Historical Aerial Photos

As a tool for helping you to explore the history of your landscape, we have digitized and georeferenced historical (1942/46) aerial photographs of Columbia County, covering nearly the entire County.

If you are interested in an historical aerial photo and your area of interest falls within the covered area, please send us an email describing the location of the property and we will email you the image. Please specify whether or not you want a "georeferenced" image (georeferencing means that you can use the image in a GIS program such as Arc View). There is no cost for this, but please allow us a week or two to get to your request. We'll try to come up with a slicker, self-service approach down the road. Many of these images (although not geo-referenced) are now available on-line from USGS.

Much thanks goes to Otis Denner for the computer work and to the Columbia County Soil & Water Conservation District for providing us with access to the originals and for use of their facilities.


How can we use historical aerial photos?

Aerial Photos of Forest in the 1940s and Today
Using aerial photos to compare the locations of mature forest stands in the 1940s with current landscape images allows us to identify remnant parcels of older forest.

The above photos demonstrate one way in which we make use of the historic aerial photos in our research: identifying remnant areas of older forests that are now hard to distinguish amidst the re-growth of newer forests.  Do these remants of "ancient forests" have different ecological significance than surrounding new growth?  This is a question we have been exploring in our Floodplain Forest research, as well as our current Living Land Project.


1940s Aerial Photo Coverage Map