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The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults, and a correction request
|| 4/2/2008 || 12:25 pm || Comments Off on The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults, and a correction request || ||

I was recently directed to the the National Archives’ Digital Vaults webpage. After the flash animation was loaded up, I was greeted by a nice visual interface (above) that shows various items that are digitally scattered within the vault.

I was surprised to have multiple aerial photographs being shown at once, so I decided to look at one. I clicked on an aerial photograph of San Francisco and I noticed that it was labeled as a Birds-Eye view. Now this might not seem like a problem because for most people there is no difference between a bird-eye view and an aerial view, but there is. Birds do not fly straight toward the earth (well some do), rather they usually fly parallel to the earth, so their viewpoint (or eye) shows the horizon. Aerial photographs are measured by their angle from nadir (directly above), and the more oblique the angle (percentage off nadir), the more like a birds-eye view the photograph becomes. Even the discussion on Wikipedia’s article on the Bird’s Eye View makes the case that there is a difference between aerial and bird’s eye using historical examples. Last but not least, the actual record (below) calls the photograph aerial, not bird’s eye.

After looking through the rest of the records related to aerial photography in the National Archives’ Digital Vaults, I found that the Grand Canyon photograph is a birds-eye view and the “birds-eye view” of Orlando, Florida is mislabeled. Maybe they will fix this?


Related Birds Eye View Entries:


Related California Entries:


Related National Archives Entries:



Post Title: The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults, and a correction request
Post Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Birds-Eye View, California, Commentary, DC, Location, National Archives, San Francisco
Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 9/5/2009 at 4:59 pm



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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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