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GIS Facility Works on Historic Aerial Photos Project

This news item expired October 24, 2009. It may contain out-of-date information.
An article in the October 4 Des Moines Register talked about the historic aerial photos of Iowa that are available online. The part you may not know is the role of Iowa State staff in that project.

The Geographic Information Systems Facility at IT Services has been working with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to locate, acquire, digitize, and provide historic aerial photography of the state from the 1930s through the present.

The project, begun in 2002, is a collection of digital aerial photos that can be used in a Geographic Information System. Photos came primarily from the Iowa Department of Transportation archives and the University of Iowa's Map Library, supplemented by copies of master photos from the National Archives. GIS Facility staff were responsible for the acquisition, scanning, georeferencing, and web publication of nearly 60,000 photos so far. Prior to this project, there had been no single comprehensive resource such as this available to the public.

Web-based and publicly accessible, these historic views of Iowa are important tools for documenting Iowa's environmental and natural resource history. For example, comparing a series of photos of an area from the 1930s to the present allows one to better understand how a property was used, the impact of agricultural practices, or what environmental changes have occurred to an area over the years. Several decades are represented in the collection, ranging from the 1930s through 2008.

The link on the Iowa DNR site will take you to the host site at Iowa State. Check it out at: