NOTE: This is an older version of the Keyhole visualization. Version 2.0 can be found here.
An experimental visualization of ground swath coverage from declassified spy satellite imagery.
The ground swaths shown here are derived from over 1.3 million images taken by U.S. spy satellites between 1960 to 1984. This imagery, from the KH-1 CORONA through KH-9 HEXAGON satellite programs, was declassified starting in 1995. It does not include any KH-8 GAMBIT-3 imagery, which remains classified.
Executive Order 12951 (February 22, 1995): "Imagery acquired by the space-based national intelligence reconnaissance systems known as the Corona, Argon and Lanyard missions shall, within 18 months of the date of this order, be declassified and transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration with a copy sent to the United States Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior consistent with procedures approved by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Archivist of the United States. Upon transfer, such imagery shall be deemed declassified and shall be made available to the public."
Imagery and metadata are hosted by the USGS at the following datasets:
Swath geometries are generated from the corner coordinates of an image and should be considered a rough estimate of actual imagery coverage. Swaths are styled according to estimates of the imagery's ground resolution.
Swath geometries are aggregated by mission and can be filtered either by a mission designator or ground resolution. Individual ground swaths are outlined when a specific mission is selected, and are also highlighted if an image is available to download from the USGS (as of June 2022).
To browse, order or download actual imagery from these declassified datasets, check out the USGS EarthExplorer tool here.
Hint: You can also click on a highlighted image swath and then open the USGS EarthExplorer metadata page for that image.