University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Aerial Stereograms

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Committee on Aerial Photography began to prepare a set of aerial stereogram photographs to support instruction in aerial photography interpretation in 1959. The stereograms were created primarily from United States government photography. Source image dates range between 1936 and 1970.

A stereogram is usually a “3D” picture hidden within a picture; they often appear in Sunday newspaper comic strip supplements. Aerial stereograms are created from pairs of aerial photographs that show the same location but from slightly different angles. By viewing the photo pairs through a stereoscope, the brain can be tricked into seeing or perceiving an impression of heights and depths.

The aerial stereograms in the Committee on Aerial Photography collection show a wide variety of features, both natural and man-made, throughout the United States. Brief descriptions of each stereogram are available in a separately-published catalog, “University of Illinois Catalog of Stereogram Aerial Photographs.” The catalog is included in the scanned collection.

Instructors are encouraged to download and print the images for classroom or laboratory instructional use.

Please contact the Map Library with questions regarding reproduction for publication via e-mail ( or by calling 217-333-0827.