• The video feed captured from drones is presented via a visual interface to the pilots as a series of small images that form one large moving picture, providing an overview or map of a particular area. General Atomics are the manufacturers of the MQ-1B Predator. The Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) is a family of sensor solutions that can track and detect targets from a distance. It consists of a forward- looking pod combining multiple sensors. The MTS equips aerial platforms with an electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) full-motion video camera system that permits long- range surveillance and high-altitude acquisition, tracking and laser designation. Each trailer on Creech AF Base holds a two-person crew: a pilot and a ‘sensor’, who operates the ‘ball’ (camera). Both face half a dozen computer screens that show map displays and close-up shots of the area under surveillance. As in any plane, the pilot uses a flight stick with various buttons to fly the drone. The drone flies a pre-programmed hexagon, racetrack, bow tie, or some other annular holding pattern, recording and capturing imagery as it hovers unseen over the area under surveillance. Aerial mapping or photographic reconnaissance has been used by air forces since early in the 20th century, overlapping a number of photographs to form a large photomosaic map of the area. Such photomosaics were widely used to map the trenches during World War I. The mosaic was itself then photographed and disseminated to the front line. Image interpreters knew how things were meant to look and, as Alan Sekula succinctly put it in his essay The Instrumental Image: Steichen at War, ‘as sources of military intelligence, these pictures carried an almost wholly denotative significance’. The photographs that constitute the mosaics are from the first edition of Jane’s Pocket Book of Remotely Piloted Vehicles, published in 1977, and unidentifiable landscapes photographed from either the USA or Pakistan in 2011 – 2013. Each montage is accompanied by a ‘pattern’.
  • Ellipse
  • Racetrack
  • Split
  • Bowtie
  • Hexagon
  • Lawnmower
  • Spot
  • Circular