Toolkit: Appendix A USGS Earth Explorer

The most comprehensive archive of aerial photos and satellite images of the U.S. is found at USGS Earth Explorer. USGS-Earth Explorer contains historical-to-recent aerial photos for every location in the U.S., available free for download.



The site hosts over a dozen different collections, but the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) from 2002-present is expected to be the most commonly used collection of air photos for certification purposes. Additionally, the Single Frames collection contains historical air photos dating as far back as the 1930’s, which can be extremely useful in situations where it is necessary to assess whether an ecosystem may have recovered from past disturbance. NAIP images are commonly used by FSA to create farm maps needed to administer various farm programs, and hard copies of the photos can usually be obtained from a local FSA office.

Watch the video demonstration to learn how to use this tool.