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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 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 2000s 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 and the National Forests of Colorado, the Library has very few recent aerial photos.

The majority of photos may be located using the Library's Discovery Interface to National Forest Air Photos of Colorado.

The Library has created a second index to non-Forest Service aerial photographs.  This index has links to the scanned copies of the photos.
Index to 1950s-1970s air photos of Colorado.

Additional, paper 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.


Other collections of Colorado aerial 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 -- Includes historic aerial photos.

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

  • Earth Explorer is a U.S. Geological Survey World Wide Web-based query system.  Query and order satellite images, aerial photographs, and cartographic products through the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • EROS Data Center --The US agency which collects and processes satellite images. EROS has a variety of data sets, and includes information on documentation, image browsing (depending upon the data set), and ordering services.
  • Farm Service Agency, Aerial Photography Field Office -- Primary source of aerial imagery for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over 10,000,000 images, dating from 1955 through the present.
  • Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth -- Photos of the Earth taken by astronauts.
  • Landsat -- The latest Landsat Project -- satellite image of the world.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Photo Library
  • Wayback Imagery -- a digital archive of the World Imagery basemap, enabling users to access different versions of World Imagery captured over the years, dating back to February 2014.
  • ASPRS Aerial Data Catalog -- a tool for locating aerial photography over the U.S. and international coverage areas created by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) “The Imaging and Geospatial Information Society.”

List of aerial photographs and satellite images links:

Historic aerial photos