GIS and Remote Sensing > Activities > GIS-RS Final Stratigraphy Project for an Undergraduate Applied GIS Course
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This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

GIS-RS Final Stratigraphy Project for an Undergraduate Applied GIS Course

Paul Ryberg, Clarion University of PA


Students will construct a working, query-able database, use appropriate imagery, and use it to analyze a problem, understand cause and effect, and show changes with time. A final report must be submitted with all supporting documentation in digital form. Students also give a PP presentation in one of the last class meetings


Type and level of course
This project is used instead of a final exam in an upper level undergraduate course in Applied GIS. A student may propose their own project, or choose one from a list from the instructor. A brief proposal must be approved by the instructor before the project can begin

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
Completed undergraduate courses in physical geology, sedimentary geology and stratigraphy

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
All of our Environmental Geoscience undergraduates are required to take GIS as a required course in the curriculum. Geology majors are not required to take GIS, but most do take it. Many students pursue both degrees, and/or take a GIS minor. Students taking the Applied GIS course must have first successfully completed the basic GIS undergraduate course. They must have the skills to construct and query databases, and work with a variety of spatial data and imagery

Software required for this assignment/activity:
ArcGIS 9.3.1 (ArcInfo) and Extensions (3D Analyst)
ERDAS Imagine 9.4

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
4-5 weeks


GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
They will expand on the basic skills to construct and query databases, and work with a variety of spatial data and imagery

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
Concept Goals

Skill Goals

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This student project analyzes the Devonian Marcellus Shale in northwestern Pennsylvania for the potential for deep natural gas well development based on varying thickness and structural characteristics. The Marcellus has been successfully producing high gas volumes in well in northeastern parts of Pennsylvania, and there is presently a rapid movement to evaluate the potential production in other areas of the Commonwealth. However, there are notable environmental issues regarding the large water volumes necessary to fracture the formation to allow gas production, as well as the possibility of aquifer contamination at shallower levels.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Each of the goals stated above will be evaluated by the instructor at the end of the course for each individual student. Instead of using grades, evaluation will be categorized as: "excellent" "good" "poor" or "not completed"
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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