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Detroit Map Resources

Guide to finding map resources of Detroit and southeastern Michigan.


What is an Aerial Photograph?

An aerial photograph is a photo taken of the ground from an elevated position where the camera is not supported by a ground-based structure. Aerial photos are most often processed through GIS software. Help with GIS software is offered through the Clark Lab, located here

Uses of Aerial Photography

  • making topographic maps
  • land-use planning
  • environmental studies

Online Aerial Photographs

The DTE Aerial Photo Collection through Wayne State provides digitized copies of aerial photos of Detroit and the surrounding area from 1949 to 1997.  Pdf files range from low resolution (72dpi) to high resolution (600 dpi).

SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) has aerial images of Wayne County (as well as other southeast Michigan counties) available for PDF download. The aerial photos were taken in 2010. 

Great Lakes Aerial Photos provides several different photos of Detroit's skyline from 2003. These photos are not available for download, but they do provide a good view of Detroit today. 

Clark Library Aerial Photographs

The map collection contains several series of black and white, print aerial photographs of Michigan, with varying levels of completeness from 1939-1995.

Aerial photograph coverage in other geographical areas is limited, although some books and atlases include aerial images. Try a keyword or subject search for the location and the phrase aerial photographs.