50s/60s aerials are better quality than the 90s!
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Jesse P. on Feb 5 2013 11:34PM #1
Sacramento has 1957 and '64, which are really crisp, while one from '98 (the same one on Google Earth) is pretty low resolution and blurry. (Yet just a little later in 02, they were almost as clear as today!)

At first I thought less development (and things like trees being way smaller) made the difference, but the quality itself is surprisingly much sharper on the old ones.

There's a few high quality 80s/90s ones (sometimes even in color), but were more of them blurry simply because it was in less demand before there was enough of a social, totally connected, high speed internet of the last few years?
Brett P. on Feb 7 2013 10:36PM #2

Cost is the primary reason. Flight height was often increased due to budget cuts by the government in the 1980's and 90's .

Jesse P. on Feb 8 2013 12:18AM #3
Thanks. It's interesting that the height level/quality actually regressed a bit, especially since the economy was thriving during most of that time too.
Devin L. on Feb 19 2013 9:34PM #4
The Contra Costa County 1946 pics are crisp and detailed, whereas the pics from 1993 are blurry and hard to make out. I guess small planes and b&w cameras are the way to go when it comes to aerial photos!
Jesse P. on Feb 27 2013 6:27AM #5
Yeah Devin, I've noticed that. I've explored all around the SF Bay Area. Surprisingly there's a 1987 one in color and pretty clear. The Denver area has '91 and the Phoenix area one from '93 that are also really good quality... so the technology did exist then, but maybe it just wasn't as widespread?
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