Significant Airphoto Holdings

Each of the below collections contain dozens or thousands of flights.  Check our Airphoto Catalog for detailed flight-by-flight listings.


Aerial Map Industries (AMI)

This was a Santa Ana-based aerial photograph company, which was later sold to Landiscor Aerial Information. In 2002 MIL purchased the collection from Landiscor. The AMI photography covers several Southern California counties, from Los Angeles County to San Diego County.

Cartwright Aerial Surveys (CAS)

The acquisition of this portion of the imagery collection came after Cartwright was sold to Geonex. The original owner gave part of his film library to the California State Library, who in turn gave it to us. This collection is particularly useful for coverage of northern and central California cities.

CH2M Hill (Vestra Resources)

These 'rice photos' were taken between mid-1960s and mid-1990s by CH2M Hill, which is located in Redding, California. Vestra Resources acquired the collection from CH2M Hill. The collection was donated by Vestra Resources to MIL in 2007. Areas covered in this collection vary, but concentrate on the rice-growing areas of the northern Central Valley--hence our colloquial name for the photos. All of the photographs in this collection are held as rolls of film.

Citipix (HM-)

The Citipix Collection covers 64 US major metropolitan areas in the United States and was flown by Hauts-Mont, Inc. for Kodak Global Imaging between 1999 and 2002 at a scale of 1:10,800 in natural color film. We received the 822 rolls (ca. 370,000 photographs) of original color negatives in 2008 from Pacific Western Aerial Surveys.

Fairchild Aerial Surveys (FAS)

Fairchild imagery came to MIL in at least two parts:

  • As part of a 1986 gift from Teledyne Geotronics (see below)  and, some years later, from California State University at Northridge.  
  • MIL purchased the portions of its Fairchild collection from Whittier College in late 2012. 
    A list of flights received from Whittier College with descriptions of the areas covered can be downloaded here.

FAS flight ID numbers will have the prefix C or NY, determined by the office in which they originated. (The California office prefaced flights with the letter “C”, and the New York office prefaced their flights with the letters “NY.”)  Most of the photography from the California office covers areas in southern and central California between the 1920s and 1960s. The New York office produced early flights of the eastern seaboard states, and most of the Massachusetts flights in the catalog are Fairchild. The photography from the FAS collection is held in MIL as rolls of film, paper prints, cut-frame negatives, and/or positive transparencies. Some of the earliest parts of the FAS imagery collection was on unstable nitrate film. In order to preserve the imagery, these negatives were reproduced onto positive transparency film and the original film was destroyed. MIL, in cooperation with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, is attempting to preserve the last portions of nitrate negatives and is actively seeking partners to finance preservation scanning of these fragile materials.  Fairchild imagery is located at UCLA and CSU-Northridge, the New York and New Jersey state archives, and the National archives, but MIL holds by far the largest and most complete collection of Fairchild imagery. 

Mark Hurd Aerial Surveys

This collection includes large scale and site-specific photography from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s of the tri-county area of Santa Barbara Ventura  and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as some  coverage of other California counties and areas outside of the state of California. Mark Hurd photography flight ID numbers have the prefix HA, HB, HO, or TA, and the photographs are 9”x 9” and 9”x 18” paper prints. There are no original negatives remaining for any of these photographs, and MIL owns the only archive of this collection. Most of the photographs are in vertical format, but there are some oblique photographs.  Most of the Mark Hurd Collection has been cataloged and can be found through our airphoto catalog.  We also have a list including uncatalogued Mark Hurd flights with a description of the area covered.

NAPP, NAPP 2nd Cycle and NAPP 3rd Cycle

These are three projects, each one superseding the other, produced by the U.S. government. The goal of the project was to have complete un-classified aerial photograph coverage of the entire U.S. We have in our collection mainly the photography of urban areas of California in positive transparent or color infrared film formats, in either cut frame or roll film format. NAPP 3rd cycle is often the most recent photography in the collection outside of our core collecting areas.

Pacific Air Industries (PAI)

Pacific Air Industries flights (filed as PAI) are held in the collection in paper print and/or roll film negative transparency formats. These flights are organized and filed by a roll number, and most end with the letter V (e.g., PAI-150V). When researching PAI flights it is important to remember that more than one flight/roll number may be represented on a PAI index.  (see below

Pacific Western Aerial Surveys (PWAS or PW)

Owned and operated locally, this company has been flying the tri-county area of Santa Barbara Ventura  and San Luis Obispo counties since the early 1970s. Pacific Western has a longstanding relationship with MIL, and this is the only photo lab we allow our film to go to for reproduction.  See also our Reproduction Page Pacific Western Aerial Surveys imagery is copyrighted and is available for viewing  in MIL.  The company has been generous to the UC academic community, allowing approval for reproductions in support of research if requested. AIRS customers will be directed to Pacific Western for licensing.

Santa Barbara Flood Control (-SBFlood)

This collection of aerial photography was donated to MIL in 2012 by the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District.  The collection consists of imagery from a variety of sources, including Horizon Surveys, Mark Hurd, Pacific Western Aerial Surveys, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Most of the collection has been cataloged with the suffix “SBFlood” added to each flight number.  Included in this collection are flights covering the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez rivers as well as other flood areas.  This is also a great source for imagery showing the aftermath of wildfires, including the Piru, Romero, Coyote, Sycamore Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Gap, Painted Cave, and Tea fires.

Teledyne Geotronics and Geotronics of Monrovia

Teledyne Geotronics was the aerial photograph component of Teledyne, Inc.; their office was located in Long Beach, California. The flight ID numbers for the imagery from these two companies have the prefix TG, and there are a few flight ID numbers in this part of the collection that end with a “V” (e.g., TG-77V). The photography from these agencies is held in paper print and/or roll film negative formats.

The Teledyne Geotronics aerial photography was part of a major gift from the Teledyne Foundation to MIL in 1986. This gift comprises most of our photography from the following companies, many of which are also listed individually on other parts of this page:

  • Fairchild Aerial Surveys
  • Pacific Air Industries
  • Geotronics of Monrovia
  • Universe Air
  • International Mapping
  • Watson Photo Studios

Included in the gift were the original California aerial photography job logs. These logs are housed off-site at the Library's Annex.

WAC Corporation

This commercial firm is based in Oregon and has fairly complete coverage of California. We purchased black & white paper prints of their photography for our local area, which is filed in our collection by county name. Although we have copies of WAC photographs, the company owns the copyright for their photographs. AIRS customers must contact WAC in order to purchase copies of this imagery.  

Watson Photo Studios

This historical collection of film in print and transparent formats dates back to the 1930s and  includes aerial photographs mainly of southern California, postcard images and advertising stills.