Company Updates

A Landmark Moment for Vintage Aerial

Posted on 02/01/2016 by Fritz Byers

This is a landmark moment for Vintage Aerial. We are excited to share it with you, and we want to tell you a little bit about it.

After seven years, we are finally able to share our vast collection of historic aerial photographs with you in the way we’ve always intended – by making them available to you directly, allowing you to enjoy, study, and share them in the ways you want to, whenever you want to. And if you want to own a photograph – a print or a digital file – you can buy directly from our website using a streamlined, hassle-free online process. We’re here to help if you need it, in any way we can – ask for help, share your stories, join our communities, lend support in identifying photographs and enriching knowledge about the stories they tell. But now, and into our future, all of the choices will be yours.

This is the company we have wanted to be since we began in 2009. In that time, we’ve been busy. We’ve built from scratch a unique, robust process for converting our millions of film photographs to digital images, geolocating them with speed and precision, helping you find them with whatever historical information you may have, and displaying them to you. And we’ve converted more than 10 million of our 25 million pictures so they can be accessed through this process. Of course this has taken time, and we still have lots of work to do – converting another 15 million images (along with other collections we’re busily tracking down) geolocating them through our internal process to ensure we present them to you as accurately as possible and in the most accessible way.

As you may know, until now we’ve not had enough of a full-service digital library, and enough accompanying software tools, to be able to make our collections directly available to you in the ways we’ve dreamed of. So, while we’ve been building the company, we enlisted help from many trained outside Librarians who helped you and others find photos and navigate our process. You may have worked with a Librarian, and, if you have, we hope that in all ways your experiences were rewarding. We honor all they’ve done for us, and we’re grateful. But from the start, our vision has been to remove the barriers – human and technical – that stood between you and the photos you want to see.

We’re far enough down the road now to act on that vision. So, beginning today, all of your connections with Vintage Aerial can be directly online. If you want to see photographs that are meaningful to you, visit us and begin looking. Large swaths of our collection are directly accessible now through our automated search functions. Enter your information, and the site will find them for you and display them. If the photo you’re looking for isn’t yet part of the fully functional online archive, leave us a quick request, and we’ll get on it immediately, and we’ll promptly let you know by email that the pictures you’re looking for are ready, and we’ll send you the link.

Of course, if you want our assistance, we’re here to help in any way we can.

So, we are thrilled to be able to offer you an online collection of aerial photographs, available to you 24/7. That’s Vintage Aerial as we’ve always dreamed it.

-Fritz Byers President & CEO

Responsive Redesign

Posted on 07/08/2015 by Kevin Marsh

After months of hard work I’m proud to announce the new!

In addition to looking and working great on mobile phones, tablets, and desktops, this redesign also has a few new features that show you more of our collection and why we think it’s so important.

Mobile and Tablet Friendly

When we launched Vintage Aerial more than 7 years ago iPhones, iPads, and Android didn’t exist. Today, more than 50% of our traffic comes from these devices.

Every page has been redesigned to fit small mobile screens, tablets, larger desktop screens, and everything in between. There have also been a few thoughtful touches to make navigating more friendly on mobile and tablet devices.

Decades of Change

A lot has changed over the past 50 years. We’ve gained a lot of technological innovations that make all this possible, but we’ve also lost a lot of history. Only 50% of farms in America from 1960 remain, and the rest have undergone dramatic change.

That’s why we created Decades of Change. Our homepage now features just a few farms with photos from the 1960s, ‘70s, and ’80s showing just how much of our rural landscape has changed. We’ll continually add new photos here from our collection of millions.

Featured Stories

We’ve always thought our photos are a catalyst for memories and we love hearing your stories. We’ve redesigned our featured story pages to showcase more of our photos that are bigger, sharper, and look amazing on retina displays.

Our photos, your stories, together with that of your neighbors paints a rich picture of what rural America really was like.

More to Come

This is just the beginning. We have plans for even more ways for you to explore our collection, and we’re excited to share them with you.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for how we can continue to improve, please leave a comment below.

More Ohio Counties Released

Posted on 04/07/2015 by Lance Roper

We’re releasing 400,000 more images from our collection in Ohio!

Ohio is our home state, and we’re on track to open all images in the state by this summer! We’ll keep updating our blog with a list of recent openings for your convenience.

Help us spread the word to people who have roots and connections in these areas. We’re looking for volunteers to help us identify photos and leave stories.

More Browsable Places

Posted on 03/17/2015 by Lance Roper

We’re excited to announce another 92,000 images available for browsing on the West Coast!

The vast majority of these photographs are being released without approximate locations because the original flight path maps have been missing for decades. This means that in order to geolocate these images so that we can allow visitors to search by address or keyword, we need the help of people in these areas to help us identify photographs!

Here’s a look at what happens when photos are geolocated. Even in areas missing map data, we can recreate flight path maps when visitors pin locations. Once enough photos have been identified, we can enable visitors to search these areas by address and keyword!

Geolocated images in an area missing original map data, colors represent rolls of film.

Our hope is to crowdsource the identification of these photos, which means we need help spreading the word that they exist. If you, or anyone you know has a connection to any of these rural areas, let them know they can begin browsing through our collection from the 1960s.

Browsable Places

Posted on 03/13/2015 by Lance Roper

At Vintage Aerial, we’ve been working hard to turn our vision into reality, which we feel is encapsulated in our mission statement:

“Gathering the stories of rural America by presenting aerial photos in a way that evokes personal, family, and community memories that capture and share our common history.”

As a result, we’re on track to make nearly 2 million photographs available for searching and browsing by the end of this June! Our hope is that anyone with a connection to rural America will use our collection to reconnect with their past by viewing our photos and sharing memories with us.

The list below contains the states and counties we’ve made available as of today. Enjoy!

Digital Images

Posted on 07/11/2014 by Lance Roper

A beautiful example of one of our photos containing a round barn.

Over the past five years, we’ve helped thousands of people recover important pieces of their family history through our massive collection of historic aerial photographs. These photographs, once identified, have been preserved digitally and made available as archival-quality prints. As we’ve always said, our prints are family heirlooms the day they arrive.

Find Your Historic Aerial Photograph

Posted on 01/24/2014 by Lance Roper

Steps for Searching Our Collection

Here at Vintage Aerial, we receive hundreds of requests each day to find historic photos of family farms and rural homes. It is our desire to offer the highest quality of service on those requests, therefore it’s important to understand exactly how our process works.

We currently have an archive of over 25 million photographs. Digitizing, mapping, and indexing this collection is a momentous challenge. We insist on the utmost care at each stage of the process, to insure that each irreplaceable photograph is captured and preserved as perfectly as possible. This process is a work in progress.

To insure that you find the photo you are looking for, we offer the services of our Vintage Aerial Librarians. Our Librarians are experts at taking your information, searching our collection, and presenting you with a small pool of relevant photos.

Unforgettable Gifts for the Upcoming Holidays

Posted on 11/02/2011 by Lance Roper

We often receive stories from our customers when they give one of our photographs as a gift. Every story seems to focus on how the recipient reacted when they saw the photograph. Here’s a great example of what I mean:

“When Dad opened that box, the expression on his face was amazing. Here was a big, rough and tough farm boy, staring at it with tears in his eyes. He couldn’t thank us enough. Later, we asked Mom if she thought he liked it. She said “He only took it in and out of the box about 10 times!” We cannot thank you enough for helping to make this great man’s difficult year much more special!"

Browsable Archive Now Active in Texas

Posted on 10/07/2011 by Lance Roper

We’re excited to announce that we’ve made 52 counties in Texas available for free interactive browsing. That’s an incredible 389,785 photographs! All you need to do is type in a current address and our system will locate photos near that location. (Links are provided at the bottom of this post.)

This technology is still under development and we’re looking for suggestions on how to improve the way everything works and feels. Please email any ideas or thoughts to

A Message From Our President

Posted on 08/09/2011 by Fritz Byers


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.