I asked Wikipedia where the phrase ‘Bird’s Eye View’ came from. Wikipedia just shrugged and said that it had been around for centuries. It did suggest a couple of things that I might be interested to look at. The first was Pictometry. This is taking lots of photos, usually from low flying aircraft, at an angle of forty degrees. This produces pictures where the exact global position of every pixel is known. As with anything that humans meddle in, unfortunately the pixels are trapezoidal, so you need special software to be able to see the photos.
Wikipedia did mention that prior to the advent of cameras, ‘Bird’s Eye View’ paintings and drawings were popular. It offered me some examples, one of which was a depiction of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909, taken from a postcard of the period. This was another of those ‘World Fair’ things that everyone was doing at that time. They had originally intended to hold it in 1907 – and they could easily have been ready in time but the organisers heard of another fair being held that year so they re-scheduled their event. A lucky break as it turned out, 1907 was a poor year for the economy, by 1909 things had picked up – they had three and a half million visitors.
Newsworthy items from the time of the exposition included two young lads, just out of school, who cycled a thousand miles of back-country tracks and paths from Santa Rosa in California to arrive at the fair in time to earn a twenty-five dollar prize – and a one month old orphan baby, Earnest, who was raffled off. The raffle was drawn – but the prize doesn’t appear to have ever been claimed. No one is too sure, but Earnest probably went back to the orphanage.
Then Google found this for me ‘Bird’s Eye View‘ a UK organisation , hard at work ‘Celebrating Women Filmmakers’ as they put it.
Clever name hey?