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Oklahoma Aerial Photography  

The guide details the collection of Oklahoma Aerial Photographs in the OU Library, dating from 1937-1961 (with gaps)
Last Updated: Nov 15, 2013 URL: http://guides.ou.edu/aerial Print Guide RSS Updates
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Who produced aerial photographs?

Government agencies have produced the largest number of aerial photographs although there are commercial services such as Tobin. The Federal government’s aerial photograph program began as a direction from the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration in the 1930s. The photos were to provide a natural baseline for scientific planning for land use and soil conservation, with soil erosion from wind and water being a primary federal concern. 

Aerial photographs have been flown for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conversation Service (ASCS), the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), the USGS, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Highway Commission (FHC), and the Defense Mapping Agency (now called National Imagery and Mapping Agency). 

Who uses aerial photographs?

Geographers, geologists, urban planners, farmers, agricultural land planners, land owners, lawyers, fishers, soil scientists, architects, anthropologists, and others.

Use of the aerial photographs:

  • The photos are usually arranged by county, then year. The photos are marked with a flight and frame number at the top of the photos, e.g., AQS-219. The date of the flight is then printed in the opposite corner.
  • The individual photos of each country were compiled into a composite mosaic photo that shows the whole country and serves as an index for the individual photo sheets.
  • One can use another map, such as a road map for orientation, to locate a specific point of interest on the index, and then identify and find the corresponding photo sheet.
  • Without the mosaic, finding a particular geographic area is difficult, but not impossible.
 

What are aerial photographs?

Aerial and satellite images allow one to create images from varying altitudes above the Earth. The images allow researchers to see and accurately portray patterns of land use on a local, regional, continental, or global scale. Collectively they are referred to as remotely sensed images and the process is called remote sensing. 

Aerial photographs are taken from an airplane flying at various altitudes. Common altitudes are 5,000 to 60,000 feet, and generally the lower the altitude the greater the detail. Photographs taken from airplanes began with Wilbur Wright’s 1909 flight over Centonelli, Italy. World War I and World War II stimulated the greatest advances in the technology of creating and using aerial photography. Beginning in the 1930’s, the United States Geological Survey (USGA) and Tennessee Valley Authority began using aerial photography to help create topographic maps. 

The three standard paper print sizes for aerial photographs are: 

  • 9 inches by 9 inches, called standard contact size (Scale 1:40,000)
  • 18 inches by 18 inches (2X enlargements) (Scale 1:20,000)
  • 36 inches by 36 inches (4X enlargements) (Scale 1:10,000)
 

What is the value of aerial photographs?

The value of aerial photography is that they provide a record of land use and have been used in courts-of-law as a record of the position of a river at a given date (to help determine land ownership as the river shifts its course), use of the land before the flooding behind a newly created dam, location of buildings, change in land use from forest to a cultivated area and to urban sprawl, etc. ASCS and SCS used aerial photos as the base upon which soil type boundaries are compiled, yielding soil surveys.

Where are copies of Oklahoma aerial photographs located?

Collections of Oklahoma aerial photographs can be found in a number of different locations around the state: 

Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL)
200 N.E. 18th Street Oklahoma City, OK 73105 
(405)521-2502 or (800)522-8116  

Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) 
Oklahoma Petroleum Information Center 
2020 Industrial Blvd. Norman, OK 73069 
(405)325-1299 or (800)330-3996  

Oklahoma State University (OSU)
Edmon Low Library 
Stillwater, OK 74078 
(405)744-5000 

The University of Oklahoma (OU)
Bizzell Memorial Library 
401 West Brooks Norman, OK 73019 
(405)325-3141 

The holdings for the statewide aerial photographs date back to the 1930s, with the OGS and OSU having more current sets. There is much overlap of holdings, but some holdings are unique. The negatives (in various physical condition) are legally held at the National Archives. 

Inventory of Aerial Photographs in Oklahoma Libraries

COUNTY

YEAR

ODL

OGS

OSU 

OU

Adair

1939/1940

X

X

X

X

1952

X

 

 

 

1964

 

X

X

 

Alfalfa

1941/42

X

X

X

 

1954

X

 

1961

X

 

 

X

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Atoka

1934

X

 

 

1935

X

 

 

1939/40

X

X

 

 

1949

X

 

 

   955

      X    

1962

X

X

X

 

1968

X

 

1977

X

 

Beaver

1936

X

 

1941

X

X

X

 

1966

 

 

X

 

Beckham

1937

 

 

X (misc.)

 

1941

X

X

 

 

1950

 

X

 

X

1955

 

X

 

1966

 

 

X

 

1974

 

 

X

 

Blaine

1941

X

X

 

X

                   

1951

X

X

X

 

1957

 

X

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Bryan

1940

X

 

 

 

1947/48

 

X

 

X

1953

 

X

 

1962

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

1974

 

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Caddo

1937

 

X

X

 

1940

X

X

X

X

1941

X

 

 

X

1948

X

 

1955

X

 

1956

X

 

1961

X

 

1966

 

X

X

 

1982

 

X

 

Canadian

1937

 

X

 

1941

X

X

X

X

1951

X

1957

 

 

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Carter

1935

 

X

 

1936

 

X

 

1937

 

X

 

X

1939

 

 

 

X

1940

 

X

 

X

1949

X

X

X

 

1954

X

 

1956

X

 

1963

 

 

X

 

1969

 

X

 

Cherokee

1938

X

X

 

 

1958

X

 

 

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1974

 

 

X (misc.)

 

Choctaw

1942

X

 

 

 

1949

X

 

 

1955

X

 

 

 

1962

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Cimarron

1942

X

 

X

X

1959

X

1960

X

1966

 

 

X

 

Cleveland

1937

 

X

X

X

1940

 

X

1943

X

 

 

 

1949

X

 

 

1951

X

X

 

X

1957

X

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

1975

 

 

X

 

Coal

1940

X

 

 

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1955

 

X

X

 

1956

 

X

 

1962

 

X

X

 

1968

 

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Comanche

1942

X

X

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1957

X (west only)

 

 

 

1961

 

X

X

 

1966

 

 

X

 

Cotton

1942

X

 

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1957

X

 

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1971

 

 

X

 

Craig

1935

 

X

 

1938

 

 

X

 

1941

X

X

X

X

1952

X

1958

X

X

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1972

 

X

 

Creek

1937

 

 

X

X

1937/38

 

 

 

X

1941

X

X

 

 

1956

X

X

X

 

1958

 

 

X

 

1969

 

 

X

 

Custer

1936

 

 

 

X

1938

 

 

X

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1955

X

X

 

 

1966

 

 

X

 

Delaware

1936

 

 

X

 

1939

X

 

X

X

1958

X

1964

 

 

X

 

Dewey

1938

 

 

X

 

1941

X

X

 

X

1951

 

X

 

X

1957

 

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Ellis

1937

X

 

X

 

1951

X

X

 

 

1959

X

 

 

1965

 

X

X

 

1973

 

X

X

 

1981

 

X

 

Garfield

1937

X

X

 

 

1954

 

X

 

X

1966

 

 

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Garvin

1937

 

X

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1956

 

X

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

Grady

1935

 

X

 

1937

 

 

X

 

1940

X

X

X

 

1948

 

X

 

X

1955

 

X

X

 

1962

 

X

 

1968

 

X

X

 

Grant

1937

 

 

X

 

1938

 

 

X

 

1941

X

X

X

X

1954

X

X

 

 

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Greer

1941

X

 

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1957

X

X

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

More information

Harmon

1937

 

 

 

X

1943

X

X

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1957

X

X

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Harper

1937

 

 

X

X

1942

X

 

 

 

1951

X

X

 

 

1965

 

 

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Haskell

1939

X

 

X

 

1952

X

X

 

 

1964

 

 

X

 

         1973

      X    

1977

 

X

 

Hughes

1938

X

X

 

X

1939

X

 

 

 

1940

X

X

 

X

1948

 

 

 

X

1955

 

X

 

1956

 

X

 

1962

 

X

X

 

1968

 

X

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Jackson

1941

X

X

 

X

1950

X

 

1957

X

X

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Jefferson

1937

 

 

X (misc.)

 

1939/40

X

X

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1957

 

X

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1971

 

X

X

 

Johnston

1937

 

X

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1949

X

 

 

1954

X

 

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1968

 

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Kay

1937

X

 

 

X

1938

X

X

 

X

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

1976

 

 

X

 

Kingfisher

1937

X

 

 

 

1951

X

 

 

1957

X

 

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Kiowa

1937

 

 

X (misc.)

 

 

1940

 

 

 

X

1942

X

X

X

X

1957

X

 

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

1980

 

X

 

1982

 

X

 

Latimer

1940

X

X

 

 

1955

 

X

X

 

1967

 

X

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Leflore

1938

X

X

 

 

1952

X

X

 

 

1955

X

 

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1964

 

X

 

1967

 

X

X

 

1968

 

X

 

1969

 

 

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Lincoln

1937

 

X

X

 

1943

X

X

X

 

1951

X

 

1954

X

 

1961

 

X

X

 

1968

 

 

X

 

Logan

1937

X

X

X

X

1951

X

X

 

X

1957

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Love

1940

 

X

 

1949

X

X

 

 

1954

X

 

 

1956

X

 

 

1963

 

 

X

 

1968

 

X

X

More information

McClain

1937

 

 

X

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1955

 

X

 

1956

 

X

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

 

X

 

McCurtain

1938

X

X

 

X

1939

X

 

 

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1955

X

 

 

1961

X

 

 

1963

X

 

 

1967

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

1970

 

X

 

         1977

      X    

McIntosh

1938

X

X

 

 

1939

X

X

 

 

1940

X

 

 

 

1941

 

 

 

 

1949

X

X

 

X

1956

 

X

 

X

1967

 

 

X

 

1972

 

 

X (misc.)

 

1978

 

X

 

Major

1937

 

X

X

 

1942

X

X

X

X

1954

X

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Marshall

1937

X

X

 

 

1942

X

X

 

X

1949

X

X

 

 

1953

X

 

 

1956

X

X

 

 

1968

 

X

X

 

1972

 

X

 

Mayes

1935

X

X

 

 

1938

 

 

X

 

1940

X

 

 

X

1952

 

X

 

X

1958

X

X

 

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1972

 

 

X (misc.)

 

1973

 

X

 

Murray

1937

 

X

 

1940

X

 

 

 

1949

 

 

 

X

1956

X

 

 

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

Muskogee

1938

 

 

X

X

1941

X

X

X

 

1952

X

X

 

X

1964

 

X

X

 

1972

 

 

X

 

Noble

1937

X

X

X

 

1943

X

1954

X

1961

X

X

 

 

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Nowata

1937

 

X

 

1941

X

X

X

X

1952

 

X

X

 

1958

 

 

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1972

 

 

X

 

Okfuskee

1937

 

 

X

X

1943

 

X

X

 

 

1954

 

X

 

X

 

1961

X

X

 

 

1968

 

 

X

 

Oklahoma

1937

 

 

X

 

1941

X

X

X

X

1951

X

X

 

X

1957

X

 

1963

 

 

X

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Okmulgee

1938

 

 

X

 

1941

X

 

X

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1956

 

X

 

1963

X

X

 

 

1970

 

 

X

 

Osage

1936/37

 

X

 

X

1937/38

X

 

X

 

1954

X

X

X

 

1961

X

 

1966

 

X

X

 

Ottawa

1939

X

X

X

X

1941

 

 

X

 

1964

 

 

X

 

1972

 

 

X

 

Pawnee

1938

X

X

 

X

1954

X

 

1958

 

 

X

 

1961

 

X

 

1966

 

X

X

 

Payne

1938

X

 

X

 

1949

 

X

X

 

1956

X

 

X

 

1963

 

 

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

1979

 

 

X

 

Pittsburg

1935

 

X

 

1939

X

 

 

 

1948

X

 

 

1955

X

 

 

1962

X

X

 

 

1963

X

 

 

1967

 

 

X

 

1977

 

X

 

1978

 

X

 

Pontotoc

1938

X

 

X

 

1940

 

 

X

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1956

 

X

 

         1967

      X    

1969

 

X

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Pottawatomie

1937

 

 

X

X

 

1940

X

 

 

 

 

1941

X

 

 

 

 

1942

X

 

 

 

1943

X

X

X

 

1954

X

 

1956

X

 

1961

 

 

X

 

1968

 

X

X

 

Pushmataha

1935

 

X

 

1940

 

X

 

1942

 

X

 

1943

X

 

 

 

1955

 

X

X

 

1961

 

X

 

1967

 

X

X

 

1977

 

X

 

Red Oak

1940

 

 

X

 

Roger Mills

1937

 

 X

 

1940

X

 

 

 

 

1955

X

X

 

 

1966

 

X

 

1974

 

 

X

 

Rogers

1935

X

 

         1936 

      X    
      1941/42
 
     X     X      X  

1952

X

X

 

 

         1958

      X    

1964

 

X

X

 

         1972 

      X    

Seminole

1938

X

X

 

X

1948

 

 

 

X

1956

X

 

 

 

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

X

 

Sequoyah

1938

X

X

 

X

1952

X

 

1958

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1972

 

 

X

 

Stephens

1935

 

X

 

1936

 

X

 

1937

 

 

X

 

1940/41

X

X

 

 

1949

 

X

 

X

1956

X

X

 

X

1963

 

X

X

 

1969

 

X

More information

Texas

1941/42

X

 

X

 

1959

X

 

1966

 

 

X

 

Tillman

1937

 

X

 

X

1942

X

 

X

 

1950

X

 

1957

X

X

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

1971

 

 

X

 

Tulsa

1938

 

 

X

 

1943

X

 

 

 

1958

 

 

X

 

1964

 

X

X

 

Wagoner

1936

 

X

 

1937

 

X

 

1940

X

X

X

 

1952

X

X

 

X

1958

 

 X

 

X

1964

 

X

X

 

Washington

1937

 

 

X

 

1941

X

 

X

X

1954

X

 

 

 

1961

X

 

 

1966

 

X

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

Washita

1937

 

X

X

 

1940

X

X

 

 

1950

X

 

 

1955

X

 

 

1966

 

 

X

 

Woods

1937

X

 

X

 

1942

X

X

 

X

1951

X

X

 

 

1959

X

 

 

1965

 

 

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

1979

 

 

X

 

Woodward

1937

X

 

X

X

1951

X

X

 

 

1965

 

 

X

 

1973

 

 

X

 

1981

 

 

X

Subject Guide

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Jeffrey Wilhite
Contact Info
(405) 325-3141
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Special studies also available at OU:

  • Arkansas River
  • Chickasha River
  • Grand River
  • Verdigris River (also at OGS)
  • Canadian River & North Canadian River
  • Cimarron River
  • Red River
  • Washita River Watershed (also at OGS)
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