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Maps: Aerial/Satellite Imagery

The Map Collection at Perkins Library and sources for online maps and related information.

At Perkins/Bostock Library

The Duke Map Collection has never systematically collected aerial photos and has only a very few such images. Here's what we do have:

Durham County Aerial Photos
These 9 x 9 inch aerial photos are located in a filing cabinet in the Map Collection area in Bostock Lower Level 1 (basement)..  Indexes are in the map collection flat drawers at G3903 .D8 B52 [date] .U5. The table below shows our holdings.  Early 1990's images are available as Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles (see below).

The indexes vary, but will indicate a roll and exposure number that correlates to a number in the upper left or right corner of the photograph.  For instance, for the 1972 images we have 101 images labeled from 37063 172-4 through 37063 172-104 at the top of the photographs and faintly visible in the upper right corners of the squares on the photomosaic index.  37 refers to North Carolina, 063 refers to Durham County, and 172 is the roll number.  Coding schemes for other years may differ.

Rectified means that the photos have been corrected so that they have consistent properties over the area of the image, as would a paper map.   Non-rectified images may have some distortions due to camera tilt, etc.

Color infrared images show green vegetation as red and are generally photographed when leaves are on trees.  Black & white images are generally photographed in the winter, with leaves off.

Online versions have can be downloaded as JPEG images (Duke) and very high resolution TIFF images (UNC)

Year Scale B&W or Infrared Rectified Index Type Agency Online?
1955 1:20,000 B&W No Photomosaic FSA Yes: Duke | UNC
1959/60 1:20,000 B&W No Photomosaic FSA Yes: Duke
1966/67 1:20,000 B&W No Photomosaic FSA Yes: Duke
1972 1:38,000 B&W No Photomosaic NRCS Yes: UNC
1983 1:40,000 B&W Yes Photomosaic FSA No
1983 1:60,000 Color Infrared No Spot Index NHAP1 No
1988/89/90 1:40,000 B&W Yes Line Index FSA No

FSA=Farm Service Agency (USDA)
NRCS=National Resource Conservation Service (USDA)
NHAP1=National High Altitude Photography (USGS)

Orthophoto quadrangles and orthophoto maps

Location:  Interfiled by state and quadrangle name with the other 1:24,000 quadrangles.
These cover the same 7½ by 7½ minute area as the familiar USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle maps, but are based on aerial photography.  The Orthophoto quadrangles are usually black and white, although sometimes are color (based on the infrared spectrum, where vegetation will be red).  These have limited, if any, topographic detail overprinted.  The orthophoto maps have essentially the same information as on a topographic map (contour lines, streets, cultural features, etc.) overprinted in the familiar green, brown, and black of a topographic map.  Orthophoto quads and maps are are rectified to eliminate distortions due to camera tilt, etc.

These exist for only a small fraction of a percentage of  7½ minute quadrangles, and what we do have are interfiled by state and quadrangle name with the other 1:24,000 quadrangles.

Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles (DOQs)

Location:  Filed by county name in a cabinet with the Public Documents CD collection on the second floor of Perkins

We have these on CD-ROM for the 100 counties in North Carolina. The county FIPS codes are incorporated in the call number.

These files are based on aerial photography and can be imported into mapping programs such as ArcGIS, They are geospatially registered to allow the overlay of other data layers.  Contact ask.data@duke.edu for assistance.