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Florida Aerial Photography

Descriptive Information

Project and Contents Description
Historical aerial photographs dramatically document changes in Florida's land use. The initial Aerial Photography: Florida collection was funded by two Florida Library Service and Technology Assistant grants from the Florida Department of State.

Between 1937 and 1975, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created more than 100,000 black and white, 9 x 9 aerial photographs with 1,000 accompanying photomosaic indexes of Florida. Due to the unstable nature of the photographic negative's sodium nitrate composition, the U.S. government destroyed archival negatives for the earliest photos. As a result, the aging hardcopy photographic prints are all that remain of this historic resource.

Originally intended to assist farmers determine accurate assessments for their farms and to provide information on crop determination and soil conservation, today these images provide some of the oldest land use/cover information available. They are used extensively in agriculture, conservation, urbanization, recreation, education, hydrology, geology, land use, ecology, geography, and history.

The University of Florida Map & Digital Imagery Library houses the largest and most complete collection of Florida aerial photographs (~160,000 photos) outside of the National Archives. Two of three planned imaging phases have resulted in digitization of more than 1,000 photomosaic indexes and 88,000 aerial photographs shot between 1937-1970.

The images are served in the JPEG2000 file format. The indexes have been geographically rectified and combined with existing geospatial data (i.e., roads, rivers, political boundaries, etc…) to create an ARCIMS mapping search interface. While the individual digital aerial images are not geographically rectified, the image format along with scanner calibration parameters are suitable for rectification and use in some remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications. The images are intended for education, historical evaluations, general planning purposes and aerial photograph preservation and not for measurement use or as legal documents.

Future plans include digitization of the remaining USDA Florida aerial photographs.
Geographic Coverage
Florida, Southeast

Administrative Information

Project Contact Name
Laurie Taylor
Institution Name
University of Florida
P. O. Box 117001, 32611, United States
Project Status

Technical Information

Meets Criteria for Preservation
File Formats
Metadata Scheme in Use
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Restrictions on Access

Other Information