Air Photo Viewer

The Air Photo Viewer tool allows users to view and order aerial photographs of British Columbia, known as air photos.

Low-resolution air photos may be viewed, printed and downloaded using the Air Photo Viewer. If available, full-resolution air photo images can be purchased from the Base Map Online Store.

Note: To view thumbnail images or use Add to Cart functionality you must configure Google Earth to open web pages in an "external browser".

Select Tools > Options > General > check Show web results in external browser, as shown below.

Google Earth Options

How to Use

  1. Download the Air Photo Viewer (KML).
  2. Open the Air Photo Viewer file in Google Earth.
  3. Air photos are indexed by the year in which the imagery was captured. In the Places pane, select the year of air photos to view under View and Order Air Photos by Year.
  4. Use the Google Earth controls to zoom in on an air photo coverage area, shown in red. As you zoom in, flight lines are shown in red and air photo centres are shown as yellow circles. Air photo centres are only visible at a height (eye altitude) of less than 32 km or 20 miles.
  5. Click the blue disc icon on top of an air photo centre to view information about that air photo.
  6. If a low-resolution version of the air photo is available, click on the image thumbnail to view the low-resolution version of the image.
  7. If the air photo is available for purchase, an Add to Cart button will be displayed below the air photo details. The Add to Cart functionality requires that Google Earth be configured to open web pages in an external browser. Click the Add to Cart button to add an air photo to the shopping cart for purchase.
  8. To quickly add multiple air photos to the shopping cart, click Order by Roll and Frame in the Places pane to connect to the Base Map Online Store.


  • Not all air photos are available in digital format. Older photos can be ordered from the Base Map Online Store using historical flight indices.
  • Some air photos will appear upside-down because of the orientation of the plane when the photo was taken. To compare features, rotate the Google Earth map to match the orientation of the air photo.
  • The Air Photo Viewer uses the Google Earth image overlay feature to display air photo coverage and air photo centres from data located on internet servers. If a red “X” is covering the map, it means that Google Earth cannot find the image overlay location. This is likely caused by a temporary internet connectivity problem.

Allowable Reproduction

Low-resolution air photo images are free for personal use, although they remain the copyrighted property of the Province of British Columbia. For commercial use, or for inclusion in published material, you will need to request permission from the Government of B.C.