Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC) - Scotland imagery

Scope and Content

Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) vertical and oblique aerial imagery of locations throughout Scotland and associated sortie plots.

Administrative / Biographical History

Following the end of the Second World War, the Central Interpretation Unit was placed under the control of the newly established Central Photographic Establishment of Coastal Command. In August 1947 the unit's name was changed yet again, this time to the Joint Air Photographic Intelligence Centre (UK) - (JAPIC (UK)). In October 1947, APIC (UK) was renamed the Army Photographic Interpretation Unit (UK), (APIU (UK)), and although it continued to operate within JAPIC (UK), had special responsibilities to the Director of Military Intelligence. The Officer Commanding APIU (UK) was also deputy commandant of JAPIC (UK). In March 1950 the Central Photographic Establishment was disbanded and administrative control of JAPIC (UK) was transferred to HQ No 3 Group, Bomber Command, with Intelligence Control exercised by the Air Ministry. In December 1953, the unit was given the title of the Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (United Kingdom), (JARIC (UK)). The personnel of APIU (UK) were absorbed into the establishment of this Joint Service Unit.

On 19 April 1996 the unit ceased to fall under operational control of the Royal Air Force and became an agency under the operational control of the Director General Intelligence and Geographic Requirements (now Director General Intelligence Collection), taking a more centralised government role within the Ministry of Defence. On 1 April 2000 the unit stopped functioning as an independent agency and merged with Military Survey into the Defence Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency (DGIA). On 10 June 2006, DGI (as it became after agency status was removed) was renamed the Intelligence Collection Group (ICG) comprising the Defence Geographic Centre (DGC) based at Feltham, Middlesex, The Joint Signals Support Organisation (JSSO), based at RAF Digby, the Joint Aeronautical and Geographic Organisation (JAGO) at Hermitage and RAF Northolt and JARIC based at RAF Brampton.

JARIC is today the prime provider of imagery intelligence and the UKs only Satellite Imagery Exploitation Unit. Although initially established to provide strategic intelligence for the needs of the British Government, its role has evolved from the more traditional photographic analysis to encompass more technical intelligence disciplines such as:

  • IMINT (IMagery INTelligence). IMINT is an intelligence gathering discipline which collects information via satellite and aerial photography. JARIC is involved in all aspects of imagery analysis from basic activity reporting to advanced scientific-based MASINT analysis.

  • MASINT (Measurement And Signature INTelligence). MASINT is scientific and technical intelligence derived from the analysis of data obtained from sensing instruments for the purpose of identifying any distinctive features associated with the source, emitter or sender, to facilitate the latters measurement and identification. JARIC is the UKs only provider of imagery derived MASINT otherwise known as AGI or Advanced Geospatial Intelligence.

  • GEOINT (GEOspatial INTelligence). GEOINT is an intelligence discipline comprising the exploitation and analysis of geographically determined information. GEOINT sources include imagery and mapping data, whether collected by commercial or military satellites, or by other capabilities such as UAV (Unmanned Airborne Vehicle) or reconnaissance aircraft.

Access Information

Open. Accessible via search room and Paid Search Service.

Other Finding Aids

GIS catalogue in search room provides access to digital copies of sortie plots.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Aerial film and sortie plots on paper/acetate.

Conditions Governing Use

Crown copyright applies to some imagery. Standard RCAHMS licence terms for use apply.

Custodial History

Following declassification by JARIC the imagery was transferred to the Scottish Office. Within the Scottish Office it was held by the Scottish Development Department (SDD) Air Photographs Unit. The collection was transferred to RCAHMS in 1993. JARIC now transfers declassified aerial imagery of Scotland directly to RCAHMS.

Related Material

JARIC declassified aerial imagery of England and Wales is held by:

  • English Heritage Archives, The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, SWINDON, Wiltshire, SN2 2GZ. Tel: 01793 414600, E-mail:

  • RCAHMW, Plas Crug, ABERYSTWYTH, Ceredigion, SY23 1NJ. Tel: 01970 621200, E-mail:

  • Central Register of Air Photography for Wales, Welsh Assembly Government, Room G-003, Crown Offices, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF1 3NQ. Tel: 029 20 823815, E-mail:

Geographical Names