Natural Environment Research Council

  • Scope and Contents: 27,356 vertical aerial photographs covering locations throughout the UK, Norway, Spain and Italy.
  • Conditions Governing Access: Open. Accessible on the NCAP website and via the Paid Search service.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) collection contains over 27,300 aerial photographs of locations in the UK, Greece, Italy, Norway and Spain. Dating from 1981-2005, the photography was taken on behalf of the British Geological Survey (BGS) to assist its research programmes.


Initially, commercial survey firms including Hunting Surveys Ltd and J A Storey Ltd were contracted to collect imagery, until NERC acquired its own survey capability in 1983. Known as the Airborne Research and Survey Facility (ARSF), the aircraft carried a variety of multi-spectral sensors to enable it to collect data for a multitude of environmental research projects.


York, England, on 02 February 1995, showing the River Ouse in flood. The ARSF carried out an aerial survey of the Rivers Ouse, Aire and Wharfe on that date, following widespread flooding of each river course.

The snouts of the Gullfaksebreen and Rimfaksebreen glaciers, Svalbard, photographed on 17 July 2005.


The ARSF was transferred to the management of the British Antarctic Survey in 2014, and subsequently to the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements. The ARSF film archive was held by BGS until 2015 when it was transferred to the care of NCAP.


View online images from the NERC Collection