German Flown Foreign Aerial Photography in Record Group 373: Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency

The National Archives Cartographic Branch holds approximately 1.2 million aerial photographs taken by the German Luftwaffe during World War II. Commonly referred to as GX prints, these photographs are in the series German Flown Aerial Photographs, 1939 - 1945

Similar to other foreign photography, GX prints can be located using the Overlay Indexes for Aerial Photography. These overlay indexes are filed by degree square. To see if your degree square is available, you can enter it directly into the main search bar in our catalog as shown in the following examples. The latitude must be two digits and the longitude must be three digits. (Ex: 48N002E; 56N003W)

RG 373 GX Prints Catalog Search Main Page

RG 373 GX Prints Catalog Search Results

RG 373 GX Prints Catalog Search Overlays


To search for coverage using these index overlays, locate your area of interest on the map and place the overlays to line up the 30 minute line and corners to match the map. It can be helpful to place a sticky note on your computer screen on the area of interest on the map so that as you search through the overlays you can match up the area with available coverage.



Please note that while you can zoom in on the map to find a location, you must be zoomed out to the default scale (seen above) to have the map line up with the overlays.


RG 373 GX Prints Overlay Map Zoom


Each overlay represents a flight or part of a flight and each square on the overlays represents a single exposure.

The numbered squares on the overlay represent the individual exposure numbers within that GX box. The lines connecting the squares also represent photographs included in the box and can be used to estimate the number for a print within the range of exposures.

RG 373 GX Prints Overlay Zoom


The GX number is handwritten in the top left line labeled Orgn. And Sortie. German flown aerial prints will include either a GX, TUGX or DTGX number. The GX numbers are used to locate the specific box of photographic prints. Along with the GX number there is often a scale identifier, such as SD, SK or SG. These are also needed with the GX number to locate the photographs.

RG 373 GX Prints Overlay Info Zoom


To locate the photographs, you need a citation with the GX number, scale identifier and exposure number. Using this overlay as an example, a citation would look like the following:

GX 10476 SG, Exposure 54

Using this citation, you can request to view the box of photographs in the Cartographic Research Room. 

In addition to using the overlays to locate photographs, the Cartographic Research Room holds additional finding aids for GX prints related to Operation Dick Tracy. Occasionally the Dick Tracy, or DTGX, photographs are referenced in the overlays, but the additional finding aids provide extensive detail related to available coverage for these specific photographs.

Once you access the box in our research room, you can take pictures of the photographs or scan them. We have aerial film scanners available. If you have a USB capable laptop, you can bring it to our research room and scan the photographs to your computer. You can learn more about aerial photography reproductions here.



NARA has a partnership with the National Collection of Aerial Photography, Scotland. The photographs scanned by NCAP are currently being added to the NARA Catalog and can be viewed via the series description.

You can view a related blog post on the Unwritten Record blog here: Researching Foreign Aerial Photography – Captured German Aerial Prints.

If you have any questions about researching or accessing these photographs, please contact the Cartographic Branch at