MIL offers assistance to UC students, faculty, and staff doing UC sponsored research of our aerial photography collection at no charge. For services available to non-UC users, please visit the Aerial Imagery Research Service.

Finding aerial photography can be a time- and labor-intensive process, and we are constantly developing tools to make accessing the collection easier. Before you begin:

On-Site Research

Research assistance from MIL staff is available to UC users free of charge. MIL staff will assist in locating flights and frames covering your area of interest; air photos may be viewed during your appointment. Appointments are required for research assistance, and must begin before 2 pm. Research often takes up to half a day. Please plan accordingly. To schedule an appointment, email milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu or call (805) 893-2779.

Conducting a search does not guarantee that there will be coverage of that area. You may wish to consult our aerial photography tools for general preliminary information.

Viewing Air Photos

If you have already identified the specific frames of interest using our air photo tools, you may view photography in MIL. If digital imagery is available, hard copy photographs will not be provided for viewing unless requested. To view air photos on-site, please contact MIL staff to make an appointment. Appointments are required. You will be asked to provide a list of air photos you wish to view. 

Please note: some of our imagery is housed off-site. Please provide your list of imagery a few days prior to your appointment to ensure we have time to retrieve the imagery.

Digital Imagery

While you are here, you may also request digital copies of our imagery. Many of our air photos have been scanned and are available free to UC users. MIL will provide scanning of up to 12 additional photos for UC users for free. For larger projects there may be fees for scanning. Images come with a one-time-use license agreement.  Please contact MIL staff for information.

If you have identified specific images for youself, you may request digital copies using the forms linked to above. Please keep in mind:

  • Use online indexes with care; some indexes show images that we do not own. All indexes for partially held flights should have a visual indicator of some sort that shows what we own and what we do not. These indicators are not always readily apparent.
  • If your reproduction request is based on a prior research request, make sure to provide us with all of the information from your search result letter.
  • MIL is not responsible for incorrect choice of frames.
  • Digital aerial photographs remain the property of UCSB. Please familiarize yourself with the terms of our license.