Decades of Central Okanagan change viewable online

Aerial maps from 1950s to 1990s have been digitized and put online.

With the swipe of a divider across an online map, you can compare parts of the Central Okanagan in the early 1950s with today. Thanks to the latest GIS and other computer technology, some old aerial photographs of many parts of the region have been melded into a new map available through the RDCO website GIS mapping system.

GIS analyst Dave Orlando says, “Many of these older air map photos taken from the early 50s through the 90s were sitting unused and inaccessible. It took some time to categorize and digitalize the individual map photos, stitching them together as best we could. Then using today’s GIS technology we created an online map that people can use to view parts of the region dating back to 1951. By making them accessible to everyone online, we’ve given them a new life.”

Some of the map features relate specifically to special projects that were done over the years like the Highway 97 completion project in Kelowna in 1964 and the shoreline aerial mapping of Okanagan, Kalamalka and Wood Lakes in 1973.

“We were also able to add some points of interest” Orlando adds, “depicted by digital push pins on the maps that provide viewers with links to sidebar information and photos which highlight some historical references throughout the region.”  Examples include the old Kelowna Waterfront Aquatic Centre and Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge toll booth.

To assist those viewing the Historical Air Photos map feature, a frequently asked questions section is available.  You can view the new online map at www.regionaldistrict.com/GIS.