The Navy’s Project Birdseye Reports and Aerial Photographs

From the early 1960s through the mid 1980s, the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office and later the Naval Research Laboratory conducted approximately nine missions per year over arctic sea ice in order to improve techniques for ice observation, refine forecasting techniques, collect data for military Arctic operations, and support U.S. Navy submarines during under-ice operations.  Aerial photography from these flights was preserved on film.  NSIDC acquired the film canisters in 1996, but it was not until 2010 that some of the film was digitized (scanned) through the NOAA Climate Database Modernization Program.   In 2013, the NOAA@NSIDC team worked with MLS graduate student Brian Zelip to supplement and document the photograph collection.  Finally, in 2014, a portion of the historic collection has been released online as a NOAA@NSIDC data set, while the entire set of 99 film canisters resides, for now, with other analog data at NSIDC.  In addition to scans of film from seven canisters, the online data set includes 74 Project Birdseye reports from the Naval Oceanographic Office, and a bibliography of related publications that will assist those researching Navy oceanography or using data from this historic collection.   To learn more about the project and to access these data, please visit the Project Birdseye Aerial Photograph Collection: Digital and Analog Materials web page.

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