Your first aerial photography research project

Looking for aerial photographs? We have lots. Our coverage for the Santa Barbara area goes back to 1928. We have tools to access our aerial photography collection available on our website. 

If you are unfamiliar with aerial photography, you may wish to conduct your first research project by coming to our facility.  Our staff can help you to learn the process and you can most likely leave with digital copies of your photographs.  This type of on-site research can take up to a half day--please plan ahead.

Due to limited staff and space, please make an appointment by contacting MIL staff by phone (805) 893-2779 or email milrefdesk [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu. MIL staff will show you how to use our online aerial photography tools.  For UC users doing UC research, aerial photography research is free.  Community members may receive a brief orientation to our online resources without a fee. However, for in-depth research assistance MIL staff charges a $65 fee. Fees subsidize services for students and ongoing preservation of the collection.

Before you come in, it is a good idea to tell our staff what you are trying to find or verify so we can tell you whether aerial coverage is a realistic option.  We suggest you bring any relevant documents, such as a tax assessor's map, or a USGS topo map or Google map showing your area of interest.  You may also wish to check out our aerial photography tools for an introduction to finding aerial photographs.  We have a guide for identifying flights covering your area of interest (AOI) and a guide to reading indexes.  We also have a page illustrating scale of aerial photography available in our collection.

Once you arrive for your appointment, our staff will guide you through using tools to identify the best flights by location, date, scale, and format. After identifying your candidate flights, you will be guided through how to identify specific frames that will cover your AOI. Many images have already been scanned, and are available for a one-time use licensing fee of $18 per frame. If you need frames from flights not yet digitized, we can have them scanned for later delivery.

We look forward to helping you with your aerial research.