|Finding Aerial Photography|
|By Jim Lacy|
An aerial photograph is a picture of the Earth’s surface taken with a specialized camera mounted in an airplane. Millions of dollars are spent each year by local, regional, state, tribal, and federal government agencies, as well as private companies, to collect aerial photography over the United States.
Most online mapping sites such as Google Maps and Bing Maps now display aerial photography along with traditional highway maps. These sites provide a quick and easy way to view air photos online. Google Earth, a tool you can download and install on your computer, is another easy way to view worldwide aerial photography and satellite imagery.
Google Maps and Bing Maps (and other similar sites) are very useful, but there are limitations. First, printing is limited to relatively low-quality web pages. In addition, the photography can sometimes be old and outdated in rural areas. And finally, the date(s) of the aerial photography available on these sites is often unknown.
Current Wisconsin Aerial Photography
As a general rule, local government agencies in Wisconsin typically acquire new aerial photography every five years. More urbanized and quickly-developing municipalities may acquire new aerial photography as often as every 2-3 years.
The entire state of Wisconsin was covered by two statewide aerial photography projects in 2010. One statewide flight occurred in the early spring of 2010 before trees began to leaf-out. A second statewide flight was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the summer of 2010.
Historic Aerial Photography
State and federal agencies began acquiring widespread aerial photography over Wisconsin in the 1930's. To view and download 1930's-era aerial photography for the state, check out the Wisconsin Historic Aerial Image Finder ("WHAIFinder").
If you are looking for photography acquired between the 1930's to the present, visit our Wisconsin Catalog of Aerial Photography.
|Last Updated on January 26, 2016|