25 Breathtaking Overview Aerial Photos That Will Blow Your Mind

Posted by , Updated on November 16, 2022

Inspired by the “Overview Effect” – a sensation that astronauts experience when given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth from space – the breathtaking, high definition satellite photographs found in the book, Overview: A New Perspective by Benjamin Grant offer a new and stunning way to look at our world. On this list you will see a sample of some of the most incredible satellite photos from the overview project: patterns and colors you would have never guessed were even possible. Check out these 25 breathtaking Overview aerial photos that will blow your mind!

PS: If you want to see the full incredible collection by Benjamin Grant, be sure to buy his book: Overview: A New Perspective.


Nishinoshima Volcanic Acitivity | South of Tokyo, Japan

NISHINOSHIMA VOLCANIC ACTIVITY Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 km (584 mi) south of Tokyo, Japan. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015. Over the course of the eruption, the area of the island grew in size from 0.06 sq km (0.02 sq mi) to 2.3 sq km (0.89 sq mi).


Southern California Logistics Airport Graveyard | Victorville, California, USA

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOGISTICS AIRPORT GRAVEYARD Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, USA contains an aircraft boneyard with more than 150 retired planes. Because the demand for jumbo jets has dropped significantly in the last two decades in favor of smaller, more affordable twin-engine planes, many large aircrafts such as Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s have been retired. The dry conditions in Victorville – located on the edge of the Mojave Desert – limits the corrosion of metal, meaning planes can be stored here for years while they are stripped for spare parts.


The Empty Quarter | Saudi Arabia (shown)

THE EMPTY QUARTER Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Rub’ al Khali, or The Empty Quarter, is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers 650,000 sq km (251,000 sq mi), and includes parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. In the centre of the desert there are a number of raised, hardened formations that were once the sites of shallow lakes, thousands of years ago. For a sense of scale, this Overview shows approximately 350 sq km (135 sq mi) in Saudi Arabia, near the border with Oman.


Central Park | New York City, New York, USA

CENTRAL PARKSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Central Park in New York City, USA spans 341 ha (843 ac), which is 6% of the island of Manhattan. One of the most influential innovations in the park’s design was its ‘separate circulation systems’ for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, and cars. The park contains numerous tennis courts and baseball fields, an ice-skating rink, and a swimming pool. It also serves as the finish line for the New York City Marathon and New York City Triathlon.


Tulips | Lisse, Netherlands

TULIPSSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Every year, tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands begin to bloom in March and are in peak bloom by late April. The Dutch produce a total of 4.3 billion tulip bulbs each year, of which 53% (2.3 billion) is grown into cut flowers. Of these, 1.3 billion are sold in the Netherlands as cut flowers and the remainder is exported: 630 million bulbs to Europe and 370 million elsewhere.


Shadegan Lagoon | Iran

SHADEGAN LAGOON Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Dendritic drainage systems are seen around the Shadegan Lagoon by Musa Bay in Iran. The word ‘dendritic’ refers to the pools’ resemblance to the branches of a tree, and this pattern develops when streams move across relatively flat and uniform rocks, or over a surface that resists erosion.


Eixample | Barcelona, Spain

EIXAMPLE Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The Eixample District in Barcelona, Spain is characterized by its strict grid pattern and apartments with communal courtyards. This thoughtful and visionary design was the work of Ildefons Cerdà (1815–1876). His plan features broad streets that widen at octagonal intersections to create greater visibility with increased sunlight, better ventilation, and more space for short-term parking.


Angkor Wat | Cambodia

ANGKOR WATSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Angkor Wat, a temple complex in Cambodia, is the largest religious monument in the world (first it was Hindu, then Buddhist). Constructed in the twelfth century, the 820,000 sq m (8.8 million sq ft) site features a moat and forest that harmoniously surround a massive temple at its centre.


Olives | Córdoba, Spain

OLIVES Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Olive tree groves cover the hills of Córdoba, Spain. Approximately 90% of all harvested olives are turned into oil; the remaining 10% are eaten as table olives. With rising temperatures and phenomenal weather variations in growing regions, olive groves on high hills or slopes will probably suffer less, but groves located on low altitude areas or plains could become totally unproductive.


Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant | Seville, Spain

GEMASOLAR THERMOSOLAR PLANT Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

This Overview captures the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain. The solar concentrator contains 2,650 heliostat mirrors that focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through a 140-m-tall (460-ft) central tower. The molten salt then circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity. In total, the facility displaces approximately 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.


Dadaab Refugee Camp | Northern Kenya

DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Hagadera, seen here on the right, is the largest section of the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya and is home to 100,000 refugees. To cope with the growing number of displaced Somalis arriving at Dadaab, the UN has begun moving people into a new area called the LFO extension, seen here on the left. Dadaab is the largest refugee camp in the world with an estimated total population of 400,000.


Ipanema Beach | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

IPANEMA BEACHSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Ipanema Beach is located in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the sand is divided into segments by lifeguard towers known as ‘postos’.


Jacksonville Interchange | Jacksonville, Florida, USA

JACKSONVILLE INTERCHANGE Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

A turbine interchange connects two highways in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. This structure consists of left-turning ramps sweeping around a centre interchange, thereby creating a spiral pattern of right-hand traffic.


Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport | Texas, USA

DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport stretches across 70 sq km (27 sq mi) in Texas, USA. The facility is the tenth busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, accommodating more than 64 million passengers each year.


Port Of Antwerp | Belgium

PORT OF ANTWERP Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The Port of Antwerp in Belgium is the second largest port in Europe, behind the Port of Rotterdam. Over the course of a year, the port handles more than 71,000 vessels and 314 million tons of cargo. That weight is roughly equal to 68% of the mass of all living humans on the planet.


Iron Ore Mine Tailings Pond | Negaunee, Michigan, USA

IRON ORE MINE TAILINGS PONDSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Tailings are the waste and by-products generated by mining operations. The tailings seen here were pumped into the Gribbens Basin, next to the Empire and Tilden Iron Ore Mines in Negaunee, Michigan, USA. Once the materials are pumped into the pond, they are mixed with water to create a sloppy form of mud known as slurry. The slurry is then pumped through magnetic separation chambers to extract usable ore and increase the mine’s total output. For a sense of scale, this Overview shows approximately 2.5 sq km (1 sq mi) of the basin.


Burning Man | Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA

BURNING MAN Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Burning Man is a week-long, annual event held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, USA. Drawing more than 65,000 participants each year, the event is described as an experiment in community, art, self-expression, and radical self-reliance.


Port of Singapore | Singapore

PORT OF SINGAPORESource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Cargo ships and tankers – some weighing up to 300,000 tons – wait outside the entry to the Port of Singapore. The facility is the world’s second-busiest port in terms of total tonnage, shipping a fifth of the world’s cargo containers and half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil.


Sun Lakes | Sun Lakes, Arizona, USA

SUN LAKESSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Sun Lakes, Arizona, USA is a planned community with a population of approximately 14,000 residents, most of whom are senior citizens. According to US census data, only 0.1% of the community’s 6,683 households are home to children under the age of 18.


Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Aircraft Boneyard | Tucson, Arizona, USA

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE AIRCRAFT BONEYARD Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world is located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, USA. The boneyard – run by the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group – contains more than 4,400 retired American military and government aircrafts.


Delray Beach | Delray Beach, Florida, USA

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDASource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Because many cities in the American state of Florida contain master-planned communities, often built on top of waterways in the latter half of the twentieth century, there are a number of intricate designs that are visible from the Overview perspective. One particular neighborhood in Delray Beach is seen here.


Lake Oroville Houseboats | Yuba County, California, USA

LAKE OROVILLE HOUSEBOATSSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Moored houseboats float peacefully on the New Bullards Bar Reservoir in Yuba County, California, USA. Due to a severe drought that has hit the state over the past four years, there is less space to anchor on the lake and many houseboats have been moved to a nearby onshore storage area.


Marabe Al Dhafra | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

MARABE AL DHAFRA Source and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The villas of Marabe Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates are home to approximately 2,000 people. Located in one of the hottest regions of the world, the record high temperature here is 49.2°C (120.6°F).


Arlit Uranium Mine | Arlit, Niger

ARLIT URANIUM MINESource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

The Arlit Uranium Mine is located in Arlit, Niger. French nuclear power generation, as well as the French nuclear weapons program, are both dependent on the uranium that is extracted from the mine – more than 3,400 tons per year.


Moab Potash Evaporation Ponds | Moab, Utah, USA

MOAB POTASH EVAPORATION PONDSSource and image: ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe

Evaporation ponds are visible at the potash mine in Moab, Utah, USA. The mine produces muriate of potash, a potassium-containing salt that is a major component in fertilizers. The salt is pumped to the surface from underground brines and dried in massive solar ponds that vibrantly extend across the landscape. As the water evaporates over the course of 300 days, the salts crystallize out. The colors that are seen here occur because the water is dyed a deep blue, as darker water absorbs more sunlight and heat, thereby reducing the amount of time it takes for the water to evaporate and the potash to crystallize.

All images are copyrighted by ©BenjaminGrant / ©DigitalGlobe and are used here with permission. You can find the full collection in the book Overview: A New Perspective by Benjamin Grant.

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