Aerial Imagery Research Service (AIRS)


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Historic Aerial Photographs

The Map & Imagery Laboratory (MIL) contains the most comprehensive collection of aerial photographs of California that is known to exist.

MIL is happy to share access to our imagery collections with the entire California community. The Aerial Imagery Research Service (AIRS) provides access to and reproductions of historic aerial photography for commercial and non-University of California (UC) sponsored research. If you are performing UC related research, please see our Research Services page for access to our aerial photography collection.

MIL receives no funding for services to persons not affiliated with the University of California, or for non-UC work done by persons who are students, faculty or staff of the University of California. Fees have, therefore, been implemented to cover the cost of staff time and of all overhead, including maintenance and purchase of collections and equipment. Fees for digital copies of our imagery, unless otherwise specified, are subject to this license agreement.  To submit a research request, fill out an Imagery Search Request form and return it to airs [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu with a map showing your Area of Interest (AOI).

Call 805-893-3948 or email airs [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu with questions.

Commercial Research Options

  • Decade Research Package (Phase 1 ESA): $30 processing/research fee plus $10 per image.  A typical package will include 8 images and cost $110.
    A selection of one photo per decade, scanned at 600 ppi, centered and cropped on your AOI.  See a sample package.
  • Custom Research: $45 per hour.  Most research requests take 2 hours to complete.  Typical cost $90.
    A custom report of our holdings for your AOI.  View an example report.
  • On-site Research $65 for research assistance
    Visit our facility and receive professional assistance identifying imagery that suits your specific needs. 
  • Air Photo Viewing $30 to view pre-selected aerial photography
    You may view physical or full resolution scanned imagery on-site. By appointment only.
  • Reproductions Requests
    Already know what you are looking for?  You may order digital copies of air photos.  $10 transaction fee plus the costs of reproduction.

We also have a complete price list.

We will bill for services once an order is complete. Fees can be paid by cash, check or purchase order. Payment information can be found here.

Other Services

  • AIRS will issue letters of certification, verifying that reproductions are accurate depictions of materials in our collection, for $45.
  • Publication licenses for some materials are available. Please inquire.
  • Aerial Photography Reproductions: Photographic reproduction, higher resolution scanning, and custom georeferenced imagery are also available.  Please inquire.
  • Map scanning: The Library's Digitization Center will scan maps upon request.