National Air Photo Library collection

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

National Air Photo Library collection

General material designation

  • Cartographic material
  • Graphic material

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Reference code

Accession number 2013.039

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1931-1945 (Creation)
    National Air Photo Library

Physical description area

Physical description

40 photographs
7 maps
2 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(ca. 1920-)

Administrative history

The National Air Photo Library (NAPL) is overseen by the Centre for Topographic Information, which is a division of the Department of Natural Resources. The Centre for Topographic Information is responsible for acquiring, managing, and disseminating topographical information pertaining to Canada. The Centre manages and maintains the federal aerial photography archives and offers reproduction and distribution services for the images within its holdings.

Since 1920, NAPL has archived over six million aerial photographs, covering the whole of the Canadian landmass. In the case of many areas, photographs are available for various years dating as far back as 1920. Aerial photography documents the changing natural and cultural features of the earth's surface over a period of time. The photographs illustrate residential and industrial development, roads and railway networks, rivers, lakes, forests, farmland, mountains, coastlines, canyons, etc. The photographs are valuable geospatial information tools that provide precise geographical and historical snapshots of an area. They can be used for compiling detailed topographical maps, environmental assessments, tracking climate changes, rural and urban planning, real-estate evaluation, legal cases, and art. Canadian federal aerial photographs are indexed and housed by NAPL, which acts as an archive and reference centre.

The majority of the photographs housed by NAPL are back and white, however some are available in colour or infrared. The photographs are cross-referenced with index maps that illustrate flight paths taken by the pilots as the images were taken, as well as the altitude.

Researchers are now able to access information for more than three million aerial photographs through NAPL On-Line by using search criteria such as place names, coordinates, National Topographic System map numbers, and photo numbers. In this online feature, the footprint of the aerial photograph is shown on a map background. Researchers may also order reproductions of aerial photographs online including prints, scans, enlargements, transparencies, and other related products.

Custodial history

Images and maps were requested and acquired from the National Air Photo Library in Ottawa by Thea Wilson-Hammond in 2003.

Scope and content

Collection consists of forty monochrome aerial photographs of the Eastern Shore taken between 1931 and 1945. Also includes seven corresponding flight maps. Photographs illustrate the landscapes and coastlines of various locations along the Eastern Shore as they were in 1931-1945.

Areas covered by the aerial photographs within this collection include Owl's Head, Little Harbour, Clam Harbour, Burnt Point, Clam Bay, Lake Charlotte, Ship Harbour, Upper Lakeville, Oyster Pond, and the Jeddores.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired from the National Air Photo Library in Ottawa, Ontario.


Photographs are arranged in numerical order.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

National Aerial Photo Library, Ottawa, Ontario.

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Photographs are numbered in bottom left hand corners (ex. 8780-45). These numbers correspond to flight paths on the accompanying flight path maps which are used to help identify the names of areas and exact locations shown in the photographs. The first part of the number (ex. 8780) is the flight path that the researcher must locate on the corresponding maps. The second part of the number directs the researcher to a precise dot location along that particular flight path.

The National Aerial Photo Library Collection at the Eastern Shore Archives includes only the following flight paths, as they illustrate relevant Eastern Shore locations: 5040, 5043, 5054, 5034, 8780. The photographs featuring 5000 numbers were taken between 1931 and 1938 whereas photographs featuring 8780 numbers were taken in 1945.

Photographs numbered 8780-29 to 8780-51 (Musquodoboit Harbour to Oyster Pond/Jeddore) are found on the flight path map entitled, “Musquodoboit Sheet No. 203” 11-D/14. These are dated 1945.

Photographs numbered 5034 (Upper Lakeville, Lake Charlotte, Moose River, Ship Harbour) are located on the map entitled “Map 522 A Sheet Harbour/ Map 521A Tangier” 11D/15 “A.” These are dated 1931.

Photographs numbered 5040-54 and 5040-56, 5040-69 to 5040-79 (Day Cove, Lower Ship Harbour, DeBaie's Cove, Caroline Island), and 5054-16 to 5054-23 (Ship Harbour, Weeks Lake) are also located on the map entitled “Map 522 A Sheet Harbour/ Map 521A Tangier” 11D/15 “A.”

Photographs numbered 5054-24-5054-26 (Clam Bay/ Burnt Point), 5043-61-5043-63, 5043-44 (Clam Harbour, Owl's Head Harbour), 5040-56, and 5040-74 (Owl's Head) are located on the map entitled “Sheet Harbour” 11 D/10 W 1/2.

Physical description

Includes: 40 photographs, 7 maps.

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Natural Resources Canada (2010). What is the National Air Photo Library? Retrieved March 20, 2013, from

Natural Resources Canada (2011). Centre for Topographic Information. Retrieved March 20, 2013 from

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