Is there a cost for aerial photograph products?

Download medium-resolution scans (400 dpi) of aerial photography products at no charge using EarthExplorer.

We are working on high-resolution scans (25 micron or 1,000 dpi) that can also be downloaded at no charge. With over 8.4 million frames of imagery in our archive, scanning will take many years to complete, but about 80% of high-resolution scans are currently available.

If you can't find a high-resolution scan of the image that you need or if you need a higher-resolution scan, on-demand scanning is available at $30.00 per frame/scene plus an order fee of $5.00. Delivery time is 3-4 weeks; no priority service is offered.

All requests must be made online through EarthExplorer. Select the shopping cart to order the image. Change the micron size to 25 micron (1,000 dpi); 14 micron (1,800 dpi); or 7 micron (3,600 dpi). The charge is the same for all high-resolution micron sizes. The 7 micron scans are for black & white imagery only.

For assistance, contact Customer Service at or call 800-252-4547 or 605-594-6151. They're open Monday-Friday, 8a-4p Central time.

If you have any payment, billing, or account questions, please contact:

U.S Geological Survey, Receivables Management Section
Mail Stop 271
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, Va 20192
Phone: (703) 648-7683

Learn more: Aerial Photography Frequently Asked Questions

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Is certification available for scanned aerial photographic products?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS) can only certify that the product downloaded through our website is an authentic reproduction of an official record of the government that is in the legal custody of the USGS EROS . See the standard Authenticity of Digital Imagery document.

Will all aerial photographic film held by USGS be digitized?

Yes, there is a plan to scan and digitize all rolls of film. The plan is to first scan all rolls of film that are in danger of decay from vinegar syndrome and then scan everything else. Science and customer requirements are also reviewed on a regular basis, but a formal, online schedule is not available. Learn more: USGS EROS products overview...

Are the scanned aerial photographic images georectified?

Scans of traditional aerial photography film products (air photos) are not georectified . The USGS does, however, offer several orthoimagery (georectified aerial photograph) products: Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ) High Resolution Orthoimagery (HRO) National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP, NAIP Plus) NAIP orthoimagery has been collected...

How do I download orthoimagery products and what are the available formats?

Download orthoimagery (georectified aerial photographs) using EarthExplorer , which has the full catalog of USGS orthoimagery and aerial photography, or The National Map downloader, which has NAIP orthoimagery only. EarthExplorer : Products Overview Format varies by type of orthoimagery: Native format, Georeferenced Tagged Image File Format (...

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...
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Date published: August 27, 2018

Hazards Data Distribution System Releases Thousands of Aerial Images of Kilauea Impact

The eruptive behavior of the Kilauea volcano that began in May 2018 on Hawaii’s Big Island has created an unparalleled opportunity for understanding volcanic systems.

Date published: November 1, 2016

USGS National Map Orthoimagery Map Services Transition and Other Map Service Changes

As part of The National Map transition to cloud hosting, several of the National Map NAIP Orthoimagery Services will be provided under new URLs.

Date published: October 31, 2016

Before and After Photos: SE Beach Dunes Lost to Hurricane Matthew

New low-altitude aerial photos of Southeastern beaches taken before and after Hurricane Matthew passed offshore show a new storm-cut inlet, and roads, dunes and structures lost.

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Woman adjusts a camera inside a small airplane
April 23, 2019

Adjusting a camera during an aerial photographic survey

Biological Technician, Laura (Laney) White adjusts the camera mount during a survey.

The Seabird Studies Team at the USGS Western Ecological Research Center is conducting aerial photographic surveys of the ocean off central and southern California to create comprehensive maps of seabird and marine mammal distributions.

Photo taken from the air showing Hoover Dam with a lake backed up behind it and and a river flowing away from it.
August 7, 2017

High resolution orthoimage of Hoover Dam in 2010

High Resolution Orthoimage of the Hoover Dam Bypass Project in 2010

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek
April 14, 2016

Comparison Lidar and Air Photo

A comparison of an air photo and a lidar image of an area along Secondary Road and Camp Creek, 12 miles north of John Day, OR. The lidar image allows identification of landslide activity that is otherwise masked by trees. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries).

Image: Aerial coastline of Kilauea
May 21, 2010

Aerial coastline of Kilauea

An aerial photograph looking west along the coastline of the current flow field. The Ki entry continues to produce a small plume, which is distributed along the newly formed delta. The color change in the ocean near the entry is due to the wave erosion of material from the delta and the lava itself.

National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) - Little Rock, AR - CIR
March 25, 2001

National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) - Little Rock, AR - CIR

National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) - Little Rock, AR - Color Infrad - March 25, 2001

This is a pair of stereoscopic aerial photographs taken over Villanueva, New Mexico.

Aerial Photography

A pair of stereoscopic aerial photographs taken over Villanueva, New Mexico, in 1984. The originals were at a scale of 1:24,000, which are reduced here. Overlapping photographs such as these can be viewed through a stereoscope, resulting in a three dimensional view of the terrain to be mapped.

Attribution: Science Support
National Agriculture Imagery Program aerial photograph (2014) of part of the Upper Missouri River near Poplar, Montana

National Agriculture Imagery Program aerial photograph (2014)

National Agriculture Imagery Program aerial photograph (2014) of part of the Upper Missouri River near Poplar, Montana. The river is flowing from left to right. The complex channel may promote retention of boats as well as drifting pallid sturgeon larvae.

Before and after images of coastal change in Cape Lookout National Seashore caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Before and after images of coastal change caused by Dorian in NC

The Longpoint Cabin Camp in Cape Lookout National Seashore was heavily impacted by Hurricane Dorian’s waves and surge. All of the cabins were damaged and one pavilion is gone altogether. The area is now inaccessible  due to the cut from the harbor to the cabins. These cuts were likely formed when surge flowed over the island from the sound side. The dunes in front of the