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Cambridge air photos

About the collection

The Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP) is the result of airborne survey campaigns which were started in 1947 by the pioneering JK St Joseph. Since then the collection has grown to almost 500,000 images of obliques and verticals in black and white, colour and infra-red. Virtually the whole of Britain has been covered, with the obliques depicting a wide variety of landscapes and features and the verticals being of survey quality, can be used in mapping projects. Some of the uses of CUCAP images include; archaeology, geology, social history, law (land/border disputes), environmental issues (coastal erosion), planning as well as general interest.

The Online Catalogue provides a searchable database containing records of the vertical and oblique photographs acquired since 1945. Although most of the collection covers the UK there are also several thousand images taken over Ireland (1951-73), NW France (1961, 1973/4), Denmark (1966-70) and The Netherlands (1970-73). Enquiries regarding these images need to be made direct to the librarian as they are not yet available through the online catalogue.

Caernarvon 1948

Caernarvon, 1948 (BP88)

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport, 1981 (RC8DZ093)

The originator of the Collection, Professor JK St Joseph, was a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. This talk was give live on 12th March 2021 as part of Selwyn College's series 'Selwyn Online' for alumni and friends. We are grateful to the College for allowing us to post this recording on the website.

Work on the new catalogue and this new online viewer has been undertaken by the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

Data has been improved by AG Martin, Photographic Librarian and Martin Lucas-Smith, Webmaster. Dr Tom Spencer and Jamie Horsley provided additional guidance.

The online catalogue viewer has been developed by Martin Lucas-Smith using code from used with permission.