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How much area does an aerial photograph cover?

The area covered by an aerial photograph (air photo) depends on the scale of the imagery. Most air photos were taken on 9 x 9 inch film. The chart below reflects coverage for a variety of photographic scales.

Scale 1 inch = feet 1 side (miles) Area (square miles)
1:12,000 1000 1.70 2.9
1:20,000 1667 2.84 8.1
1:24,000 2000 3.41 11.6
1:40,000 3333 5.68 32.3
1:58,000 4833 8.23 67.73
1:63,360 5280 9.00 81.00
1:80,000 6667 11.36 129.1
1:100,000 8333 14.20 201.6

Note: The photo scale is determined by dividing the flying height by the camera focal length.

Example: If the flying height is 20,000 feet and the camera focal length is 6 inches, then:

     20,000 feet ÷ 0.5 feet = 40,000 scale or 1:40,000

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