Since the earliest days of photogrammetry, there have been photogrammetrists who have directed research effort towards medical measurement. Although the specific motivation for these studies has not always been disclosed, it is probably because of the various benefits that photogrammetry can offer to humanity as a painless and non-invasive means of providing medical practitioners with spatial measurement relating to the human body. The intention of this paper is to reflect on the place of the many medical developments within the photogrammetric world. The various photogrammetric applications in medicine are summarised to identify the characteristics of medical photogrammetry, and it becomes evident that medical photogrammetrists have developed a range of body measurements using widely varying photogrammetric techniques, in response to the demands for specialised spatial measurement tools for a wide variety of medical ends. This volume of research activity has made medical measurement a substantial and varied sector of non-mapping photogrammetry. It is also clear that there are numerous challenges to the design of medical photogrammetric systems. They must give paramount consideration to the human patients and their comfort; they must yield not simply spatial data about the body but rather specific medical information. At the same time, it is of concern that non-photogrammetric scientists and engineers have developed medical measurement systems based on both photogrammetric and other optical techniques. Fortunately, photogrammetrists can also contribute to medical problems through their spatial data experiences. It is concluded that the many distinctive challenges mean that medical photogrammetry has not yet been as successful at changing the world as the extensive efforts applied to it suggest, but nevertheless, medical photogrammetry deserves to be recognised as a category of close range photogrammetry which remains a valuable pursuit which should not be abandoned because of any difficulties.
ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Vol. 56, Issue 5-6, p. 286-294