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Aerial Photographs: Access and Use  

Information about aerial images available at WWU's Center for Pacific Northwest Studies and elsewhere.
Last Updated: Jun 12, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Aerial Photographs at CPNWS

A significant collection of aerial photographs was transferred to the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies from its former home at the Huxley Map Library in Arntzen Hall, in 2011. The collection contains over 30,000 individual aerial images from aerial surveys conducted in different areas of the Pacific Northwest (including northwest counties and National Forest Lands in Washington State), as well as outside areas. See below for more details of coverage.

The majority of images in the collection are from aerial surveys conducted by US government agencies, including the USDA Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Related Resources at WWU

  • CPNWS Photo Database
    Searchable catalog of item-level description for over 7000 historic photographic images housed at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies.
  • CPNWS Map Catalog
    Searchable catalog containing item-level description of maps housed at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
  • Map Collection
    Guide to over 50,000 maps housed at Western Libraries in Wilson 1 West (holdings formerly housed at Huxley Map Library).

Accessing the Collection

 View Guide to the Collection of Aerial Photographs

The collection is open to the public for research and can be accessed at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (in the Goltz-Murray Archives Building). Due to the size and complexity of the collection, researchers are asked to contact CPNWS in advance and set up an appointment to access aerial images.

When contacting CPNWS, please provide us with as much information as possible about the area(s) of interest to you. For example:

  1. Name(s) of towns, locations or geographical features.
  2. Coordinates and/or Township/Range and Section information.
  3. Time period that you are interested in.

CPNWS staff will be pleased to retrieve aerial photographs and survey index maps and to assist researchers in their use. Please note:

  • Resources do not circulate and may not be checked out of the Archives Building.
  • In many cases, it will be possible for CPNWS staff to scan or photocopy images. All copies will be made in accordance with the CPNWS duplication policies and fee schedule. Self-service copying or scanning is not permitted.
  • Researchers should expect to spend some time working with different index sheets and sets of photographs. CPNWS staff are glad to assist and retrieve materials, but cannot do extended research for you.


This libguide was created originally by Evan Thornberry for Huxley Map Library, with subsequent additions by Rob Lopresti and CPNWS staff.

Heritage Resources

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Heritage Resources
Contact Info
Special Collections, 6th Floor Wilson Library, 360-650-3193

University Archives and Records Center, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-3124

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-7534
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Heritage Resources


Western Libraries Heritage Resources provides for responsible stewardship of and access to unique and archival resources in support of teaching, learning and resarch at Western Washington University and beyond. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Special Collections, and University Archives and Records Management work together to document the culture and history of Western, the local community and Pacific Northwest region, and to promote public and scholarly access to holdings.



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