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Map Information: Aerial Photographs

Photo credit: National Park Service

New Mexico State Library The State Library aerial survey map collection is comprised of imagery produced by the Fairchild Aerial Company in collaboration with the USDA Soil Conservation Service. Aerial photos in this set were taken in 1935-1937 and in 1951 by Fairchild, in partnership with the Soil Conservation Service. The collection is a valuable resource for researchers interested in property history, environmental history and change including soil erosion, forestation, and waterways. Researchers should be aware that coverage for locations or flight surveys may not be comprehensive and that the Library may not have coverage and images for all areas of interest.  Historic aerial photographs of New Mexico may also be found digitally at RGIS and the UC Santa Barbara Fairchild Aerial Surveys.  The Charles A. Lindbergh collection contains photographs of the Rio Grande and the Pueblos.

National Archives

Special List 25 is the starting point for accessing most domestic aerial photography. This Special List provides information on which record groups and series hold photographs for specific domestic locations. Special List 25 is available for download digitally here. The most up to date version of the Special List can be requested by emailing

The list is arranged by state and thereunder by county. Once you find the county that includes your area of interest, you will find a list of record groups and series with available photography.

Earth Data Analysis Center The EDAC maintains an historic aerial photography archive dating from the mid-1930’s that covers New Mexico, portions of Arizona and Texas. Contributing agencies to the archive include the U.S. Geological Survey, Army Map Service, U.S. Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, NASA and several private firms.  Images from the archive can be viewed onsite at EDAC only. Copies can be obtained by ordering specific frames from the original sources, and purchasing scanned photos from the collection.

New Mexico Department of Transportation The images are non-geo referenced JPEG images located along Interstate, US routes, NM routes, and NMDOT-maintained frontage roads within New Mexico. Aerial Photography images along these roads are an approximate visual reference. The imagery is publicly available in digital format (no prints will be made). Certain locations may have changed in subsequent years for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, roadway construction, maintenance, vandalism, urban growth, etc. NMDOT will update this map in 6 month increments. Use the View Application button to see the collection.

University of New Mexico Map and Geographic Information Center MAGIC has an extensive collection of aerial photography for the city of Albuquerque ranging in dates from 1969 to 1990, in various scales. Some other areas of New Mexico are available with various dates and scales. More current aerial photography is accessed online.

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research CSWR has a variety of aerial photographs, especially in its pictorial and architectural archives. Use the Rocky Mountain Online Archive to search for these photographs.

USGS Aerial Photographs

The National Archives Cartographic Branch holds aerial photographs of the United States covering the years 1935 - 2011. Domestic photography can be found in several different series of records. Check out this blog post to understand how to research the aerial photographs in National Archives Record Group 57: Records of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).