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Map Layers:
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CORONA is the codename for the United States’ first photographic spy satellite mission, in operation from 1960-1972. During that time, CORONA satellites took high-resolution images of most of the earth’s surface, with particular emphasis on Soviet bloc countries and other political hotspots in order to monitor military sites and produce maps for the Department of Defense. The more than 800,000 images collected by the CORONA missions remained classified until 1995 when an executive order by President Bill Clinton made them publicly available through the US Geological Survey. Because CORONA images preserve a high-resolution picture of the world as it existed in the 1960s, they constitute a unique resource for researchers and scientists studying environmental change, agriculture, geomorphology, archaeology and other fields.

Optimum Viewing

The CORONA Atlas is best viewed at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 or higher. According to our testing, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 & 9, and Google Chrome display the Atlas correctly. There appear to be some problems when using Internet Explorer 7, it is recommended to upgrade your browser. Internet Explorer 6 does not function properly with this website.

Basic Navigation
  • Zoom In to an area by double-clicking the mouse or holding the shift key while drawing a box.
  • Zoom In/Out using the mouse scroll wheel.
  • Move/Pan around the map by holding the left mouse button while dragging.
  • Zoom to Default view by clicking the button in the Map Contents menu.
  • Bookmarking is possible in the Atlas. Use browser capabilities for saving specific locations.
Map Layer Visibility

At the default zoom level of the atlas, basic outlines representing the footprints for available CORONA images are displayed. As users zoom in to a larger scale, the CORONA images and archaeological sites become viewable.

Map Contents Menu

Map layers can be toggled using the Map Contents menu. Some map layers are expandable, allowing sub-layers to be turned on or off. Use the plus sign(+) next to a layer to access sub-layers. Use the blue down-arrow next to an image to download the source data.
Map Layers

Map layers include populated places in the Middle East, and modern political boundaries between countries. These layers help users to navigate in the area, and can be turned off at will.

Footprints Layer

Footprints layer contains the area covered by CORONA images. At lower scales, image footprints are merged to depict separate CORONA missions for easier viewing. In higher scales, users can investigate individual footprints and turn them on and off when navigating through these images. Footprint locations and coverage are estimated via photogrammetrical methods; they are accurate representations of image areas mapped on the ground in bowtie shapes.