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Dallas Aerial Photographs, 1945 USDA Survey

Edwin J. Foscue Map Library


Dallas Aerial Photographs, 1945 USDA Survey mosaic Grid 01: Northwest Highway and Beltline Road, site of NE corner of DFW Airport (labeled) Grid 02: Preston Hollow, north of Dallas Love Field (labeled) Grid 03: North Dallas, Preston Road and Northwest Highway (labeled) Grid 04: Northwest Highway and Jupiter Road, north of White Rock Lake (labeled) Grid 05: Town of Irving, Highway 183 (labeled) Grid 06: Trinity River, south of Dallas Love Field (labeled) Grid 07: Downtown Dallas, Oaklawn, Highland Park, University Park, East Dallas (labeled) Grid 08: White Rock Lake (labeled) Grid 09: Town of Grand Prairie, Mountain Creek Lake (labeled) Grid 10: Oak Cliff, Cockrell Hill (labeled) Grid 11: Downtown Dallas, The Cedars, South Dallas, Kessler Park (labeled) Grid 12: Southeastern Dallas, Pleasant Grove (labeled) Grid 13: Mountain Creek Lake, south (labeled) Grid 14: Southwestern Dallas, Highway 67 and Ledbetter Drive (labeled) Grid 15: Southwestern Dallas, Ledbetter Drive and Lancaster Road (labeled) Grid 16: Town of Hutchins (labeled)

There are 16 pairs of images in the Dallas Aerial Photographs, 1945 USDA Survey digital collection that portray various locations in the Dallas metropolitan area as well as Irving, Grand Prairie, and Hutchins. The original photographs were taken by the Army Air Forces for the United States Department of Agriculture and were developed by the Western Aerial Photographic Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. The purpose of the photographs was to survey farmland, which covered large portions of the Dallas area at the time.

The aerial survey collection is housed in the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library. The library worked with regional historian George Cearley to identify important features in the photographs such as major roads, railways, and landmarks. A transparent overlay with locational markers was created for each photograph to label these features. In the digital collection, there are two versions of each image, labeled and unlabeled. Labeled images replicate the physical overlays created for the originals and correspond to a legend that appears below the image. 

Edwin J. Foscue Map Library digital collections are part of CUL Digital Collections, which contain thousands of digitized photographs, manuscripts, imprints, and works of art held by SMU's Central University Libraries special collections.

The Dallas Aerial Photographs, 1945 USDA Survey complements the Dallas Historic Aerial Photographs, 1930 Fairchild Survey and the Miscellaneous Aerial Views of Dallas, 1930s-1940s. A related digital collection, White Rock Lake Aerial Photographs, 1927 Fairchild Survey, is available from the DeGolyer Library.

Aerial Survey Grid

To view an individual high resolution image, click on the yellow dot associated with the area of the map you wish to examine. When you do so, you will be taken to the web page for that image that contains a high quality aerial photograph with yellow markers and a corresponding legend of places. Place names are displayed in the key below the image. To zoom in and move around, use the tool bar across the top of the image. The small image to the left will tell you what part of the photograph you are viewing by displaying a shaded red area around the portion of the image you are viewing.

Each image also contains a link to the unlabeled version of the same photograph.

About the Collection

About USDA Aerial Surveys

Close up from White Rock Lake (unlabeled), 1945 Close up of Field Circle, junction of Highways 77 / 114 / 183

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Security Agency created aerial photographs as a means of surveying farmland. The practice of surveying began shortly after the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act introduced programs that would require farmers to provide accurate measurements in order to participate. Farm programs were designed to stabilize prices, arbitrate mortgage agreements, and insure loans for rural housing and business. Originally, surveying was done by placing chains around fields and creating hand drawn maps. By the 1940s, aerial photography was used as a more efficient and accurate method, and the USDA created two aerial photography labs, one in Asheville, North Carolina, and the other in Salt Lake City, Utah (which developed this set of images). USDA aerial photography was consolidated to the Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO) in Salt Lake City in 1976.

These photographs were created as a map-controlled mosaic. The survey is constructed by assembling multiple photographs using topographic maps for orientation. Typically, only the center of each photograph is used for the mosaic since it represents less displacement.

Digital Collections Guidelines and Procedures

Items in Central University Library Digital Collections are digitized following the SMU Central University Libraries Digitization Guidelines and Procedures. Digital collections are created under the guidelines of the nCDS Digital Collections: Filenaming, Workflow, and Metadata Guidelines, or through specialized metadata profiles tailored for the collection.


Copyright usage terms vary throughout the collection. Each item contains information about usage terms. If SMU does not have the right to publish the item on the Internet, only the item's metadata will be available and the digitized object will be available on a restricted access basis. Such items may only be viewed on campus. When items are available for use, please cite the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Southern Methodist University. A high-quality version of these files may be obtained for a fee by contacting

Contact Info

For more information about this collection, contact the Norwick Center for Digital Services at