Aerial Photograph Interpreter

Discover important information by analyzing aerial photographs.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$23,000 – $61,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Aerial Photograph Interpreters do?

In modern warfare and Spy games, satellite and other photographic machinery are vital to knowing what the enemy is up to. An Aerial Photograph Interpreter is responsible for “reading” photographs in order to identify significant data (military, resource, or topographical) and to assess the significance of that data. Aerial Photograph Interpreters work for an agency, most likely governmental, and act as experts on the importance of the images and what they mean for their agency.

It’s not an easy task to interpret photographs. If you’re an Aerial Photograph Interpreter, your eyes need to see texture and changes in the photographs that can go unnoticed. Often, the quality is so bad that you use other forms of data, like topography, to construct a better image. Computers and data banks are also alternative resources.

This means that on the surface, you’re a Data Analyst, but you’re also a Photograph Technician, using creative thinking to get the job done.

As a vital part of the military, your expertise is required in the planning stages of missions. Using aerial photographs and vast knowledge of geography, you locate roads, tracks, bases, weapons, and other enemy resources. It’s upon your trusted judgment of size and location that a Commander deploys troops. Given the importance of your work, this is both a high-stress and high-rewards job.

Should I be an Aerial Photograph Interpreter?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Topographical Drafter

    How to Become an
    Aerial Photograph Interpreter

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Aerial Photograph Interpreter-related education!
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