Hawaii Aerial Photographs

Digital Orthophoto Quads

In 1976/1977, the USGS completed an aerial photograph survey of the six main islands (Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai) of Hawaii. The aerial photographs were orthorectified and grouped into 127 orthophoto quadrangles. Someone (I’m not sure who) scanned the original paper maps at 400 dpi, and MrSID versions of the maps ended up on the Virtual Terrain website.  I downloaded the MrSID images (which were not georeferenced), did some minor digital retouching, cropped them, and georeferenced them.

The result is a digital collection of all 127 of the quadrangle maps in several formats.

  • Individual Quadrangles – This collection includes 127 individual digital orthophoto quadrangles.  These have been converted to JPG2000 files with minimal compression.  Each image file has associated World files, which will allow them to be viewed in GIS programs.  These can all be downloaded from my Google Docs account.
  • Island Mosaics -In addition, I created a full resolution mosaic of each island.  These have also been saved as JPG2000 files and can be downloaded from my Google Docs account.
  • Google Earth – Lastly, I created a Google Earth overlay version of the mosaics.  To add the overlays to Google Earth, simply click on the button beneath the screenshot below.

Shoreline Aerials

The University of Hawaii Coastal Geology Group has made available a large collection of shoreline aerial photographs that date back to 1949.  They were kind enough to georeference the photographs.  I have converted them to Google Earth layers.  Simply locate the image you wish to view using the index.  Then check the box next to the name of the aerial to enable it.  Note:  you must first disable the 1977 Orthophoto layer to make the Shoreline aerial visible.

As of right now, the Shoreline Aerials are available only for Maui.  I will try to add Oahu and Kauai in the near future.

To the best of my knowledge the original source images, and all subsequent translations, including all work done by myself are public domain.  You should be able to freely redistribute and modify these.  Credit to the Google Earth Library is appreciated, but not necessary.  Enjoy.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Hawaii T-Sheets Google Earth overlays.  These are another great historical resource for the Hawaiian shorelines.

Download With Google Earth

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3 comments to Hawaii Aerial Photographs

  • To cut down the experimentation, I would like to know how it exactly works. I downloaded the Maui file, opened it in Google Earth and again I see your page so to speak.

    Thanks in advance

    • topomatt

      Open the file into Google Earth. Zoom down to Maui. The 1977 Orthophotos should display by default (might take a few seconds to load if you are on slow connection). You should also see a bunch of yellow dots, which will tell you what shoreline aerial is available. Find the one you want to see in the list at the left and turn it on by checking the box. You can turn off the 1977 aerial by unchecking the box next to it.

  • Aerial photography becomes one string in a bow that contains maps, photos, obliques and LiDAR imaging

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