In July 1927, the Royal Air Force carried out an aerial survey of the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo. Photographs were taken with two experimental types of aerial survey camera, mounted in a Fairey IIID seaplane, specially modified for the task.
Due to its strategic position in the central Mediterranean, Britain maintained a strong military presence in Malta during the 20th century. Reliable and up to date maps were considered essential for the defence of the island and copies of the aerial photographs were subsequently sent to the Geographical Section General Staff (GSGS), to aid in the preparation of new maps of the islands.
The officers responsible for the survey would go on to greater things in later years. The photographic officer, Flying Officer Francis Cator, became a Group Captain and served as officer commanding RAF Medmenham, home of the Allied Central Interpretation Unit, during the Second World War. Ground survey work in Malta and Gozo was carried out by Lieutenant Martin Hotine, who would later be promoted Brigadier and served from 1946-1963 as Director of the Directorate of Colonial Surveys, the organisation which became the Directorate of Overseas Surveys.