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Dr. Mary T. Dooley Map Library: Aerial Photography

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

Digitized Air Photos

The Digital Map Library features three air photo collections: The Greater Mankato Area Air Photo Collection, National Aerial Photography Program (NAPP) Air Photo Collection, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District 7 Air Photo Collection.

The Greater Mankato Area Air Photo Collection is two unique sets of air photos from 1959 and 1967. The set from 1959 was flown at a low altitude, providing greater detail than other photo sets of the area. The second set was flown in 1967. 

The NAPP Air Photo Collection was coordinated by the USGS to acquire black and white or color infrared air photos of the 48 contiguous states. In Minnesota, aerial imagery was collected from 1991-1992 and 1996-1998. The air photos have a scale of 1:40,000 and were taken at 20,000 feet above mean terrain with a 6-inch focal length lens. The flight lines follow a north-south direction. Our digitized air photos are from 1992 and capture parts of Blue Earth County, Le Sueur County, and Nicollet County. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) District 7 Air Photo Collection is from 1957 – 2006. District 7 is in South Central Minnesota and serves 13 rural counties. These aerial photographs were used for planning road, bridge, and truck station construction, along with assessing flood areas and wetlands. This collection of over 27,000 air photos is in the process of being digitized. For information on our workflow, please see the document below.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation also donated scrapbooks of the April 1965 Flood. Photographs and newspaper clippings are digitized and available for viewing on the April 1965 Flood Story Map

The digitized collections are located on the University's institutional repository Cornerstone. To explore individual digitized air photos, use the Digital Map Library GIS Tool developed by graduate student Ira Raber. If you prefer using Google Earth to locate what air photos provide coverage for specific areas, below are the .kmz files with the geolocated principal points of air photos for each collection.

Minnesota County Aerial Photography

This physical collection of Minnesota County air photos spans from 1936-1971. There is a list of the years available by county in the file above and steps on how to locate air photos with indexes.

We created digital indexes on Google Earth for our most commonly requested aerial photo sets. Below are the .kmz files for these different flights. Individual pins represent the locations of the principal point of aerial photos. Click on the desired pin and record the photo number, then use this to discover the physical air photo in our collections. 

Digital Indexes:

Online Resources for Aerial Photography

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