Aerial and Historical Imagery

Spatial Services holds a wide range of aerial photography and other historical imagery of NSW for viewing and purchase. Aerial Imagery is captured across NSW and is available with a range of years from 1930s through to current.

Imagery from the past

Aerial imagery provides a valuable source of information for studying, monitoring, forecasting and managing natural resources and human activities. Obtaining aerial photos from different periods can be a useful way to research the history of an area or to verify different uses of land over time.

Free viewing of aerial imagery

Using our online map and image portal you can zoom into any portion of the state and see aerial imagery, property boundaries and streets, and other free online features. Over the populated metropolitan areas there is also historical imagery from 1943 available to view. This service also allows you to create a free print using Print/PDF tool.

How to order

Historical Aerial Photography (HAP) imagery frames are supplied in a digital format by FTP link and are an unprocessed JPEG2000 (JP2). Due to the size of the file and JP2 format, users may have issues opening the images if they do not have appropriate software. A range of applications and programs are available to open imagery sourced from Spatial Services and the platform being used will determine software available to you (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux).

Complete the enquiry form for historical aerial imagery.

Georeferenced and orthorectified photographs

To use imagery in a GIS, it is necessary to georeference or orthorectify the imagery. To georeference something means to define its existence in physical space, that is establishing its location in terms of map projections or coordinates. The term is used both when establishing the relation between aerial images and coordinates but also to determine the spatial location of other geographical features.

Orthorectification removes distortions due to height, altitude of the aircraft and the terrain that has been photographed. This allows precise measurement in line with the scale of the photography.

Elevation data

Spatial Services has access to specialised Radar, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data and satellite imagery which depict height information, vegetation, floods and other special conditions and features. Spatial Services contributes the NSW LiDAR imagery to the national data set, Elevation and Depth – Foundation Spatial Data (ELVIS).

This imagery can be useful to organisations involved in planning and managing land use and the natural environment.

Satellite imagery

Satellite imagery, designed to aid in management of resources and monitoring of oceanic and terrestrial changes, is available from Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT 5), a system of satellites launched in 2002.

For areas across NSW with a very high population base (eg. Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong) Spatial Services may acquire high resolution imagery via the private sector to agreed capture specifications.

Spatial Services has daily updated state-wide satellite imagery, available to other government entities free of charge. The 3.7m resolution imagery is a vital tool for government and provides the opportunity to look for patterns across the state and to measure change. It also has applications in urban growth, monitoring emergency environmental situations, resource management, infrastructure and countless other functions. NSW and local government users can subscribe to the satellite imagery service by clicking on the following link, Satellite imagery subscription.

In early 2020 Spatial Services will acquire a 1.5m resolution, four band (R, G, B, NIR) satellite mosaic of NSW. This higher resolution satellite mosaic, which is ideal for high level image analytics, will be updated on a bi-annual basis and will be available to the whole of government.

If you have any enquires please contact us.


Tamworth historic imagery 1965


Tamworth historic imagery 1965 in 3D


Byron Bay Light House looking south to Tallow Beach
This image is a 3D view from NSW Globe with some 3D buildings