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Maps and Geospatial Information

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

Aerial photographs

Discovery interfaces to Air Photos of Colorado
National Forest air photos Denver and Golden air photos USGS air photos

The Library has a large collection (164,000+) of aerial photographs of Colorado (no other states are collected).  Most were shot from the mid-1930s through the early 2000s for the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Soil Conservation Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Mines does have some unique photos, most noteworthy 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 Library has created 3 discovery interfaces for its air photo collection.  Each interface covers different photos in the collection.

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 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:

List of aerial photographs and satellite images links:

Aerial photography explanations, tutorials & text:


Air photo tutorial 2.0

Discover how to use air photos to find clues from the past to understand the present.

This FREE 30-minute tutorial will change the way you look at the world. 

Love puzzles & want a challenge? — Take some of our 43 quizzes!

Already know a lot about aerial photographs?  PROVE IT by taking the quizzes.

Historic aerial photos