BEMIDJI -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation is asking residents not to disturb aerial photography targets as crews begin aerial mapping in northwest Minnesota.

Landowners in the area that will have targets placed on or near their property will be contacted directly. Weather permitting, work will begin mid-October, a release said.

The mapping will take place in the following locations:

  • Highway 71: Blackduck to Turtle River
  • Highway 75: Hallock to Donaldson

The aerial survey process relies on clear observations, and must be conducted after the leaves fall and before it snows. To begin the process crews place an “X” on the ground as a reference point for the aerial photographer, the release said.

Aerial mapping is used to create a record of existing infrastructure and landscape along MnDOT right of way for transportation planning and highway design. In order to obtain accurate aerial mapping, MnDOT crews paint large white “X” targets on paved surfaces, and place plastic or fabric “X” targets on unpaved surfaces, the release said.

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 release said.

MnDOT requests that landowners not remove or disturb the targets, if possible, until the photography is completed. If a target must be moved, contact the District 2 survey office at (218) 755-6509 or by email at