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Find An Image!

Looking for free photographs to use in the classroom? All images produced or published by the USGS are in the public domain and can be freely used without permission*. Please acknowledge the USGS as the source.

Large Photograph Collections

USGS Multimedia Gallery
The most up-to-date repository for USGS photographs, videos, and podcasts. This only contains a small number of historical images, most of which are in the below Denver Photographic Library.

USGS on Flickr
Over 45 different albums with almost 1,000 public domain photos.

USGS Denver Photographic Library
Over 37,000 archived, high-resolution, historical photographs plus some special collections of recent photographs. Most are black and white but a small number are in color. This is an especially good place to find photos of glaciers, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and general geology.

Vascular Flora of Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Hundreds of high-resolution photographs of plants, birds, and insects; many of them common to other parts of the U.S.

Land Cover Trends Field Photo Map
Over 30,000 medium- to high-resolution geographically-referenced landscape photographs that are part of a United States Land Cover Trends project. Search by keyword or zoom in on locations.

Specialized Photograph Collections

Volcano Observatory Image Galleries
Links to images from all USGS volcano observatories plus a volcano photoglossary.

Images of Kilauea [Volcano] East Rift Zone Eruption, 1983-1993
Spectacular, high-resolution photographs that include fountaining lava and scientists at work (477 photographs).

Selected Images of the Pu'u 'O'o-Kupaianaha Eruption, 1983-1997
Extremely high-resolution photographs of eruptions and lava. There is some overlap with the above collection. (100 photographs).

Volcanoes of the Wrangell Mountains and Cook Inlet Region, Alaska--Selected Photographs
Photographs selected to portray Alaska’s volcanoes, eruptive activity, and the range of volcanic phenomena observed there.

Earthquake Photo Collections
Photographs from specific earthquakes in California, Alaska, Washington, and Turkey.

Geology of National Parks
Medium-resolution photographs that mostly depict geologic features on federal lands in the western United States. Images are in both 3D and standard format.

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal
Thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline. Currently only covers coastal California and Massachusetts, with aerial coastline images along parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the mid-Atlantic coasts.

Water Science Photos
Part of the Water Science School website, these low-resolution photos show examples of the different ways that water occurs in nature, how water is used, and how water is measured.

A glacier glossary with many low-resolution photographs of glaciers. More images are at the Repeat Photography website documenting the retreat of glaciers in Glacier National Park.

Energy Multimedia Gallery
Photographs of oil-producing geology in Alaska and Greenland; gas hydrate production and burning; hydraulic fracturing; and uranium production at Arizona's Kanab North Mine.

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Photo Gallery
A limited number of good quality photos of amphibians, birds, insects, mammals, and reptiles.

Bald Eagle Photographs
High-resolution images of eagles and nests in Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

Bee Photographs
Amazingly detailed, high-resolution close-ups of bees and related insect species from the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory.

Microbiology Image Gallery
Low-resolution photos of cyanobacteria plus other bacteria and microbes.

Planetary Image Facility

Aerial Photographs and Satellite Images

Aerial Photographs
Download air photos through EarthExplorer or the more user-friendly (but less flexible) GloVis. This includes aerial photography dating back to 1931 and more recent orthoimagery (geometrically corrected aerial photographs).

Satellite Images - Easy Access and Low-Tech
  • LandsatLook - Simulated natural color images in JPEG format. No specialized software or technical expertise is required.
  • EROS Image Gallery - Very high resolution satellite images of artistic scenes from around the globe plus satellite mosaics of each U.S. state.
  • Landsat Image Gallery - High-resolution, pre-made posters with satellite images and informative text describing notable events, features, and cities.
  • Land Remote Sensing Image Collections - Before/after satellite images from around the globe showing changes in the Earth's surface. Download low-resolution or medium-resolution images.
  • Earthshots - Satellite images that track progressive changes in the Earth's surface at locations around the globe. High-resolution images come with detailed explanations and references.
Satellite Images - Full Data Sets
Download satellite images using EarthExplorer or GloVis (a simpler interface). The USGS controls the Landsat satellite and distributes additional imagery from other satellites. Imagery dates 1972-present. Within GloVis, the TerraLook image collections are in simulated natural color and JPEG format.

Additional Sources of Geospatial Data

* The USGS does have some copyrighted images in our products and on our websites that we are using with permission from the owners. Those copyrighted images should be clearly marked.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 02-May-2017 15:51:39 EDT