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CIA World Factbook Photos, Part 11: Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark

Posted by Laurie Frost on March 3, 2010

It’s been a long time since this blog’s last batch of pictures from the  CIA World Factbook. To review, the Factbook is a great source for public domain maps and pictures of flags, as well as information for nations of the world recognized by the US. For some countries, there are a handful of photographs as well.

Accompanying each photo thumbnail is this statement:

Factbook photos – obtained from a wide variety of sources – are in the public domain and are copyright free.

We’re heading into Europe, first flying over the glaciers and fjords of Greenland (below):

and then into Iceland, looking down on a caldera, or the crater resulting from a volcano’s cone collapsing:

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

The plains of Thingvellir, where Iceland’s republic was founded the in 930 and the Eurasian and  North American continental plates meet.

The City Hall (Radhus) in Oslo, Norway, is the site of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

Naeroy Fjord, Norway

Ice Hotel, Sweden

Admiralty House (built 1647-50),  Skeppsholmen,  Stockholm, Sweden.

Helsinki, Finland. In the center of the picture is Helsinki Cathedral, also pictured below.

 Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, where Hans Christian Andersen once lived.

Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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8 Responses to “CIA World Factbook Photos, Part 11: Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark”

  1. Nuje said

    Yes havealittletalk.

    Today, I will make a guess what frontal issue they may tell us if they will try to get more aerial photos and the like. It could be a research aimed to resolved the climate change issue. And you know, government sometimes create a chain of issues to come up something. I am not telling that I am against to the welfare they could bring to the country. I am just concerned what I have observed as of this days. It’s all about world dominance in politics and economy.

    I wonder if you can still agree to that opinion.

    • havealittletalk said

      The CIA is a government agency so it’s no secret it has a political agenda. The Factbook is not indicative of its operations. Perhaps it is a relic of the CIA’s original purpose: to collect information — I don’t know — but sharing info is not what the CIA is known for, to say the least, so the Factbook is an oddity.

      The extent of my knowledge about the CIA is this: it publishes a Factbook which is not restricted by copyright and thus you are free to use its maps or images of flags (and in a few cases, photos) of nations recognized by the US (no Tibet, no Taiwan).

  2. havealittletalk said

    I agreee. I think the pictures posted are essentially tourist shots, taken by employees posted overseas, not CIA photographers per se. The composition of most shots is aim-and-shoot. They are like vacation snapshots, but taken by people on the clock, traveling overseas. Probably a memo went round along the lines of — let’s add some pictures to the Factbook website. Anyone have some to share? — something like that. In fact, the pictures could have been taken by employees on leave. These people have no interest in holding on to the rights to the photos — they know they aren’t professional photographers.

    I agree too that since The Factbook’s audience is general, external to the agency, it is a compilation of facts already available publically. It seems to me like a world almanac, but with a political/economic slant, as you say.

  3. Nuje said

    I believe only those images that they believe for educational purposes were shared to the public. The real purpose to that relates to political issues next is economic issues and just hidden under educational purposes.

  4. havealittletalk said

    Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I should have qualified that statement. My intention was to say that unless otherwise noted, usually photos posted on the web taken by Federal employees in the course of their work are in the public domain. Although even that isn’t quite right: whether the photos are posted or not, they are PD. But in the context of this blog, I assume people are looking for downloadable images when they land here. And I have to add the usually because of some exceptions that really puzzle me, notably, images on the Smithsonian site. They have released some of these via Flick’r (I think) but by no means all. It’s on my to do list: to update myself on how that scene is playing out — it has puzzled others, believe me! And the NASA sites have some exceptions: the raw photos would be PD, but when they are enhanced and manipulated by non-Federal employees they may cease to be PD.

  5. RutFlek said

    Wow! thanks for the additional info.
    But the statement “There’s a wonderful policy in the US that photos taken by Federal employees in the course of their assigned work are public property — in the public domain — in the US.” I don’t believe that all US citizen will really learn or have a copy on every photos they’ve got.

  6. Nuje said

    You have a very nice post. And those pictures, beautiful.

    By the way, how are you related with the CIA Factbook? Did you just copy those photos or you’re the one taking that pictures?

    • havealittletalk said

      I’m not associated with the CIA Factbook at all. This blog is about sources of public domain images on the internet, and the CIA Factbook explicitly and unambiguously is. I’ve done so many posts from it because it isn’t easy to find public domain photos of sites outside the US. There’s a wonderful policy in the US that photos taken by Federal employees in the course of their assigned work are public property — in the public domain — in the US. I guess the idea is US citizens pay their salaries and pay for their supplies through taxes and so in essence we own their products. This is not the case in other nations. For example, in the UK the Crown, in effect the Queen, owns what its government employees do. This has become a matter for much debate, but at the moment, that is as it is, and even for these Factbook photos, while they are in the public domain in the US, whether someone in Europe could reproduce them is something I simply don’t know.

      Anyway, here is the extended answer to your question as stated on the CIA Factbook website:

      The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency for the use of US Government officials, and the style, format, coverage, and content are designed to meet their specific requirements. Information is provided by Antarctic Information Program (National Science Foundation), Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (Department of Defense), Bureau of the Census (Department of Commerce), Bureau of Labor Statistics (Department of Labor), Central Intelligence Agency, Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, Defense Intelligence Agency (Department of Defense), Department of Energy, Department of State, Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior), Maritime Administration (Department of Transportation), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Department of Defense), Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Department of Defense), Office of Insular Affairs (Department of the Interior), Office of Naval Intelligence (Department of Defense), US Board on Geographic Names (Department of the Interior), US Transportation Command (Department of Defense), Oil & Gas Journal, and other public and private sources.
      The Factbook is in the public domain. Accordingly, it may be copied freely without permission of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The official seal of the CIA, however, may NOT be copied without permission as required by the CIA Act of 1949 (50 U.S.C. section 403m). Misuse of the official seal of the CIA could result in civil and criminal penalties.

      Citation model:
      The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.

      There’s lot more than photos in the book — maps and flags and these pictures are just the images.

      And I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures!

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