An exportable wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system light enough to be mounted on small aerostats and masts. The entire system—aerostat and ground control station included—is, in fact, so compact that it can be transported in a Humvee and made airborne in under three hours. It can monitor a city-sized area at once, detecting vehicles and moving dismounts in near real-time. The WAMI sensor can also cue available high-resolution, narrow-field video cameras for close-in inspection. In addition, it records everything occurring within its field of view for later analysis.