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University of Adelaide. Department of Geography 
Aerial Photographs and Flight Diagrams

MSS 0250


Air photography was used by the Geography Department to map topographical features across the state, to identify landmarks, and to create un-rectified photo-mosaics. Taking air photos of the same location over time can also be used to map the spread of urban development, or to monitor environmental concerns such erosion or changing vegetation regimes. The airborne surveys required to take these photographs commenced with the Commonwealth in 1935, and continued to 1946. From 1949, surveys were conducted under the aegis of the State Department of Lands, with the last images in the collection taken in 1994. The air photographs have been categorised according to the survey number, and may have duplicates.

Flight Diagrams are maps that show the plane’s route during a survey, and are used to record the frame numbers of the images taken along that line. The diagram can then be cross referenced with an appropriate photograph to determine the location. However, use of the paper Flight Diagrams decreased from the 1970s, presumably with the introduction of more sophisticated tools to record photograph locations. 17 bound volumes of Flight Diagrams have been catalogued.

Finally, a variety of teaching materials have been retained, including duplicate sets of air photographs and topographical maps (presumably for student mapping exercises) and laminated A3 imagery (presumably on display in office or teaching room).

Description written by Mikaela Jennings, University of Adelaide Archives.


20 boxes of South Australian flight survey photographs and diagrams, along with teaching material relating to the photographs. Dated from 1935-1994 (some years not included)

A detailed listing is available as a spreadsheet. Please speak with the Special Collections staff for more information.

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224