Donald D. Engen Observation Tower


Indela, Vanaja Parimala Rani, Distance learning student of Geospatial Analysis


November 22, 2014


ESU Geospatial Analysis Certificate ES 555.


To obtain some nice serial pictures of IAD (International Dulles Airport) by SFAP (Small Format Aerial Photography)


SFAP (Small Format Aerial Photography) is a method of taking pictures of the ground using kites and blimps. Cameras are attached to the camera rigs and these rigs are attached to the kites and blimps. The images are taken when it is sunny and in afternoon when the Sun is in a high position. The wind also should be mild or preferable when it is 5 to 10 miles per hour.

I did not have a chance to set up the KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) or blimps. So I chose the observation tower in Udvar Hazy Museum in Chantilly, Virginia to take the pictures of IAD (International Airport of Dulles). The IAD is the major busiest international airport serving Washington D.C. area.

The Donald D. Engen tower provides the 360 degrees birdís eye view of Washington D.C airport being its height 165 feet. The observation tower is located in the museum next to the airport overlooking it. The flights take off and land can be observed from inside the tower. I have obtained some pictures of the airport, run way and flight land.


The pictures were taken from inside the tower of glass window. So the clarity of pictures may not be 100 percent. Also the power of the lens of camera remains another constraint. Criteria that needs to be considered for this project:


The airport is located towards the North direction of the tower so the pictures are mostly obtained towards the North direction. The images of airport tower, runway and ground signals were obtained. The pictures were downloaded and processed in Adobe Photoshop. The images brightness, contrast and sharpness are also adjusted.

Full view of International Dulles Airport view

Near view of International Dulles Airport

Airport Tower

Ground Signals for the East side run way of the Dulles International Airport

East side run way of the Dulles International Airport

Udvar Hazy Museum entrance gate view next to east side runway


The images have been processed for brightness and contrast in Adobe Photoshop. SFAP is an easy method of obtaining oblique images. The Adobe Photoshop and Pt Gui are also an easy and inexpensive image processing softwares.


For Air and Space Museum