Airborne Electromagnetic Surveys (AEM)

Airborne Electromagnetic Surveys (AEM) have been conducted in several areas in the state. These surveys provide high resolution maps of aquifers that help water managers identify and optimize local sources of available groundwater.

AEM implements a helicopter that tows an antenna about 100 feet above the ground, which sends and receives electromagnetic signals to characterize the geology beneath the surface. Geophysical data is collected by the helicopter that flies in a grid pattern. The data identifies the deepest and most transmissive part of the aquifer and determines the geometry of the glacial environment – including depth and extent of the aquifers.


Press Releases

Water Commission Press Releases


AEM Projects & Reports


AEM Results Via MapService

The results of the AEM surveys conducted in North Dakota are available via the agency’s MapService. Or click on a project below to display the survey area. Additional data layers are available under the Airborne Electromagnetic Survey layer.

Project 1 – Spiritwood - JT

Project 2 – Warwick/Tolna

Project 3 – Wahpeton Buried Valley


Photos & Videos

AEM Photos and AEM Videos


Data Available For Download

Project 1 - Google KMZ, Maps, Cross Sections

Project 2 - Google KMZ, Maps, Cross Sections

Project 3 - Google KMZ, Maps, Cross Sections (Geotech), Cross Sections (AGF)

Project 4 - Google KMZ (ZIP File), Maps (Geotech), Maps (AGF), Cross Sections (AGF)

Project 5 - Google KMZ (ZIP File), Maps (Geotech), Maps (AGF), Cross Sections (Geotech), Cross Sections (AGF)


Advanced Data Files

Advanced Data Files (available upon email request) include: Grid Files, ASCII XYZ Data, and Geodatabase Files. These surveys provide large files (Gigabytes) and need specialized software and expertise to open and view.


For more information please contact the Water Appropriations Division at (701) 328-2754 or by e-mail.