Powdermill Nature Reserve

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory

At Carnegie Museum of Natural History, we recognize the importance of collaborative interdisciplinary research and we view geographic information systems (GIS) as a tool that can connect many fields of research. In 2006, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History established the GIS Laboratory at Powdermill Nature Reserve to enhance and expand research capabilities for museum staff, research associates, and students. Research through the GIS laboratory focuses on the interface between conservation biology, environmental sciences, and geospatial technologies.

The GIS lab at Powdermill maintains an archive of geospatial data of the present and past ecology and infrastructure of the Reserve. This enables Carnegie Museum of Natural History staff and researchers to observe changes to the landscape over time, have a clear inventory of present ecological resources, and plan for future research and management. Landscape changes could be caused by human interaction, natural plant succession, establishment of invasive species, changing climate, and over-browsing by deer, among others. GIS enables informed land management decisions through increased scientific knowledge.

Primary Goals

  • Provide geospatial research assistance and GIS software and hardware training and support for museum staff, research associates, and students.
  • Develop research initiatives and produce regional geodatasets in cooperation with local, state, and national organizations and governments.
  • Maintain a central repository for ecological and infrastructure geodatasets of Powdermill Nature Reserve and regionally significant geographic data.
  • Create and continually update maps for local and regional natural resource analysis and management.




The GIS lab is located in the Powdermill Nature Reserve Nature Center.

1847 Route 381
Rector, PA 15677

Latitude: 40.160062
Longitude: -79.271937

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