AIRS: On-Site Aerial Photography Research

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

On-Site Research Services

Orientation to Online Resources

We are happy to provide a quick introduction to our online aerial photography tools free of charge to all users. MIL staff will spend 30 minutes training you to use our air photo tools. This does not include viewing analog or scanned imagery. Due to limited resources, we suggest you make an appointment with the milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (MIL reference desk) before coming in to ensure availability of staff and computers. If commercial users require more in-depth assistance, we offer air photo research assistance for a fee.

Assisted Research

Research assistance from MIL staff is available to UC users free of charge and to commercial users for a $65 fee. 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. 

  • One area of interest per search fee.
  • One additional day of research in the lab is included in the $65 fee. Imagery will be kept available for up to 5 business days if requested.

Viewing Aerial Photography

If you have already identified the specific frames of interest, you may view photography in MIL for a $30 fee. If digital imagery is available, hard copy flights 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.

  • MIL will provide up to 60 frames from up to 20 flights; more imagery will require an additional viewing fee for each 60 frames or 20 flights.
  • No additional frames will be provided without another viewing fee.
  • Upon request, frames and digital files will be kept available after the first viewing for 5 business days.
  • One additional day of work in the lab is included in your viewing fee.  If more than these two visits are required, another viewing fee will be charged. Please make an appointment with the MIL reference desk for any additional viewings.

Research Fees

  • UC students and staff will not be charged for research or reproduction if doing UC research.
  • Fees may be paid by cash, check, or purchase order.  We can also bill for services.
  • Research assistance and viewing: $65
  • Viewing only: $30
  • Appointments must be cancelled or rescheduled by 5 pm the day before the appointment to avoid a $25 cancellation fee.
  • Fees paid for searches and reproductions will not be refunded.
  • See our complete fee schedule.

While you are here, you may also request copies.  See the Reproduction Options page.

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.