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Directorate of Overseas Surveys

Between 1946 and 1984, the Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS) was responsible for mapping those parts of the Commonwealth which had no surveying capability of their own, to aid their administration and development. To provide a basis for cartography, DOS contracted comprehensive aerial surveys of each country. In 2012, these aerial photographs were transferred to NCAP, to secure their long-term future. Over 1.5 Million images now await further cataloguing.
This gallery provides an introduction to the DOS Collection, and illustrates the varied landscapes captured on aerial film and recorded by DOS surveyors. In this gallery, contrasting agricultural practices can be seen, with wide swathes of Kenya undergoing enclosure in an expansion of plantation agriculture, while poorly-connected villages in Nigeria practice subsistence farming. Contrasting geological landscapes are visible in images of the volcanic Great Rift Valley in Kenya and the karst limestone terrain of central Jamaica, while images of Hong Kong illustrate the pressure of human activities on the natural environment.