Orthophoto Viewer

The Orthophoto Viewer tool allows users to view, print and download orthorectified aerial photographs of British Columbia, known as orthophotos.  These low-resolution images are free of charge.

Full high-resolution images are available for purchase through 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 Orthophoto Viewer (KML).
  2. Open the Orthophoto Viewer file in Google Earth.
  3. Use the Google Earth controls to zoom in on an air photo coverage area, shown in pink. As you zoom in, orthophoto centres are shown as yellow circles. Orthophoto centres are only visible at a height (eye altitude) of less than 130 km or 80 miles.
  4. If you are only interested in orthophotos available for purchase, make sure the Non-catalogue Orthophotos layer in the Places pane is unchecked.
  5. Click the blue disc icon on top of an orthophoto centre to view information about that orthophoto.
  6. Click on the image thumbnail in the information window to display a low-resolution, 1/16th scale version of the full-resolution orthophoto, which you may freely print or download from your browser window. Images not owned by the Province of B.C. do not have low-resolution thumbnails.
  7. If a full-resolution orthophoto is available for purchase, an Add to Cart button will be displayed below the orthophoto 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 orthophoto to the shopping cart for purchase, or follow the link to the Base Map Online Store.


  • Orthophotos from earlier than 1995 are not available in digital format.
  • Some areas of British Columbia do not have orthophoto coverage.
  • The Orthophoto Viewer uses the Google Earth image overlay feature to display orthophoto coverage and orthophoto 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 orthophoto 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.