Western New York Aerial Photograph Collection
|Collection Description||Other Aerial Collections|
|Origins of the Photographs|
|Technical Notes||Go to the Collection|
|Requesting Copies & Use||Buffalo 1927 (UB-Digit)|
The University at Buffalo Map Collection has a collection of more than 5,000 aerial photographs covering Erie and Niagara counties for the years 1927-1928, 1966, and 1978. These were produced by the Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc. and other operations.
The Collection has an almost-complete set of aerial photographs covering Erie County for the years 1927-1929, 1966, and 1978, and for Niagara County for 1966 and 1978.
Below are descriptions of each collection:
1927-1929 Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc., New York, N.Y.
Coverage: Erie County, N.Y. / Scale: ca.1:9,500
Codes: 8187, 8225, 8226, 8275, 8326
The 1927-1929 collection of photographs were produced by the Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc. Sherman Mills Fairchild, who was born in New York State, took great interest in the role of airplanes and photography. His company, Fairchild Aerial Survey, Inc., produced thousands of aerial photographs of the United States and Mexico. Its vast collection has been dispersed and collections of these photos are in libraries across the country. One of the largest collections of Fairchild aerial photos is the Fairchild Aerial Photography Collection at University of California at Santa Barbara. The National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution also has a large collection of Fairchild and USGS aerial photos, as does the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.
1966 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservaiton Service
(Flown by Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.)
Coverage: Erie and Niagara Counties, N.Y. / Scale 1:20,000
Code: ASCS (Plates have series numbers/sub-numbers)
1978 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service
(Flown by Kucera & Associates, Mentor, Ohio)
Coverage: Erie and Niagara Counties, N.Y. / Scale 1:38,000
Code: 36029 (Plates have series numbers/sub-numbers)
Technical Note on the Photographs
The entire aerial collection is made up of contact proofs of the negatives that were shot. These vary in quality and some contain imperfections caused by the processing of these contacts. Also, some frames are missing from the collection. These prints were given to the University Libraries "as is" and what was missing when we received them cannot be replaced.
The scale of the 1927-1929 photographs was approximated by calculating a sampling of photographs. Because of altitude variations, the scale varies slightly throughout the series.
Requesting Aerial Photographs
Requests to obtain copies of aerial photographs must be made through the Map Collection. You may set up an appointment to view and locate photographs. We will make either photocopies of the selected images or scanned electronic files. The e-files will be made available on the Index of UB Aerial Photographs for you to download. Please check this page before making a request. It is possible that the locations that you need are already available.
Aerial photographs by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. are still under copyright and may not be used in publications without permission. It is the user's responsibility to obtain permission. USDA aerial photographs are free to use.
Please cite the Western New York Aerial Photograph Collection at the University at Buffalo when using any of these images.
Other Aerial Photographs & Satellite Imagery at UB
In addition, the Map Collection contains a small collection of miscellaneous satellite imagery of United States cities. Contact the UGL/SEL Reference Desk by calling 645-2945 or via e-mail at askASL@buffalo.edu to set up an appointment to access the aerial photos. See also: Satellite Images, Aerial Photographs, and Databases for a selection.
links to Erie County Air Photos
Other photograph collections of Erie County aerial photographs are at the Erie County Aerial Photographs (Erie County Public Works Dept.) website. Currently has 1920 and 1951.
A source for Canadian aerial photography is the National Air Photo Library (Natural Resources Canada). Extensive aerial and high-altitude images of Canada. Find digital copies of images and order photos. Also has resources on aerial photography, including: Introduction to Air Photo Interpretation, a page that explains how to 'read' these photographs.
- United States: National Archives Collections.
- Bureau of Land Management Aerial Photography Archive. Over 451,000 images; 1950s-1980s; B+W, Natural Color, and False Color Infrared images.
Listed alphabetically by country or state, then by city or county, etc. Most are vertical aerial/satellite images, but a few oblique or selective collections are here because of their usefulness.
- Australia: Aerial Photographs Collection at the National Library
- Britain From Above (English Heritage). Digital project to cover 95,000 of the oldest and most valuable photographs in the Aerofilms collection, dating from 1919 to 1953.
- California Air Photo Database (USC Berkeley). State photos and some non-California aerials (including foreign locations).
- California Aerial Photo Collection (UC Davis). Also has list of links to other states.
- California: Humboldt County (Humboldt State Univ.).
- Canada: National Air Photo Library (Natural Resources Canada).
- Canada: Aerial Photographs of Cities and Towns across Canada (Waite Air Photos).
- Canada: Ontario: Niagara Region: Aerial Photographs in the Niagara Falls Public Library. Database of thousands of photos from various periods. (Digital Collections page)
- Canada: Prince Edward Island. Browse Photographs by Community.
- Cities & Urban areas of the United States (Univ. of Minn.). Photo mosaics of selected cities in the U.S.
- Colorado: Aerial Photographs of Colorado (U of Colorado, Boulder). 1,700+ digitized aerials of Colorado taken by the U.S. Forest Service, 1938 to 1947. Also links to other Colorado sites.
- Connecticut: MAGIC: Map and Geographic Information Center (UCONN). Wonderful collection and online site. Collections of state agencies can also be accessed here.
- Denmark Aerial Photograph Collection (National Library). Over 4 million images and negatives.
- Denmark Aerial Photos Danish Geodata Agency
- Florida Aerial Maps (University of Florida). Coverage of most of state.
- Great Britain: National Collection of Aerial Photography. Extensive aerial photographs and negatives covering Europe and the World.
- Illinois Air Photo Imagebase (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
- Illinois: Digital Archive of Illinois Historical Aerial Photographs (Illinois Natural Resources Geospatial Data Clearinghouse).
- Israel: Historical Aerial Photograph Collection
- Louisiana State Aerial Photograph Collection. (LOUISiana Digital Library)
- Louisiana: New Orleans (1949) (1960). Small collection.
- Massachusetts: Boston: MIT Digital Ortho Photo Archive. Shows: Boston area digital orthophotos at several different zoom levels, with pan, zoom, and download functionality. Digital orthos provide detailed imagery with known and consistent coordinates.
- Michigan: Detroit Area (Wayne State). Aerial photos of Detroit and area between 1949 to 1997.
- Minnesota Aerial Photography Index. Coverage for the state of Minnesota only, with photos for all counties (1936 to date).
- Minnesota Aerial Photographs in the National Archives.
- Oklahoma Aerial Photographs (OK Dept. of Libraries).
- Oregon: Selected Locations (U of Oregon). Mostly Oregon and Washington state. Wide coverage dates.
- New York State: Digital Orthoimagery Application (New York State GIS Clearinghouse).
- New York State Orthos Online. GIS-view of state in seamless imagery.
- New York State: Syracuse University Map Collection Aerial Photographs of NY.
- Historical Aerial Photographs of New York. Cornell University.
- United States and North America: NOAA Photo Library. Has aerial and remote-sensing images.
The Fairchild Aerial Photography Collection at Whittier College is one of the largest libraries of aerial photographs in North America. The Collection is estimated to consist of at least 500,000 items, including prints, negatives, photoindices, and photomosaics. All of the photographs in the Collection were produced by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc., or its subsidiaries and contractors during the period of 1927-1965, and are mostly black-and-white, vertical images.
Further Information and Donations
If you need further assistance, please contact the UGL/SEL Reference Desk by calling 645-2945 or via e-mail at askASL@buffalo.edu. If you have aerial photographs or maps that you wish to donate to the UB Map Collection, or would be willing to loan to the Collection for creating copies, please contact us. Thank you.
Guide Author: David J. Bertuca
Last Update: 27 March, 2013