The town of Hartney (population 400 in 2006) occupies most of section 16, township 6, range 23 WI on flat, rich agricultural land southeast of the Souris River 1 with no topographic barrier to development. The Souris exhibits two definite abandoned channels 2. The CP line 3 runs through the centre of town with roads parallel to it on either side. On the northwest there is an intervening green space 4—grass and trees—between the line and the road, and in the southeast the equivalent space is occupied by elevators 5 and associated buildings. PTH 21 used to run through the centre of town 6 with residential roads at right angles to it. The result was an almost square town plan. Now, however, PTH 21 7 bypasses Hartney, a relatively new development at the time the photo was taken. Also, the CN line 8, now abandoned as evidenced by the broken bridge 9, used to run south of town with little direct effect on its layout.
At the large scale of the photo, individual buildings can be located and identified. As is often the case the most obvious are a rink 10 (ice hockey and curling) in the northeast and a school 11 in the southeast. Sewage lagoons, one dark-toned 12 and one light 13, can be seen in the north.