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Research Guides

Map Resources: Aerial Photos

This page outlines some of the print and digital map collections available from the University of Idaho Library.

Aerial Photos Indexing

The collection is not browsable. Most of the aerial photos are identifiable primarily by county, date, and agency with some quad name and coordinates information for selected photos by using the index.
How to Use the Index
For more information on using the index, please see this guide or contact Rami Attebury.
Other Indexing
The largest set of photos, donated by the Walla Walla District of the Army Corps of Engineers, is search able using a printed keyword index produced by the ACE.
Most Soil Conservation Service photos are indexed by photo-mosaic sheets (essentially a series of large photos of the small air photos compiled into one large picture).
Forest Service photos are sometimes indexed by maps of forests with flight lines and picture numbers drawn on a map

University of Idaho Aerial Photo Collection

  • These are photos taken by government agencies (Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, Soil Conservation Service, etc.)
  • The entire collection has been donated to UI
  • All parts of the collection are incomplete
  • 90% of the collection is of Idaho; the rest is of river valleys of the Snake and upper Columbia
  • About 80% of photos are black and white, 8"x10" prints, taken vertically
  • There are some color images (Clearwater National Forest) and some enlargements (mostly Latah and Nez Perce counties)

Digital Aerial Photos

The UI Library has been a pioneer in assembling two very large collections of digital aerial photos. The collection covers almost 100% of Idaho. These photos may be viewed online from our Idaho Historical Aerial Photos digital collection or discovered using Inside Idaho Aerial Imagery Explorer.


Oblique Photographs: The UI Library has coverage of oblique photography that includes portions of Idaho North of the Salmon River, Sawtooth Mountains, and the Hells Canyon Region. These images are on CD-ROMs located at the Circulation Desk. Special Collections also owns a small collection of oblique aerial photos of Northern Idaho taken between 1933 and 1935 by the Washington National Guard.



Historic Air Photo Project: The UI Library and the US Forest Service conducted a project to find and scan all known air photos north of the Salmon River taken before 1940. They are stored on CD-ROM at the Circulation Desk. The last CD of each set generally contains an index.
Inside Idaho
Inside Idaho has Flight Line Indexes identifying Idaho aerial photos on the CD-ROM. Some of the photographs are also available digitally from Inside Idaho's website.

Checking Out Photos

We are happy to make short term loans to members of the UI community.

All others are welcome to scan, copy, or photograph the photos. They are not copyrighted.

Reference Assistance

The library is not equipped to handle outside requests for photos of particular spots. Instead, we are happy to show visitors to the library the location of various projects and index sheets that we own and explain how to make copies. Please contact Rami Attebury for assistance. 

Additional Resources

The Boise State University Library has completed part of an effort to digitize pre-1940 aerial photos of Idaho south of the Salmon River. 

The Potlatch Coorporation owns a very large collection of aerial photos, taken over many years, of their forest lands in northern Idaho.

The State of Idaho Department of Lands provides aerial coverage information for 1965-2000.