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July 18th, 2023
Capturing Glastonbury Festival

Aerial Image Capture using Phase One Technology


Producing an aerial imagery orthophoto of the 2023 Glastonbury Festival relied on provision of cost effective and environmentally friendly aircraft and camera solution to deliver a photogrammetric solution that successfully navigated aerial imaging options.

Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, famous for its multiple days of music, poetry, and artistic performances. It famously began the day after Jimi Hendrix died in 1970 and has celebrated musical diversity nearly every year since.

Photographing this iconic event is a key priority for event organizers where more than 200,000 people gather to enjoy music across multiple stages at Worthy Farm in Somerset. Capturing aerial imagery is important for the organizers, as these images are used to review the staging positioning, and to plan future festivals across the vast, iconic area where Glastonbury is hosted each year.

From an aerial perspective, there was one major challenge. The project was outside of the scope of camera-mounted drone capture due to UAV safety restrictions and limitations; a heavier aircraft carrying large format camera (LFC) systems would have been prohibitively expensive and environmentally unfriendly. What was needed was a cost-effective, safe, and low carbon emission aircraft camera solution.

DEA Aviation, a world leading technology-led provider of specialized aerial data acquisition services had its high-efficiency Diamond DA-42 aircraft fitted with a Phase One PAS150 compact aerial camera system with an RS-50mm lens. The DEA experts chose Phase One imaging technology because it was “just right.” The system could both capture and efficiently process the requisite high quality aerial images and offer superior flexibility and ease of installation.

“The entire PAS150 kit has such flawless integration between its multiple pieces, and as a result, provides a full and effective package to easily perform what would otherwise be complicated tasks.” — Will Travis, DEA Task Specialist. 

Flying at an altitude of 3,250ft Above Main Sea Level (AMSL) due to a local Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) restriction of 3000ft AMSL, resulted in a Ground Sample Distance (GSD) of 6.5cm. GSD is a metric used in aerial surveillance that determines the quality of the photograph, effectively the distance on the ground that would be visible to the observer.

From start to finish, it took just one hour of image capture, covering a total area of approximately 30KM2 spread across the main festival site, and three smaller logistical targets. With a total system weight of 19kg this was easily captured in a single flight of the DA42 including transit to and from DEA’s base at Retford Gamston Airport.

A total of 246 images were captured with a 60% forward and 30% side overlap used. The whole dataset was processed and delivered in one week, due to the efficiency of iX-Process, Phase One’s proprietary processing solution. With iX-Process it was possible to radiometrically, and geometrically correct all captured raw files, and export to Tiff files in less than two hours. This meant that data was quickly ingested into the AT and further downstream processing was extremely efficient.

Paul Evans, the Senior Business Manager for DEA described the process: “With great support from Phase One we completed a very successful flight over one of the world’s iconic events. The camera technology of the PAS150 system delivered high quality imagery, and because the PAS150 system is robust, compact and lightweight we could fly using our fuel efficient and low carbon emission Diamond DA-42 aircraft.”

About DEA

DEA Aviation Limited (DEA) is a world leading technology-led provider of specialized aerial data acquisition services. DEA deploys state-of-the-art aerial sensing and digital processing technology in dynamic, challenging environments worldwide and is frequently relied upon to provide critical security services of national importance, demanding class-leading safety, and compliance processes.

DEA’s Innovative Technology is industry leading, and our expertise, experience and capability form the foundation of everything we do.

About Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury Festival is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts held near Pilton, Somerset, England in most summers. In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. The event has run for over 50 years commencing in 1970 on the Eavis family farm.


About Phase One

Phase One – a pioneer of digital imaging sensors and airborne systems for the Geo market and the largest provider of aerial cameras based on a long tradition for outstanding image quality and reliable sensors. Founded in 1994, Phase One is a pioneer of digital photography. Phase One has developed core imaging technologies and a range of digital cameras and imaging modules, providing the world’s highest image quality in terms of resolution, dynamic range, color fidelity and geometric accuracy. As such, Phase One has grown to become the leading provider of high-end imaging technology across many demanding business segments, such as space imaging, aerial mapping, industrial inspection, and heritage digitization, as well as serving the world’s most demanding professional photographers.