Counting people is a common topic in the area of visual surveillance and crowd analysis. While many image-based solutions are designed to count only a few persons at the same time, like pedestrians entering a shop or watching an advertisement, there is hardly any solution for counting large crowds of several hundred persons or more. We addressed this problem previously by designing a semi-automatic system being able to count crowds consisting of hundreds or thousands of people based on aerial images of demonstrations or similar events. This system requires major user interaction to segment the image. Our principle aim is to reduce this manual interaction. To achieve this, we propose a new and automatic system. Besides counting the people in large crowds, the system yields the positions of people allowing a plausibility check by a human operator. In order to automatize the people counting system, we use crowd density estimation. The determination of crowd density is based on several features like edge intensity or spatial frequency. They indicate the density and discriminate between a crowd and other image regions like buildings, bushes or trees. We compare the performance of our automatic system to the previous semi-automatic system and to manual counting in images. By counting a test set of aerial images showing large crowds containing up to 12,000 people, the performance gain of our new system will be measured. By improving our previous system, we will increase the benefit of an image-based solution for counting people in large crowds.