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Oil Boom Satellite Maps
Since late 2011, Dr. Sebastian Braun and Dr. Ann Reed have been working on a project to investigate the social impacts of the Bakken oil boom in western North Dakota.
Fragmentation through roads, well sites, and other impacts constitute one of the factors that are very rapidly changing the physical and the social landscape. These changes impact wildlife, but they also have an impact on ranchers and farmers, tourism, and domestic animals.
One of the best ways to visualize the impacts of the boom is through satellite images. Seen from the ground level, it is hard to imagine the overall impact on the landscape, the ecosystem, and the flora and fauna (including homo sapiens) that depend on it. Satellite images reveal the challenges, changes, and disruptions that are caused by access roads and well pads, as well as the booming support economy. This is especially true if viewed over time - in case of a boom, a short time.
The interest in satellite images to document the landscape changes has also led to a collaborative project with Dr. Michael Niedzielski and Dr. Bradley Rundquist from the Department of Geography, focusing on providing GIS maps. One of the early projects was creating maps for the Centennial book for the community of Parshall, in collaboration with Marilyn Hudson, and other members of the community.
The Geography Department and American Indian Studies since then have been working on a comprehensive GIS solution, which is available here:
Below are also some examples of aerial images from 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2012. These images reveal how the physical environment has been changed, and make it possible, perhaps, to imagine how the landscape might look like in the future (see also the maps from other states below).
The examples here are provided as pdf files; the original files are too large, but even with these resolutions, the images should provide a good picture.
For reference and comparison, here are some selective maps from mostly developed gas-extraction fields around the United States.
Parker County 2012
Tarrant County 2012
Bienville Parish 2013
Jackson Parish 2013
* These aerial images are not of the same place over time.
Dr. Braun and Dr. Reed have left UND and are at Iowa State. For any questions about these images, or our research, please contact Sebastian Braun at firstname.lastname@example.org