The Value of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Diverse Projects at The Nature Conservancy’s Bridgestone Reserve at Chestnut Mountain
The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for energy and educational outreach projects The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Bridgestone Reserve at Chestnut Mountain shows the value of this technology for a range of programs. Starting with a carbon neutrality project, the use of GIS led to an accurate evaluation of solar panel and wind turbine placement by using data to account for hill slope angle, hill direction, wind speed, solar exposure, and other components. This use of geospatial analysis allowed for a cost-effective survey of Chestnut Mountain and helped prevent issues in the future with poor turbine or panel placement. Additionally, GIS was beneficial in an educational outreach project for TNC as well, with application in locating and evaluating eligible private forest landowners for potential TNC-led courses. GIS was also used to create a set of criteria to determine the appropriate audience to receive informational pamphlets that would invite them to forest usage seminars. By using local landowner databases in conjunction with National Land Cover Databases, the GIS team was able to pull 449 applicable parcels from 35,987 total parcels in order to build a targeted curriculum around these landowners. The use of GIS in these two partner projects showcase the versatility of this technology for location analysis as well as educational outreach.