Aerial survey is a method of collecting geomatic or other imagery by using airplanes, helicopters, UAVs, balloons or other aerial methods. Typical types of data collected include aerial photography, Lidar, remote sensing (using various visible and invisible bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as infrared, gamma, or ultraviolet) and also geophysical data (such as aeromagnetic surveys and gravity. It can also refer to the chart or map made by analysing a region from the air. Aerial survey should be distinguished from satellite imagery technologies because of its better resolution, quality and atmospheric conditions (which can negatively impact and obscure satellite observation). Today, aerial survey is sometimes recognized as a synonym for aerophotogrammetry, part of photogrammetry where the camera is placed in the air. Measurements on aerial images are provided by photogrammetric technologies and methods.
Aerial surveys can provide information on many things not visible from the ground.