Minnesota DOT Preparing for Aerial Mapping Work

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is prepping for aerial mapping operations in the northwestern part of the state between mid-April and mid-May.

[Above photo by the Minnesota DOT]

Minnesota DOT noted in a statement that aerial mapping is used to create a record of existing infrastructure and landscapes along rights-of-way managed by the agency for transportation planning and highway design.

Photo by Minnesota DOT

In order to obtain accurate aerial mapping, the Minnesota DOT said its work crews will paint large white “X” targets on paved surfaces, while placing plastic or fabric “X” targets on unpaved surfaces.

A survey crew then records the coordinate position and elevation of the temporary targets for the aerial photography company. The plastic and fabric targets are temporary and will be removed when the photography is completed, the agency said.

As a result, the Minnesota DOT asks residents in the area not to disturb aerial “X” photography targets so as not to interfere with the aerial mapping process.

Many state departments of transportation engage in a wide variety of aerial mapping efforts, often via the use of drones.

For example, in June 2023, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources called upon the Indiana Department of Transportation for help “mapping” a historic water-powered grist mill at Spring Mill state park in Mitchell, IN, prior to the structure’s renovation in the fall of 2023.

The historic three-story grist mill is located in the state park’s Pioneer Village – founded in 1814 – which contains 20 historic buildings.

INDOT’s Land & Aerial Survey Office collected aerial imagery, light detection and ranging or LiDAR data, and other information on the grist mill via drone to create a three dimensional or 3D rendering of the building and water flume, including a fly-through video; a scaled and georeferenced point cloud of the mill building and water flume; and a publicly sharable link to an online geographic information system that features the 3D rendering and panoramic images.

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