Camouflage consists in part of placing or removing patterns of material between the potential viewer and the thing which is desired to remain hidden. Generally this has been accomplished with military applications by layers of color covering over the foreground in front of the object designed to look as much as possible like the background behind the object. More dedicated and effective is to place netting over the object and then work appropriate ribbons or local artifacts into the nets. Previous blog posts on this subject have suggested several improvements for seeing past this simple form of camouflage. Let us combine these into a more coherent statement.
A view past simple layered camouflage may be had if high resolution aerial photographs are available of the field in question. These photos can be used by blinking between photographs taken at some time in the past and others made at the present, so that differences between the two become visible.
A second method that can be used in addition, if the previous aerial photographs are available, when the new view is from the ground, is to compare a three-dimension aerial photo with what is viewed directly in frontal view. This is comparable to raking light showing irregularities on a smooth surface, as any height irregularities will become visible. These become even more effective if some of the photos can be made in infrared, and several infrareds are taken at different times to show the rate of cooling of the area being observed. The same can be done in ordinary color photos showing color changes of vegetation at different times of the year.
Many different types of visualizations of an area should be made as economically as possible, and from the same point in space, so the combined overlays of many different views may be blinked to show differences. Two images are the bare minimum for blinking, and a hundred is not too many, if they can be instantly switched between any of them from any of the stack. The places where differences appear in different views may be selected for stacked blinking of those particular images. This will be possible with computer-displayed images, and after a particular location is pointed out, either by a human operator or by a computer selection, that location would be viewed in sequences of blinked images to maximize its contrasts. The more complex computer operations need not be done on site, and the current display images presented to the field personnel.
Another tool could be created which would be like the scratch remover in photo programs. This could be made to be automatic because much of that type of operation is already automatic. It could be made much better by using two images, like spaced binoculars if done in real time, and thus a depth perception scraper program could be used to remove obscuring factors in layers as we proceeded away to binocular viewpoints. It wouldn’t be necessary to totally remove larger objects; just the sides of them could be cloned over a little. As depth was cleared away the materials behind would be revealed with greater clarity. If the aerial overlay images could be blended to these on-site ones, then the original ground surface could be revealed and compared with what had become visible with the scraper program. If a second series of these types of pictures could be made from some lateral distance to the side then the two views could be combined, and any camouflaged items would probably become easily discovered.
It is the removal of obfuscations and the layering of clear perceptions that bring on a gestalt realization of unseen but real facts.