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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Online Aerial Photography

This guide links to freely available sources of online aerial photography of Oregon and the United States


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Kathy Stroud
University of Oregon Libraries
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1299

Aerial Photography Guide

This guide briefly describes the University of Oregon's Aerial Photography collection. We have an extensive collection of older Oregon and western Washington photography that is not available digitally. The guide also links to free aerial photography, emphasis on Oregon, that you may use for your research. It is not an exhaustive list and other sources can frequently be found by searching the web for aerial photography and then the US state or other region you are interested in. If you don't find what you need here, please contact us and we may be able to help you locate the photography you need.

Aerial Photography

Aerial photographs are pictures taken of the earth's surface from an airplane or other airborne platform. Aerial photography is used for map-making, geology studies, land-use planning, archeology, environmental studies, military surveillance, and many other applications. In the United States, aerial photographs are used in many Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for property analysis. Older aerial photography is a valuable resource for historic research. Since the 1930’s when aerial photography became a common mapping tool in the United States, the same areas have often been photographed in multiple years for different purposes, creating a record of the earth's surface over time.  These photographs document the condition of the ground at the time they were flown. By comparing older and newer photographs of the same area you can observe and document changes in land-cover and use of an area over time.

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