Aerial Photography - State Sources
Department of Natural Resources
Color-infrared (CIR) photography: The Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources' Forestry Resource
Assessment Unit obtains and distributes CIR aerial photography for
the forested eastern half of Minnesota. In recent years, selected full or
partial counties have been flown in the fall, when leaves are changing color;
this timing allows maximum cover type differentiation.
Print coverage at 9" x 9" is approximately 2.25 miles x 2.25 miles at a
scale of approximately 1:15,840.
From DNR's Photos Online website, you can
view the photos
at low- and medium-resolution, order a high-resolution digital version and
Alternatively, contact the DNR's Resource Assessment office in Grand Rapids at 218-322-2500.
CIR orthophotos: The Resource Assessment Unit has
scanned and created orthophotos from all the DNR Forestry color-infrared
(CIR) photography from 1991 through 2010. CIR photos from 1991 through
2005 were scanned at 400 Pixels per inch at 1 meter resolution on a flat
panel scanner. CIR photos since 2005 are scanned at 16 microns or ½
meter resolution using a photogrammetric scanner. All CIR photos have
been ortho-rectified creating either a 1-meter or the later ½ meter
orthophotos. The 2011 and newer projects are usually ortho-rectified by
the flight contractor at ½ meter resolution. Contact DNR's Resource
Assessment office in Grand Rapids for prices and to place orders.
Depending on the product, the default format will be either GeoTIFF or
ECW. Other formats may be available. Prices are determined either by the
size of the area covered or the number of photos ordered.
and download individual photos from DNR's Resource Assessment
office at no charge
- Choice of high, medium or low resolution versions
- Note the copyright conditions of use
Purchase prints and enlargements from DNR.
- WMS service:
Fall 2011 and 2012 seamless orthophotos are available via MnGeo's WMS
service as two separate layers: a natural color version and a color
Areas covered are:
- East-Central (2011): Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Carlton,
Chisago, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine, Sherburne, and the northern portion
of Washington counties
- Southeast (2011): Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Olmsted,
Wabasha, and Winona counties.
- Central (2012): Becker (eastern part), Cass, Clearwater
(southern part), Crow Wing, Hubbard, Mahnomen and Wadena counties and
most of the White Earth Nation.
- Historic air photos: View or download historic air photos
website. Two majors sources are 1938-39 U.S. Department of Agriculture
photos, and 1950s U.S. Geological Survey photos used to
support production of USGS 1:24,000-scale maps. There are also some
photos from the 1940s, and the 1960s through the 1990s. DNR has scanned the
hardcopy photos as gray-scale images; each photo covers about ten square
miles. Note that the photos are not georeferenced. The project is
ongoing -- to see the status of which areas are covered, go to the LandView
site, check the box(es) for one or more decades under "Historic Air Photos" and then click
the "refresh" button (two arrows in a circle). To retrieve a
photo, click on the "info" button (an "i" with an arrow)
and then on a colored dot showing a photo center location. For
more help using the site, click on "how to use" at the top left of the
Department of Transportation
If your area of interest is within a quarter- or a half-mile of a state
highway, chances are good that the Minnesota Department of Transportation
will have photo coverage. MnDOT's photos are usually taken at low
altitude to be detailed enough for engineering purposes. The typical scale
is 1" = 250'; other scales include 1" = 500' and 1" = 800'. Minnesota
airports also have photo coverage at a a scale of 1" = 1200'. The photos
may be taken either spring or fall.
MnDOT's archives contain some film dating back to the late 1950s and
some prints dating back to the 1930s. Prints can be ordered at the
standard 9" x 9" size or up to 4 times enlargement. Indexes of all MnDOT
photos can be viewed at MnDOT's Air Photo Library, Photogrammetrics Unit,
7th Floor Transportation Building, 395 John Ireland Blvd., St. Paul 55155.
more information, including cost and ordering procedure, call
651-366-5000 or (toll free) 1-888-234-1247. MnDOT's
Photogrammetrics staff are listed on their website.
Return to MnGeo's main Aerial Photography page