Scanning of historical aerial photography

Environment Agency: £13,000 (2015-2021)

Analysis of historical aerial photography is fundamental to understanding coastal evolution and change. The Environment Agency has now scanned almost all Annual Beach Monitoring Survey aerial photography negatives in collaboration with the National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP) and Blom. Several Local Authorities hold historical aerial photography from the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and the millennium. Post 2002, aerial photography is captured across the SCOPAC region as part of the South-east and South-west Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme for 2002, 2008, 2013 and 2016 using a standardised specification.

The aim of this study is to scan as many of the historical aerial photographs as possible where there are known gaps in data coverage. This project has produced a record of the historical aerial photography held by the councils within the SCOPAC region. Scanning of films by NCAP has been undertaken in two phases, focussing on images not previously held in digital format by the councils. These images will be uploaded to the CCO website and made freely available where copyright permits.

All available photography held by NCAP has now been scanned and images are starting to be uploaded onto the Channel Coastal Observatory website.

The 1974/75 Poole and Christchurch Bays scans are the first to be uploaded and made freely available;

visit CCO Map Viewer and Data Catalogue at and select non-rectified photography.

The Southern Coastal Group and SCOPAC merged in 2020 to streamline deliverables in research, policy, the environment and engineering.

SCG & SCOPAC Committee

Lyall Cairns, Coastal Partners

Matt Hosey, BCP Council
Dave Picksley, Environment Agency

Research Chair
Dr Samantha Cope, Coastal Partners

SCOPAC Champion
Cllr Mrs M Penfold MBE, Dorset Council

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