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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Maps Guide (Mary T Dooley Map Library): Aerial Photos

A guide to the cartographic materials of Memorial Library at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Minnesota County Air Photos

The Minnesota County Air Photos cover a time range from the 1930s to the 1970s. The library does not cover all counties over all years. To identify the holdings that the library has, please see the table in the right-hand column of this page. 

The Air Photos Indexes contain master images overlapping the aerial photos into a complete picture of a county. Indexes are not available for all of the years; the ones that the library has are indicated on the county index folders. 

Steps to Locate Aerial Photographs with Indexes

  1. Determine in what county the desired area is located. 
  2. Locate the folder of photo mosaic indexes and maps for this county. Together these form a visual key. 
  3. Each county map represents one set (year) of air photos. Choose one year. 
  4. Assemble the index mosaic for that year. Each piece is numbered and has an assembly diagram on the edge. 
  5. Locate the desired area on the county map for the chosen year. 
  6. Locate the same area on the index mosaic for that year. 
  7. Copy down the alphanumeric codes surrounding the desired area. There will be more than one set of numbers. You need all of them. 
  8. Air photos overlap front to back and side to side.  Each string of numbers and letters refers to one photo. 
  9. In the air photo cabinets, locate the appropriate county and year. 
  10. The folders are arranged sequentially by the alphanumeric photo codes.  
  11. Locate the appropriate folder and photos. 
  12. Repeat the above procedure for each year and area. 

Air Photo Indexes


There are two stacked map cases that house air photo indexes for the Minnesota County Air Photos and the aerial photography of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. They are located to the right of the Air Photos cabinets. 

Two sets of regional aerial photographs have Google Maps indexes available for finding individual photographs. Use the links below to access the indexes. Individual pins represent physical aerial photos housed in our collection. Click on the desired pin and record the photo number.

1938-39 Blue Earth County (BIP)

1950 Blue Earth County (BIP)




Large Format Blue Earth County Air Photos, 1958 & 1964


The Large Format Blue Earth County Air Photos are located in this cabinet. They are specifically for the years of 1958 and 1964.







Sidwell Maps

Sidwell Maps for Blue Earth County are located in a specific map case. This is a fourteen volume set found under the call number: G4143.B6 2006 .S5 in the online card catalog. 










MNDOT Aerial Photos and California Infrared Aerial Photos

Aerial photography is used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to document and analyze the construction of major roads and highways and also to assist in cartography. The index to the collection is located in the lower map case of the Air Photos Index.

In the light tan file cabinet at the end, there are rolls of infrared film from the Department of Water Resources in California. They are film positives that can be viewed using a backlit light source. The library has a light table on the eastern wall of the Maps Area that works adequately for this. The area of coverage includes California and some parts of Arizona and Nevada. 


Digitized Mankato Aerial Photo Sets

Memorial Library has digitized two unique sets of of Aerial Photographs of the Mankato Area. One set is from 1959 and was flown at a low altitude, providing greater detail than other photo sets of the area. The second set was flown in 1967.

Minnesota County Air Photo Codes

Codes followed by an asterisk(*) have indexes for years shown

Benton BIN
Big Stone BIO
Blue Earth BIP * 64, 71
Brown BIQ * 67, 68
Chippewa BIR * 61
Chisago BIS *65
Cottonwood BIT * 58, 64
Dakota WK
Dodge WC * 64
Faribault BIV * 68
Filmore VZ * 68
Freeborn VX * 68
Goodhue WH * 64
Grant BIW
Hennepin WN * 69
Houston WA * 68
Hubbard BXU
Isanti BIX * 65
Itasca CIP
Jackson BIY * 68
Kanabec BXV * 65
Kandiyohi BIZ * 70
Kittson BXW * 58
Koochiching CIO
Lac Qui Parle BJA * 67, 68
Le Sueur WF * 64
Mahnomen BXX
Marshall BXY * 39, 58
Martin BJD * 68
McLeod WL * 61
Meeker BJE
Mille Lacs BXZ * 65
Morrison BYA * 69
Mower VY * 68
Murray BJF * 68
Nicollet BJG * 67, 68
Nobles BJH * 68
Olmsted WB * 64
Otter Tail DA * 69
Pipestone BJI * 68
Polk BYE
Ramsey WO * 37, 53, 57
Redwood BSE * 67, 68
Renville BJK * 61
Rice WG * 64, 70
Rock DG * 68
Roseau BYG
St. Louis CIR
Scott WJ
Sherburne BJL
Sibley BJM * 38, 64
Stearns BJN * 65
Steele WD * 64
Stevens BJO * 38, 67, 68
Swift BJP * 38, 67, 68
Todd BYH * 69
Wabasha WI * 64
Wadena BYI
Waseca WE * 38, 56, 64
Washington CZ * 36, 57
Watonwan BJR * 64
Wilkins BYJ * 39
Winona CS * 68
Wright WP * 53, 57, 70
Yellow Medicine BJS * 67

Web Resources for Aerial Photos

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