Powdermill Nature Reserve

GIS Laboratory

Current Projects

Carnegie Museum of Natural History Pennsylvania Unconventional Natural Gas Wells Geodatabase
How many Marcellus Shale gas wells are drilled in Pennsylvania? In reality, this is a difficult question to answer. The GIS Lab has created a dataset that helps to answer this question. The data is used by numerous researchers studying the natural gas industry throughout Pennsylvania. Data on well permits, when wells were drilled, how much natural gas is being produced, and violations are included in the geodataset.

Regional Macroinvertebrate Stream Survey
Certain macroinvertebrate communities in streams are indicators of stream health. The use of GIS is helping us develop a comprehensive dataset to continually monitor macroinvertebrate communities in our region. As Marcellus shale gas wells continue to develop in Pennsylvania, water resource protection will continue to be an important issue for the residents of our region.

Powdermill Nature Reserve: The Changing Landscape
Aerial photos are an important source for maps and geodatasets. By observing historical aerial photos, we can gain insight into the changes to the local ecosystem of Powdermill. This project will provide high-quality aerial imagery over time and allow us to use the imagery to delineate historically forested and unforested areas from as early as 1939.

Ligonier Landowners Map
Our neighbors are an important part of the life of Powdermill. This map is intended to help landowners in the Ligonier area understand the local economic and environmental impacts that the Marcellus shale gas drilling industry could bring to the region.

New Public Trail and Canopy Walk Planning Analysis
Do you like the idea of having more hiking options at Powdermill Nature Reserve? We do, too! So, we are in the process of determining new areas for trail development.

Comparing Vegetation Ground Surveys with Remotely Sensed Data to Measure Forest Succession (Proposed)
During the summers of 2006–2008, Powdermill completed an extensive vegetation survey from field observations. Remote sensing techniques can also be used to quantify vegetative land cover. By using the ground observations already collected, we hope to determine the effectiveness and accuracy of remotely sensed data to quantify not only the present species, but also to estimate measures of tree height, diameter, and density.

Insert Your Project Here…
We are actively seeking new research project proposals and ideas. If you are a graduate student looking for a place to do conservation research that requires geospatial analysis, please contact the GIS Lab at GIS@carnegiemnh.org for an application. Funding may be available on a competitive basis.

Past Projects

Vegetation Survey
A detailed vegetation survey was completed for more than 4,600 forested plots and 800 plots in maintained fields. More than twenty permanent vegetation monitoring plots have been established. This dataset provides Powdermill with an extremely detailed vegetation baseline upon which future research can build.

Louisiana Waterthrush Stream Survey
The GIS Lab produced a large-scale GIS dataset of Powdermill streams for this collaborative project with the National Aviary. For more information, click here.

Golden Eagle Project
The GIS Lab was a key partner in a study of golden and bald eagles in eastern North America. The project studied the migration of eagles along mountain ridges where there is potential conflict with installation of wind energy turbines. More information can be obtained at http://www.aviary.org/cons/proj_wind.php.