About Penn Pilot


What is Penn Pilot

Penn Pilot, a project sponsored by the Pennsylvania Geological Survey, is an online library of digital historical aerial photography for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Using the interactive map provided on this website, you can browse, view, and download thousands of photos covering the Commonwealth from 1937 to 1942 and 1967 to 1972.


What is the source of the photos?

The photos were produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Adjustment Administration (now known as the Farm Service Agency).


What are the characteristics of the original photographs?

The original photos are black-and-white 9” x 9” and 9” x 7” prints with a scale of 1:20,000. Some northeastern counties were flown between 1967-1972 from a higher altitude; the scale of these photos is 1:40,000. The vegetation condition when flown was “leaf-on.”


How do I find, view, or download a photo?

Click here for help.


What is the difference between a low, medium and high resolution photo?


Version Pixels Per Inch (ppi) Approx. Size (MB) Comments
low 200 0.7 fastest download
medium 400 2.0 suitable for most uses
high 800 7.5 original scan resolution

Are the photo images georeferenced?

No, the images are neither orthorectified, nor georeferenced. To enable browsing of the collection via a map, the approximate locations of photos were established by georeferencing associated county index sheets and digitizing point locations for each photo from the sheets.


Can I order a DVD of all the data for my county?

We are unable to handle special orders. At this time, all data are provided through the Penn Pilot website.


Will you be making the GIS data available?

At this time, the georeferenced county index sheets and photo center point datasets are not available for distribution.





Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Geological Survey