Historical orthophotos

Historical orthophotos are produced from older aerial photographs. The images are scanned and with support by data from an elevation model geometrically projected into an orthogonal map projection. The product name in Swedish is Historiska ortofoton. The product name in Swedish is Ortofoto historiska Nedladdning.

About this product

Since there are not enough aerial photographs from one and the same year to cover entire Sweden, we use the term reference year. Reference year 1960 contains a layer of orthophotos from years as close to 1960 as possible in order to obtain national coverage, hence it consists of orthophotos from 1949 to 1970. Reference year 1975 is under construction and will consist of orthophotos mainly from the 1970’s and 1980’s. There are also a large number of orthophotos from the years between 1993 and 2005 available.

These historical orthophotos can, for example, be used for:

  • monitoring of changes in vegetation and built-up areas
  • identification of old property boundaries that are no longer maintained in forests
  • locating old landfills of hazardous materials around industries and other potential and now invisible environmental risks
  • material as a basis for restoration of wetlands

Maintenance and update frequency

Our analogue image archive contains about 1,2 million aerial photography as well as many aerial photographs on paper and microfilm. We work continuously to scan these images, determine their geographical positions and thereby enable creation of digital historical orthophotos over the country. The goal is to create nationwide coverage from different reference years.

A nationwide coverage of orthophotos, in black and white with a resolution of 0,5 m, from aerial photographs taken between 1949 and 1970 is available (Reference year 1960). Work is ongoing for creation of a nationwide coverage of orthophotos, in black and white with a resolution of 0,5 m, from aerial photographs mainly from the 1970’s and 1980’s (Reference year 1975). There are also a large number of orthophotos from 1993-2005 available; black and white orthophotos with a resolution of 1 m and orthophotos in colour (only 2002-2005) and IR (only 2003-2005) with a resolution of 0,5 m.


For a more detailed description of the content, see the product descriptions in English or Swedish:

Delivery format

Historical orthophotos are delivered in LZW compressed GeoTIFF or JPEG format and we always attach separate WORLD files. The orthophotos can be delivered in the reference system SWEREF 99 TM as well as in local SWEREF zones.

Files in the delivery

The file name for a 5 x 5 km square consists of the square name according to the index system, followed by the image acquisition year with four digits.

Files delivered in SWEREF local zones are named with a zone prefix first in the file name, e.g. 1200_.

In case the orthophoto consists of images from different years, it is always the year that the main part of the area consists of that is shown in the file name.

To each image file a coordinate file for georeferencing the image is delivered. Files with the extension .tfw and .tab are examples of such files.

Files in the delivery
File name (5x5km) Content
673_59_05_1961.tif Image in LZW compressed GeoTIFF format. When delivered in JPEG format, the file has the extension .jpg
673_59_05_1961.tfw WORLD (coordinate information) file for TIFF format. For JPEG format he file has the extension .jgw
673_59_05_1961.tab Coordinate information specific to MapInfo. Attached independently of the choice of delivery format.
mosaik.vrt Creates a virtual mosaic of all orthophotos in the delivery.

Average file size in the LZW compressed GeoTIFF format, the file size can however vary between different images: 

  • b/w with 0,5 m resolution = 85 MB

Delivery information

An orthophoto consists of one file for each 5x5 km square adapted to the national reference system SWEREF 99 TM. However, deliveries can also be made in SWEREF 99 local zones. 

Historical orthophotos are delivered in b/w with the resolution 0,5 m.

Meta data

The metadata file attached to each orthophoto, including those adapted to a coordinate system chosen by the customer, show which orthophotos they are compiled from and their coverage, and information about the included aerial photographs.

Meta data
File name (example 5x5 km) Content
673_59_05_flygbild_1961.json Metadata for the images included in the orthophoto, the coverage of each image is shown as polygons.
673_59_05_ortofoto_1961.json Metadata for the orthophoto itself.
673_59_05_uttag_1961.json Metadata for the entire delivery.

Search Service

In GeoLex (opens in new window), you will find information regarding metadata for aerial photographs and orthophotos.

Order product

The product is provided as open data. Place your order in Geotorget Order.

The license and what it means

Our open spatial data is available under the open data license Creative Commons, (CC0). The license means that you may use, distribute, redo, modify and build on Lantmäteriet's open data.

This also applies in commercial contexts without any restrictions. Feel free to list Lantmäteriet as the source when you disseminate our open data, but this is not a requirement.

Terms for Creative Commons, website (new window)

Contents of this page may be automatically translated, we take no responsibility for the accuracy of the translation. Feel free to contact our customer support centre if you have any questions.

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