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About Aerial Photography

Aerial photography records the ever-changing cultural and natural features on the Earth's surface.

It shows geographical features such as:

  • mountains
  • canyons
  • flatlands
  • rivers from the source to the mouth

It reveals the earth’s resources, such as:

  • lakes
  • forests

It captures:

  • residential and industrial areas
  • road and rail networks

It has many practical applications such as:

  • map-making
  • urban and rural planning
  • environmental impact studies
  • civil law cases
  • real estate evaluations
  • and even wall art

What types of photographic products are available?

  • Contact prints are photographs (black and white or colour) made from film negatives, and exposed on 25cm x 25cm (10"x10") matte photographic paper. A less expensive but lower resolution alternative is to produce a laser-copy of the photo on high-gloss paper using the Library's high quality greyscale/colour photocopier.
  • Digital Imagery is a contact prints scanned at high resolution and saved in raster format. It can be used in computer graphics software or geographic information systems, and enlarged or reduced for easier analysis of study areas. The image can be published in reports or on websites (with copyright approval).
  • Air Photo Enlargements can be made to customized scales, and are useful when an enlarged image of an area is required. Generally, photos can be enlarged up to 5 times with excellent results. Enlargements are exposed on matte photographic paper, with sizes ranging from 25cm x 25cm (10"x10") up to 101cm x 152cm (40"x60").

To locate air photos see the Earth Observation Data Management System.

For more information on products and services, please contact National Air Photo Library.


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