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Imagery and Remote Sensing

The content of this guide was created by Bob Sathrum, retired 6/2013


  • California Aerial Photo Collection (University of California, Davis Map Collection) Lists aerial photography by county that is available at UC Davis.

  • California Air Photo Catalog (UC Berkeley, Earth Sciences and Map Library) Catalog of 80,000 aerial photographs of Northern California available at the UC Berkeley Earth Sciences and Map Library. Searchable by county and date.

  • Catalog of Coastal Aerial Photography (UC Berkeley Water Resources Center Archives) Catalog of aerial photography that dates from th mid-1940's to the mid-1950's. Search by state, county and keyword.

  • Fairchild Aerial Photography Collection (Whittier College) General guide to the 500,000 aerial photographs taken by Fairchild Aerial Photos between the period 1927 and 1965. Includes table showing number of flights by California county.

  • Map and Aerial Photo Collections by County (California Only): Primary Collection Responsibility (University of California) Lists by county the institutions responsible for collecting aerial photography of that area.

  • Northern California Coastal Photography, Beach Profile and Bathymetry Index (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) 1987 (print copy available in Ref GB 458.8 N67 1987) Inventory of central and northern California coastal aerial photography, bathymetric surveys, beach profiles, and shoreline changes available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District; and other federal and state agencies. Appendix A reproduces "An Index to Historical Hydrographic and Topographic Charts of the California Coast Located in the Files of the State Lands Commission. Photographs and beach profiles from the corps were compiled to document dimensions and beach characteristics, historic shoreline changes, effects of storms and structures on the beach, and significant beach and inlet changes.

  • Southern California Coastal Photography and Beach Profile Index (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) 1986 (print copy available in TC 224 C2 S685 1986) Inventory of southern California coastal aerial photography, ground photos and beach profile data available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District. Also includes aerial photography from other agencies available at the district office and an index of historical hydrographic suveys conducted by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. The photographs and beach profiles were compiled to document dimensions and beach characteristics, historic shoreline changes, effects of storms and structures on the beach, and significant beach and inlet changes.


  • Aerial Photography of Southern California (California State University, Long Beach. Department of Geology) Includes high-quality digital photographs taken from low-flying airplanes across scenic and geologically significant portions of southern California.

  • Alexandria Digital Library (University of California, Santa Barbara Map and Imagery Laboratory) California coverage includes includes DOQQs for much of California and historical aerial photography of southern California.

  • California Aerial Reconnaissance Project (California Geographical Survey) Collection of aerial flight animations created from satellite imagery for regions within California.

  • California Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images (California Geographical Survey) Collection of panoramic images that are photorealistic mathematical simulations created from satellite data. Images are arranged by California landform region.

  • California Coastal Records Project (Adelman) Contains over 50,000 recent and historical oblique color aerial photographs of the California coastline. Recent flights start in 2002 and continue forward and historic flights cover 1972, 1979, 1987 and 1989. Search using a clickable map, geographic coordinates, or image caption. Compare photographs of the same geographic region taken over time.

  • Historical Aerial Photos (California State University, San Bernadino Water Resources Institute) Includes images of aerial photographs ranging in date from the 1920's to the 1960's for selected locations in inland southern California.

  • Imagery (Cal-Atlas Geospatial Clearinghouse) Includes collections of USGS Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quads, National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery, Landsat imagery and detailed imagery of some urban areas.

  • Online Aerial Photographs (UC Berkeley Earth Sciences and Map Library) Includes images of San Francisco Bay area and Yosemite Valley aerial photography that range in date from 1928 to 2000.

  • United States-Mexico Border Color Image Map (US Geological Survey) 1979-1983 (print copies available in map G 4296 F2 S25 G4) Map series at a scale of 1:25,000 that are color photography of the California and Arizona border with Mexico.