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Issue 48 - A pilot's view

Scotland Magazine Issue 48
December 2009


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A pilot's view

A collection of post-war aerial photographs that helped the shape modern Scotland are now available to view for the first time on a new website.

As Scotland adjusted to peace in 1945, the sight and sound of RAF planes overhead remained a familiar sight, as military photographers set to work using the reconnaissance skills learned during wartime to record every town, port and hill in Scotland.

The 280,000 images taken during 500 sorties were part of Operation Revue, an aerial survey carried out for the Ordnance Survey.

Running from 1945 to 1951 it was not only a means to gainfully employ pilots and aircrew in peacetime, but also created an invaluable blueprint for the planners and architects engaged in producing a vision for the future development of Scotland.

These photographs, many of which have never been seen before by the public, now form the basis of the Scottish online section of the National Collection of Aerial Photography, an archive of millions of aerial images held by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). Through the new website the public can view digital copies of the historic images and plot their locations on modern satellite maps of Scotland.

The website –

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