Research Papers and Reports

Access the TAGIS Unit's research archive via the links below.

Mining Fill Trends

GIS was used to compile a comprehensive database of spoil and refuse fills constructed in West Virginia as of 2012. Satellite and aerial photography was used to identify construction status of each fill in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2003, 2009 and 2012. This allowed an analysis of trends in fill construction to be plotted over time. A 1:24,000 scale stream network was augmented to create consistent start points for intermittent and perennial streams, based on median drainage areas calculated from field research conducted by the USGS in the state's southern coalfield.

Mapping Vegetation Change

This paper demonstrated the potential for using multi-date satellite images to monitor and quantify vegetation changes occurring on a reclaimed surface mine. Two Quickbird image sets, acquired in 2003 and 2007, were used to identify vegetation trends and to map significant change events manifested during the four year interval. In particular, the analysis quantified the extent of defoliation in Black Locust, and estimated the expansion of Autumn Olive, within the boundary of the reclaimed mine. Presented at the 2009 American Society of Mining and Reclamation and Billings Land Reclamation Symposium Conference, May 30-June 5 2009, Billings MT.

Extraction and Characterization of Highwalls

Highwalls are features of past mining activity that can pose hazards to people or property. Inventories of high walls are developed by regulatory agencies charged with reclamation of abandoned mine lands predating federal regulation. These inventories were usually compiled prior to the advent of technologies such as LIDAR for mapping elevation, and Geographical Information Systems for conducting spatial analysis. This paper presents a method for compiling a mining highwall inventory using these technologies that can improve significantly on the accuracy and completeness of existing highwall inventories.

Remote Vegetation Change

An NDVI-based technique is presented that can estimate fractional vegetation cover on a reclaimed surface mine, producing less than 10 percent RMSE error when compared against 34 field sample sites. Presented at the Incorporating Geospatial Technologies into SMCRA Business Processes Conference, March 25-27 2008, Atlanta Ga.

Kanawha State Forest Well Accuracy

Two sources of Oil and Gas well locations in West Virginia-- the WVDEP Oracle database, and the Oil&Gas Information Service, are compared to a reference dataset of well locations in the Kanawha State Forest collected using differential GPS


Mining Drainage Changes

Elevation models created from LIDAR, photogrammetry, and hypsography were compared to determine whether changes in surface drainage patterns could be identified after mining had occurred. This research was conducted as part of a cooperative agreement with Office of Surface Mining, Charleston Field Office, and was featured in the agency's 2006 annual report.

Valley Fill Paper

This paper presents an analysis technique for comparing IFSAR elevation data acquired in 2003 to historical elevation models with the goal of identifying mining spoil structures, including valley fills and refuse impoundments. This analysis created an inventory of mining fill structures covering a nine-county area of southern West Virginia that was more comprehensive and accurate than inventories compiled from mining maps alone. Presented at the Advanced Integration of Geospatial Technologies in Mining and Reclamation Conference, December 7-9, 2004, Atlanta Ga

Lidar Fill Paper

A county-wide LIDAR dataset, and historical contour elevation data, is used to automatically delineate mining fills




Lidar Accuracy Assessment

LIDAR point data is compared with a large database of survey points for three watersheds in southern West Virginia