A Message From Our President

Posted on 08/09/2011 by Fritz Byers in Company Updates


We at Vintage Aerial are deeply grateful for your interest in our site and your participation in the excitement that surrounds our archive of historical photographs. Your engagement with the community that has built up around our photos has helped confirm for us the immense value of what we’ve begun building.

Our company is small – it is owned and operated by a small group of amateur historians and programmers who’ve invested their time and money in a shared vision of the company and what it can become. In a very short time (little more than one year), we’ve scanned more than 3 million photos and have developed our own technology that seamlessly ties each photo to its unique location so they can be found by address, intersection, or coordinates. This technology makes it much easier for you to find, so they’re readily available online to people like you, who want to look at them, share them, and talk about them. As large as that accomplishment is, it reflects only about 1/8th of the photos in our film archive, so we have lots more to do.

What we’ve done so far has taken a huge investment in time, equipment, and technology. We’ve learned a lot about the process, a lot about technology, and a lot about the demands of our business. We are proud of what we’ve done, but we’ve learned that in some ways, the speed of our work in developing our online archive overtook our planning for the business.

We need to take a pause from operating our online interactive archive to make sure that we’re developing and expanding our business in a way that makes sense – for us and for all of you. We want to make sure that we don’t do anything in the short run that jeopardizes our ability to keep our commitment to scan our entire library and to make it available online for you to explore and share.

So we are going to temporarily shut the part of our interactive online archive that gives you he ability to search for your photograph using our proprietary technology. All public links to our photographs will still operate, so if you’ve found a photo that is special to you, you’ll still be able to view it. And if you want to find other photos, we have Vintage Aerial librarians available to help you, so submit a request and we’ll assist you promptly.

In the meantime, we’re going to continue scanning our photo archives and refining our technology to make them available in the most useful and efficient way possible. We remain committed to the goal that brought us together when we formed our company.

We’d love to hear from you about what we’ve done so far and what it means to you, and what you think we should strive to do in the future. The community that has built up around our site and our archive is very much like what we hoped for, and we want to continue to be responsive to your viewpoints. So please share them with us, just as you’ve shared your stories and your interest in our pictures.

We’ll keep you informed here, letting you now how we’re moving forward and what our plans are, even if our only plan is to continue trying to figure out, with your help, the best way to be the company we aim to be.

Fritz Byers President & CEO

Visitor Comments

Just what I hoped I'd find someday and here it is.

I ordered and paid for two photos June 17, 2011. Today is August 18, 2011. Still haven't seen the photos I bought. I've had replies that include several "they're in the mail", Staff reduction problems, printer repair problems, yada, yada, yada. I was so excited to find FIVE old photos of my farm. Now I don't know what to do. Contact my credit card company, I guess.

Extremely dissapointed that I cant find the picture that I found on here last month. Please open up the ability to search. You would have made a sale tonight but I will pass now. The ability to look on your own like I have done previously allowed for me to obtain many stories regarding the home farm and nearby farms that my father and grandparents were affiliated with, and the stories that they were able to tell by going through the roll of film.

Ben, we're working on it! We have plans to activate that feature again, but we'll need more time. We'll keep the blog, Facebook, and Twitter updated for when we do.

I hope that you make it active again. I just had found this site and was really enjoying looking around "home" at the different neighboring farms and some of the town pictures. Some of the pictures I found were from right before I could remember the farmsteads or only could remember the vacant farmsteads and the pictures were taken when someone still lived there. I was just going to start commenting on the pictures as to whose family some of the pictures were when the site was turned off.

Wil, we do have plans to make our browsable images active again. In fact, one of our recent blog posts is about how we enabled a big chunk of Texas! We'll continue to post updates on this blog, Facebook and Twitter for when we enable more!

Do you anticipate having browseable images in Illinois?

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