• Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Print
  • RSS
  • Getting Orthophotos and Aerial Imagery


    There are two broad classes of aerial imagery:
    • Orthophoto Imagery is aerial photography that has been processed to be spatially accurate. You can measure distances on orthophotos.
    • Aerial photos that are not orthophotos are not spatially accurate. They are just pictures (and sometimes very good ones) that are generally taken from airplanes. Generally, they cannot be overlaid successfully with GIS map data.

    We display a great deal of aerial imagery on our web site, particularly with our PimaMaps maps and Pictometry Aerial Photos. Except for individual Pictometry photos that can be downloaded with the Pictometry Viewer on our web site, we do not provide orthophotos or other aerial imagery in digital file format to the public. Imagery files are not available for download from our web site or our Pima County Geospatial Data Portal. We get most imagery from other sources and don't have the rights to distribute the digital files. However you can read about the imagery we have and our sources on our web site and then contact the source to see if you can acquire the imagery from that agency. See GIS Library Imagery for information on the orthophotos we have and their sources.

    Those working on county or other government projects should contact e-mail address to determine imagery availability.

    Getting Orthophoto Imagery

    Getting Other Aerial Photos (not orthophotos)

    This "other aerial photos" category includes older technology aerial photos that can’t easily be displayed on interactive maps, some going back as far as 1936 and possibly earlier.  Some of these have been scanned and are published on Pima County departmental websites.  For some photos, you can view them downtown, but we don’t have the rights to publish them on the Internet.  Many others are in the form of half-tone images on Mylar that are easy for the eye to see, but don’t scan well enough to make into files.  These "other aerial photos" vary considerably in terms of years, areas covered, quality, and resolution.

    The Pima County DOT Maps and Records section maintains a library of historical paper and Mylar imagery. Hard copies are available for a nominal reproduction cost. While you can't see these photos on the web, you can use the Aerial Photo Lookup page to identify available photos that might meet your needs. If you find photos of interest, you can contact the DOT Maps and Records counter at 520-724-6332 to request copies and ordering details. You can also call them to determine what might be available. You may want to visit the DOT Maps and Records counter located at 201 N. Stone Av., 5th floor during business hours to review available photos.

    The Pima County Regional Flood Control District has historical aerial photos related to their work. They include photos on their Historical Aerial Photos page and others that are not available online. You may be able to see these at their customer service counter. See their web site for contact information.

    Aerial imagery firms such as Landiscor and Cooper Aerial Surveys are additional sources you may want to check.

    Follow UsShare this page

    Geographic Information Systems

    33 N. Stone Ave., 14th Fl.
    Mail-Stop Code DTBAB17-425
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-6670
    Fax: (520) 791-6588

    Department Home Page
    Department News
    Department Directory
    Department Feedback Form