It is free to visit our search room to search for and consult aerial imagery. An appointment is necessary to guarantee a workstation and the availability of expert staff.
Imagery is retrieved daily, within 45 minutes, at 11:00 am. If digital imagery is available on our website, hard-copy prints will not be provided for viewing.
Make an appointment using our search room booking form
|Tuesday||9.30am - 5.00pm|
|Wednesday||9.30am - 5.00pm|
|Thursday||9.30am - 5.00pm|
|Friday||9.30am - 5.00pm|
We will confirm your booking by e-mail within 2 working days, or provide alternative dates.
Imagery retrieval times
Requests to consult aerial imagery must be submitted using the record request form available in the search room. At any one time, a maximum of 18 microfilm reels or 18 boxes of prints may be consulted at a workstation. Imagery is retrieved daily, within 45 minutes, at 11:00am.
In the search room, visitors can view post-1945 imagery of Scotland in print form and 1939-1945 imagery of Western Europe on microfilm. For conservation reasons, when digital imagery is available on our website we now move the corresponding hard-copy prints into off-site storage and these are therefore no longer provided for viewing.
If you have a Finding Aids subscription, and wish to visit to view imagery of Scotland, you can download the Record Request Form, print it off and complete it before your appointment. Use the Barcode List to identify the boxes you wish to request.
The finding aids used to find catalogued imagery of Scotland and places throughout the world, are accessed through a Geographical Information System (GIS) available at each workstation. This provides access to digitised sortie plots covering everywhere in Scotland and areas across western Europe. From these plots it is possible to identify exact footprint information for each aerial photograph. These finding aids were developed to address the unique challenge of cataloguing millions of historic aerial images.
Find out what has been catalogued on the Browse by Collections page.
For conservation reasons, it is not possible for search-room visitors to make their own copies or to take photographs.
Research-Quality copies of imagery viewed in the search room may be ordered. These are supplied as 72dpi jpeg files, priced at £3.50 (+VAT) for the first frame from any sortie, with subsequent frames from the same sortie priced at £0.50 (+VAT) each.
Where we are
The National Collection of Aerial Photography
John Sinclair House
16 Bernard Terrace
Planning your journey
For information on planning journeys by public transport within Scotland, please visit Traveline Scotland.
- Train - The nearest railway station is Edinburgh Waverley. To plan a journey please visit National Rail Enquiries.
- Air - The nearest airport is Edinburgh (EDI). To plan a flight please visit Edinburgh Airport.
- Bicycle - We are located near the National Cycle Network. A bicycle shed is available to the rear of the building, although they are parked at your own risk. To plan your journey please visit sustrans.
- Car/Motorbike - There is limited free parking to the rear of the building. This is accessed from Bernard Terrace via an archway and a controlled access system. Parking spaces are available for disabled visitors. Vehicles are parked at your own risk.
Ensuring that our building and services are accessible to all our visitors is important to us. We aim to create an environment that is welcoming and accessible. There is a lift to our Search Room and our building is wheelchair accessible.
Please contact us before your visit if you have any questions about accessibility.
Every year we digitise thousands of aerial images for our customers and website.
We clean and preserve all prints and films sent for digitisation.
Did you know that you can purchase digital images online?
Simply locate your image and click "buy". Images ordered for personal-use can be accessed immediately after payment.
We offer two levels of paid-for subscriptions.
Zoomable Images and Finding Aids allows you to zoom and pan an ever-growing number of Finding Aids as well as the aerial images. Finding aids are maps showing the geographic area covered by each photograph within a sortie or mission. Use them to identify and order copies of photographs that have not yet been digitised.