Does anyone have a recommendation for a work flow for georeferencing high resolution aerial photography using open source tools? Comparison of user friendliness and robustness between Quantum GIS versus GDAL?
GDAL user-friendliness is basically nonexistent, but hot damn does it ever work well. I wrote up this guide to my own georeferencing experiments a few years ago: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/flea-market-mapping.html
It's a bit out of date, but the basic elements are there: find matching points between your image and a reference map (I'd now recommend http://getlatlon.com in favor the one at http://gorissen.info), use gdal_translate to knock up a virtual raster, and then you're basically done in the sense that the resulting VRT file can be converted to the GeoTIFF or tile of your choice.
I'm doing a lot with this right now, including collaborating with Tim Waters on the excellent server-side Map Warper mentioned in this thread, so there may be some new stuff in the near future loosely based on some experiments I did in JS last year: http://mike.teczno.com/notes/canvas-warp.html
I do know of two web-based solutions that might be worth taking a look at:
I'm pretty sure Tim Waters open sourced his code, so even if these particular tools don't suit your needs, looking at their source might give you some insights.
Sorry, I can't post more than one external link because I am apparently less than reputable.
I find QGis's georeferencer to be pretty decent for a point and click tool. I wrote a little guide - image georeferencing with QGIS - which is slightly Canadian data-source specific, but walks through all the steps you need to get an arbitrary map into QGis.
You can also use the Image rectifier plug-in in MapWindow. It uses an enhanced 4 or 6 point algorithm.
Since you are using aerial images: do you need orthorectification? In that case I guess ILWIS would be your best bet, although GRASS also supports it (I haven't tried that myself though).
Work flow for ILWIS is described here: http://spatial-analyst.net/PDF/TN_Ortofoto_in_ILWIS.pdf
If you have or can create a *.geom file for your image, you can use orthoigen is gdal to quorthorectify your imagery.
OpenEV comes with FWTools, seems OK to me but I load 300 MB images into QGIS easily and deal with them there. So I can recommend it only from casual use.
and is built with GDAL