abbé Prinzip)


Instrument based on Abbé principle

 

DSR1

1980

1984

30

Kompakt, gesteuert von mehreren Mikroprozessoren


compact system, controlled by several microprocessors

BC1

1982

1984

82

Vereinfachte Version des AC1 (ohne Abbé)


Simplified version of the AC1 (without Abbé)

DSR11

1984

1989

100

Vereinfachte Version des DSR1


Simplified version of the DSR1

 

BC2

1984

1989

184

PC Plattform


PC computer platform

S9-AP

1987

1990

30

Analytisches Auswertegerät für System 9 für direkte Datenerfassung in eine Datenbank.
Ab 1989 Prime Wild GIS AG zugehörig


analytical plotter for System 9 for online recording into a database, as of 1989 from Prime Wild GIS AG

 

DSR12
DSR14
DSR15

1988

1991

130

PDP Computer Platform
PC Plattform
VAX Plattform

BC3

1989

1990

65

Unix PC Computer Platform

SD2000

1991

 

>400

PC Plattform und Dateneinspeigelung


PC computer platform and image injection

SD3000

1992

 

>100

PC Plattform und Dateneinspiegelung, sowie optischer Basisumschaltung


PC computer platform and image injection as well as optical base change