The Richard J. Daley Library has an extensive collection of print aerial photographs of Chicago and the surrounding counties. Publicly available are City of Chicago Department of Development and Planning 1968, 1973, and 1994 series, as well as the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) 1980, 1990, and 2001 series.
Also available are digital files of 2002 and 2005 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) orthographic aerials and 2004, 2005, and 2006 National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) images. These require that you contact the library at firstname.lastname@example.org and arrange an appointment for copying the files.
Aerial Photographs that are available will be listed in the library catalog.
The City of Chicago Department of Development and Planning aerial photographs cover much of the city of Chicago. The aerials are large paper prints (about 60 x 60 cm). The scale is roughly 1:3,050, please refer to the scale on the sheet for an accurate scale.
Use the index maps linked below to determine the sheet number(s) needed.
The spring 1968 and 1973 aerial photographs are organized by flight index number or sheet number.
The spring 1994 Chicago Department of City Planning aerials are organized by Township, Range, and Section.
The Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) aerial photographs cover Northeastern Illinois, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties. The aerials are large paper prints (about 77 x 77 cm). The scale is 1:4,800 or 1" = 400', please refer to the scale on the sheet for an accuracy.
The aerial photographs are organized by Township, Range, and Section. Each sheet covers four sections.
Use the index maps linked below to determine the section(s) needed.
Aerial imagery online can come in many different shapes and sizes. Formats range from JPEG, JPEG2000, TIFF, GeoTIFF, PDF, and GeoPDF requiring no special software to view, to files, such as MrSID, requiring additional software to view and manipulate.
This guide focuses on those resources that do not require special software to view.