The National Archives holds 35 million aerial photographs. Navigating all of the different Record Groups and series can be a challenge. The Cartographic Branch, who holds the majority of the aerial photography at the National Archives, wanted to make it easier for researchers to be able to learn how to research various types of aerial photography. As a result, we created a new web page that details all of the different types of aerial photography held at NARA: Aerial Photography. The aim of the web page is to consolidate information for all of the aerial photography holdings at NARA in one place that is easy to navigate. While the web page currently includes information for aerial photography in the Cartographic Branch, we plan to add information regarding aerial photography in the Still Picture Branch and field sites this fiscal year.


To begin using the aerial photography web page, researchers can select what type of records they are looking for: domestic photography, foreign photography, or satellite photography.



Selecting any of these options will open another page detailing how to go about researching these records and what Record Groups are available.



Clicking on each link will bring you to a page that describes how to access the aerial photography for that specific Record Group.


Each page provides detailed information about how to access indexes for photography and the photography itself. If researchers aren’t sure where to look, the Cartographic Branch reference team can provide links to relevant pages for each researcher who sends a request.


The aerial photography web page also provides information on reproductions.



Researchers can get information about how to reproduce aerial photography before arriving onsite. This way, they can know what to expect and be prepared if they want to copy photography.


The aerial photography web page is meant to be a starting point for researchers and to provide them with all of the information they need to be able to research and copy aerial photography. While there are more updates to come, all of the Cartographic holdings are described and available for researchers. As previously mentioned, Still Picture aerial photography holdings, as well as aerial photography at field sites, will be added in the coming year.


Please direct any questions about the web page or any general aerial photography questions to the aerial photography Subject Matter Expert at