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Aerial view aids landscape planning.

If you've ever looked out an airplane window at the miniature towns below, you've probably wondered how your own house would look from above. And in fact, you may have reason to want an aerial photograph of it.

You can order one from the same companies that supply cities, counties, and private businesses with aerial surveys; check the yellow pages under Photographers--Aerial.

A planning aid. One practical reason to have a bird's-eye view taken is to help plan major remodeling or landscaping.

Landscape architects use them to make base plans of large or hard-to-measure sites, particularly where there are steep grade changes, rough natural terrain, or irregularly shaped pools to work around. But even for less complicated properties, an aerial picture can save the time and expense of hiring a drafting service or surveyor to produce a property plan.

A 24- by 36-inch black-and-white enlargement like the one shown above costs $225 to $450 (prices vary; shop around). If you're willing to wait, some firms will let you split flight costs--the bulk of the expense--with the next client they get in your area.

An aerial photography service can make the print at whatever scale you specify--20 feet to the inch, for eample. To establish scale, you need to provide identifiable reference points, such as the width of a driveway or the length of a roof. They can also give you a reproducible copy, so you can make blueprints from it. For an additional fee, you can order a print with topographic lines on it.

An aerial portrait. For a more pictorial view, you can order an oblique photograph shot at an angle, rather than a straight overhead. A 9- by 9-inch or 9- by 10-inch oblique color portrait also costs between $225 and $450.

Some services keep libraries of areas previously photographed. A print made from stock negative costs $50 to $75. You can arrange to take a look or discuss the kind of picture you have in mind.
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Date:Jun 1, 1985
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