Douglas Powell
The Western Montana Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Douglas R. Powell - geographer, mountaineer, scholar, teacher, and mentor to thousands of students who attended the University of California - Berkeley, Sonoma State University, San Francisco State University, and Deep Springs College. While at Berkeley during the 1960s, Doug began leading a series of memorable field classes for undergraduate geography students into the Sierra Nevada, Owens Valley, and White Mountains. He, the land, and the people he introduced his students to were unforgetable. Doug's life was one dedicated to education and wilderness. It is hard to imagine him being happy anywhere other than in a classroom or in his beloved mountains. He is missed by all who knew him.

Douglas R. Powell (November 5, 1920 - January 23, 2006)

Welcome to the
Western Montana Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images, one of a series of collections of photorealistic aerial views created by Dr. William A. Bowen, professor emeritus of the Department of Geography at California State University Northridge. The atlas contains 655 computer generated panoramas that portray every square foot of the state's western counties. Seeing the Earth from a high place allows us to grasp quickly the essential geography of vast regions that eludes those who are earth bound. Most of these panoramas were created from a virtual elevation of 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) above sea level with a virtual 35 mm camera equipped with a 22 mm lens. Normally the vistas encompass more than a thousand square miles (259,000 hectares) of the earth's surface.

Because of our lack of geographic experience and the unusual perspectives offered by this atlas, I recommend that users acquire a copy of a detailed state atlas such as those published by
Benchmark Maps and DeLorme. These may be purchased from your local bookseller,, or any one of many other dealers. Equipped with such a reference, atlas users will be able to orient themselves better and identify all manner of detail.

One of the unfortunate realities of Web publications is that every user's computer screen will render the panoramas differently. Serious users may need to download the images and modify their color balance using their own software. The pictures are best viewed on a large monitor.

It is hoped that these unique aerial views will provide a new and valuable resource for those who seek to understand better the character of Western Montana's many landscapes and the people who occupy them. Other atlases in the Survey's
Electronic Map Library cover the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Western Montana, Utah, and Washington. Future publications will include Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. In addition, a general World Atlas is under development continuously.

The California Geographical Survey is a creation of Dr. William A. Bowen, professor of geography emeritus, and formerly a long-time member of the California State University, Northridge faculty. The Survey operates for the benefit of the students and faculty throughout the world. It is the California Geographical Survey's intention to provide a variety of important geographic resources to the entire Internet community.

The materials of the California Geographical Survey ( are available without restrictions to scholars for non-profit, classroom use. Individual students and teachers everywhere throughout the world are specifically granted the right to use all materials for class assignments and lectures. Other persons should be aware that the original works contained within this geographic archive are copyrighted and the sole property of Dr. William A. Bowen. Commercial use of such copyrighted materials without the permission of the owner is strictly forbidden. In some cases, the author may extend additional legal rights to specific individuals and groups when he deems it to be in the public interest. Dr. Bowen's work is not funded by any government agency or private sponsor. His work is not in the public domain. Every item is copyrighted and is distributed with the clear understanding that its use for commercial and non-commercial purposes outside of public classrooms is forbidden without his expressed approval. Please contact Dr. Bowen for additional information concerning copyright issues and commercial projects.

Bill lives in Roseville, California, far from the university he served for thirty-four years. Bill was educated as a geographer at U.C. Berkeley. He was privileged to have taken courses from Professors Clarence Glacken, John Kesseli, Ted Oberlander,
James Parsons, Carl Sauer, Hilgard Sternberg, James Vance, Gunther Barth, Peter Birkeland, J. B. Jackson, and George Stewart. He joined the faculty at California State University, Northridge in 1970 and taught there until his retirement in 2004. Several years before his retirement, he decided to create the California Geographical Survey as a tool for better communicating his ideas and maps to students and other explorers who frequent the Web. He continues his work today at home, in a closet that contains two high-speed Macintosh computers.

Although educated as a cultural geographer and physical geographer in the Sauerian tradition, he has always been fascinated with maps. This evolving collection of photorealistic, panoramic maps of the earth's landscapes can be traced to an undergraduate map reading course taught by Professor John E. Kesseli in 1962 and a cartography course taught by Professor Ted Oberlander in the Spring of 1963. He is forever in the debt of these fine scholars and the many other teachers who touched his life.