Post your links to cool old aerial mosaics here

This came up at SotM while talking about some old aerials of SLC: we don’t have a good way of discovering this type of resource.

There are a ton of for-profit services that have sprung up to provide access to old aerials, but that’s not of interest. Free, publicly-available aerial layers are what we’re after. Ideally, this would be some sort of WMS/WMTS endpoint so that we can add the layer to iD or JOSM for additional mapping.

A forum post is generally a horrible way to inventory these things, but why don’t we put some here and we can collect / collate them separately. More likely (or not?), there’s some big list of these somewhere and we can ours to that list.

Here’s a start:

Ok… enough for now & not all of those are the actual layers we’re looking for.

Also, we probably need some docs or explanation of how to grab a WMS or WMTS endpoint from an ARCGIS REST server layer.

Eastern Upstate NY 1952 on

Possibly covered by the US National Archive link above, but there are apparently some declassified satellite images that are available online. Rough footprints are browsable online, but the images themselves have not been georeferenced. I don’t know the license situation. One thing I read said they were originally declassified to help with environmental studies, but I haven’t checked to see if they are usable only for specific purposes. I have not tried to create an account to download any yet.

From the coverage shapefiles, they seem to cover most of the world.


1 Like

327 aerials in Chronoscope. – mostly Germany. How comes? :thinking: But some in the US as well.
Yes, National Archives. digitalcommonwealth, Internet Archive, UCLA… Mostly singe shots, no mosaics.
RW is my signature for Luftbildpläne, Germany in the 1950s

These are very cool & this list is a great resource. Our biggest issue right now is the difficulty of using IIIF - neither of our primary editors, iD and JOSM, support a direct connection to IIIF sources. So, in the mean time, we’re stuck with WMS, WMTS, and xyz tiles, which is a whole lot of maps to be “stuck” with. We can use IIIF maps georeferenced in, as it has an xyz shim built in that we can use. The problem right now is that the georectification that the xyz layer uses doesn’t employ a high fidelity warping algorithm and the results can be a bit dicey. We hope to get IIIF thin plate spline (which allmaps has) to the xyz tiles in the near future, but there’s no date set yet.