Historical Imagery Archive

The RDC offers a variety of additional products, support and services from our in-house staff. We provide hands-on assistance and expertise.

Acquiring Agencies

United States Geological Survey

  • Media Type: Black and White, Color, and Color Infrared prints
  • General Scales: 1:3000 – 1:125000
  • TNRIS houses extensive United States Geological Survey (USGS) collections encompassing the state of Texas. Dates of collections span from the early 1930s to the late 2000s.
  • About:
    The Aerial Photography Single Frame Records collection is a large and diverse group of imagery acquired by federal organizations from 1937 to present. The USGS, one of the participating federal organizations, houses it’s historical imagery at the USGS Long Term Archive (LTA) at the National Center for Earth Resources Observations and Sciences (EROS) in Sioux Falls, SD.

Texas General Land Office

  • Media Type: Black and White, Color Infrared, Natural Color prints
  • General Scales: 1:3000
  • TNRIS houses collections from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) from the early 1970s to the 1980s. The majority of the collections archived at TNRIS are of the Texas coast, neighboring cities and communities, and of mining sites owned by the GLO in west Texas.
  • About:
    The GLO was the first Texas public agency established in 1836 responsible for managing lands and mineral rights owned by the state. The agency has historical imagery collections for Texas from the 1930s to present.

Army Map Service

  • Media Type: Black and White prints
  • General Scale: 1:60000
  • TNRIS houses extensive Army Map Service (AMS) high altitude collections of Texas from the late 1940s to mid 1950s.
  • About:
    The AMS of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was the premier map making agency of the U.S. Department of Defense from 1941-1968. The major task of the AMS was the compilation, publication, and distribution of aerial imagery, military topographic maps, and related products required by the Armed Forces of the United States.

Texas Department of Transportation

  • Media Type: Black and White prints. Line Indexes also available for most counties
  • General scale: 1:24000
  • Texas Department of Transportation's (TXDOT) aerial film archives include high altitude block-area stereo coverage of most of the state's urban counties and some rural areas. The earliest flight was made in 1956. The majority of the urban areas were first flown in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • About:
    TxDOT is Texas state agency responsible for construction and maintenance of the state’s immense highway system. It also oversees aviation, rail, and public transportation systems in the state.


  • Media Type: Black and White prints
  • General Scales: 1:24000
  • TNRIS houses most of Miller’s historical imagery collection in addition to hard copy maps. The collection is primarily of the central Texas area and covers the mid 1960s through 1990s.
  • About:
    Miller Imaging and Digital Solutions, previously Miller Blueprint, is a family owned business located in Austin, TX that has been creating photographs, maps, and other printed material for close to a century.

United States Air Force

  • Media Type: Black and White prints
  • General Scale: 1:56000
  • TNRIS has a small collection of images from the United States Air Force (USAF) spanning the mid 1950s to late 1960s.
  • The Air Force Historical Research Agency, established in 1943, was designated custodian of documents, narratives, reports, orders, and photographs for the Air Force in times of war and peace. The AFHR serves as a resource for scholars, researchers, government agencies, and the general public.

United States Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service

  • Media Type: Black and White, Color Infrared, Natural Color prints. Line Indexes also available for most counties
  • General Scale: 1:2000 (ASCS/USDA), 1:60000(NHAP), 1:40000(NAPP)
  • In addition to the United States Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (USDA/ASCS) collections, TNRIS also houses collections from the National High Altitude Program (NHAP) 1980-1989 and the National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) 1987-2003 both being USGS interagency coordinated programs.
  • About:
    The USDA is home to one of the country’s largest aerial film libraries housing more than 10 million images. Images date back from 1955 to present with coverage of most of the United States and its territories.

To submit an Historical Imagery request…. Order Data

  1. Customers can preform a cursory search of the the TNRIS Historic photo archive by using the data download web application.

  2. Select the county you are interested in researching. TNRIS Data Search And Download

  3. The map will zoom to the selected county. Directly under the map you will see a list of years the data is available for the selected county. TNRIS Data Search And Download

  4. The list can be expanded to show more detail about the data's available years, e.g. source, year, media type. TNRIS Data Search And Download

    • Note: The imagery is not available online, but you can request historical imagery coverage, quality, and the cost for your Area of Interest. Historic imagery may have incomplete coverage for a particular county and may be of varying quality.
    • Copy and paste the desired imagery from the table into the Order Data form to inquire about and order your site selection. You will be sent a quote before any work begins.
  5. When the Research and Distribution Center (RDC) staff receives the order, the site will be located by loading the Area of Interest and determine the county, if needed. The researcher will choose the best collection (quality and most complete) from the archives and use a photo or map index to determine the exact frames.

  6. Customers will be contacted and provided with a detailed explanation about the size and scope of the research.

    • At this point the customer can decide to continue or cancel the research.
  7. To continue with the order, the RDC staff will select the frames needed.

    • The frames will either be digital or paper.
    • Digital frames will come as a .TIF extension. File sizes can range anywhere from 40 MB to just under 1 GB.
    • If not already in digital format, the paper frames will be scanned. Our historical imagery is typically scanned as greyscale and at 800-1000 dpi resolution.
      • Frames can be georeferenced; opting to have your photos georeferenced will increase the cost of your order.
    • Orders are completed in 3-10 business days.