USA Aloft is a New Hampshire based company specializing in digital photography, ground-based and aerial, including conventional and stereo images. USA Aloft’s unique aircraft-mounted dual camera arrangement combined with an onboard computer system for camera control and image collection takes 3D stereo images while the pilot flies a precise GPS assisted route. Post-processing identifies the time, position and direction of each image for use in custom designed selection and viewing software. This software allows the user to “fly” a route, viewing images and other information chosen with a variety of controls.
USA Aloft will offer its first release of the software this fall with a collection of images and other information from the Lewis and Clark Trail. Read about the Lewis and Clark Project.
Much of USA Aloft's work is done in stereo. Using two images taken from different viewpoints , a 3D view is created. Viewing devices range from colored glasses, polarized glasses and special lens systems, to special goggles. Amazing new technology even allows you to view 3D directly on special computer screens with no special glasses. However, with a few minutes of training, many people can view properly presented images in 3D with just the naked eye. Read more about stereo imaging.
From specialized camera systems, computer software and GPS systems to an airplane platform for data collection, USA Aloft employs a wide variety of modern technology in its daily work. Read about this technology and how USA Aloft uses it to present digital images.
USA Aloft draws on years of experience and expertise with computer software design, computer graphics, photography and systems integration to offer a range of other products and services. An authoring version of our software is available, along with access to our database of over 50,000 Lewis and Clark images. We can help you create a database covering your favorite historical trail or geographic region. Our consulting services can make our software library available to your project. Read more about our offerings.
David Saxe is a Systems Architect, Pilot and Photographer with a strong background in scientific programming and systems design. Barbara Benton is a Reviewer Extraordinaire, reviewing everything from concept and design to implementation and user interface. Christoph Saxe is a Consultant in Portland Oregon and serves as editor, critic, reviewer and web design consultant. Learn more about the backgrounds of the talented people at USA Aloft.
USA Aloft LLC was formed in 2003 by David Saxe, specifically to pursue his dream of creating a digital record of the Lewis and Clark Trail. As a pilot and small plane owner, David had flown from New Hampshire to Oregon in 2001. Realizing upon return that he had flown over much of the Lewis and Clark Trail, he set out to discover how his costs compared to that of the original trip. The initial research found that in 1803, then President Thomas Jefferson had proposed spending $2500 to explore the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. Adding up lodging and meals, airplane fuel, navigational charts and some oxygen equipment not needed for low altitude East Coast flying, David found his costs to be in line with the proposed costs for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. But he dug just a bit deeper to find that the documented costs for the Expedition were nearly $39,000. Some estimates put the amount at twice that figure. By now, the research had taken its toll. Bitten by the Lewis and Clark bug, fascinated with the remarkable story, and awed by the unique perspective that flying the route had given him, David knew he had to make his experience available to others. Bringing together his unique blend of talents as a pilot, photographer and systems architect, David formed USA Aloft to produce an affordable digital record of the Expedition's route available with an intuitive user interface.
Flying to Oregon, 2001