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Maps and Geospatial Information: Aerial photographs

This is the guide to the Library's Map Collection, and information regarding Geospatial Information.

Aerial photographs

Discovery interface to National Forest Air Photos of Colorado


The Library has recently added more than 107,000 aerial photographs of Colorado to our collection.  These photos were donated to the Library by the U.S. Forest Service, and cover the the National Forests of Colorado.  All of the sets of photos have been cataloged and the individual photos are available for checkout, just like the maps and books in the Library.

The Library has a large collection (156,000+) of aerial photographs of Colorado (no other states are collected).  Most were shot in the mid-1930s through the early 1950s for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Soil Conservation Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Mines does have some unique photos from the early 1930s of the Front Range area take by the Lowry Field Photographers School.  Other than the Denver area, the Library has very few recent aerial photos.

The indexes to the air photo sets are located in the green map cases in the Map Room. Some of the photographs have no indexes and some of the indexes have no photographs.

All of the air photos sets are listed in the Library's Catalog.  To find aerial photographs of parts of Colorado, search for "[county] name" and "aerial photographs."  The photos are located in blue, plastic boxes on the compact shelving units in the Map Collection. The photographs are filed by set.  Most of the aerial photographs call numbers begin with "G4311.A4 svar .U5".  While the aerial photographs may be checked out like books and maps, you must see the Map Librarian before you proceed to Circulation with the photos.

While these sites are mostly known for their road map features, each also has current satellite images or aerial photographs:

  • Bing Maps -- Features bird's-eye (oblique or side-view) aerial photographs.
  • Google Maps -- Features street view photographs.
  • Google Earth (a program you must download and install) includes historic aerial photos.

Some aerial photographs and satellite images are available on the web:

List of aerial photographs and satellite images links:

Historic aerial photos