mRNA localization is critical for eukaryotic cells and affects numerous transcripts, yet how cells regulate distribution of many mRNAs to their subcellular destinations is still unknown. We combined transcriptomics and systematic imaging to determine the tissue-specific expression and subcellular distribution of 5862 mRNAs during Drosophila oogenesis. mRNA localization is widespread in the ovary and detectable in all of its cell types-the somatic epithelial, the nurse cells, and the oocyte. Genes defined by a common RNA localization share distinct gene features and differ in expression level, 3'UTR length and sequence conservation from unlocalized mRNAs. Comparison of mRNA localizations in different contexts revealed that localization of individual mRNAs changes over time in the oocyte and between ovarian and embryonic cell types. This genome scale image-based resource (Dresden Ovary Table, DOT, http://tomancak-srv1.mpi-cbg.de/DOT/main.html) enables the transition from mechanistic dissection of singular mRNA localization events towards global understanding of how mRNAs transcribed in the nucleus distribute in cells.