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The Very First North American Aerial Photo

Planners and engineers today rely on an abundance of information to help them make decisions. From satellite images, to GIS, to LIDAR surveys, imaging tools make it easier to visualize the built and natural environments around us. These tools allow us to look easily at large areas of cities, and to see the effects of projects in full scale.

In the past, these tools never existed and designers needed to rely on hand drawn maps. Imagine the change in perspective upon seeing the first North American aerial photo, taken of Boston in 1860. The view from the air allows one to appreciate the narrow streets, apparent lack of open green spaces, and homogeneity of the architecture.