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Exploring the linkage of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) [electronic resource] : a case study of the West Run Expressway (WRE), Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia /

by Keleagetse, Sewelo S.

Abstract (Summary)
Exploring the Linkage of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A Case Study of the West Run Expressway, Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia Sewelo S. Keleagetse Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process that seeks to identify potential environmental impacts resulting from development projects and to use this information to minimize those impacts on the social and ecological systems. EIA has been in existence for over three decades and has evolved from a single legislative mandate to a broad methodology. Since the introduction of EIA in the National Environmental Policy Act legislation in 1969, many techniques have been developed to help identify and assess the environmental impacts arising from human activity. Due to the complex nature of both social and natural systems, questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of these techniques in addressing environmental impacts. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) now provides a tool of choice in addressing complex environmental problems encountered in EIA. In this thesis a case study approach is used to explore the linkage of EIA and GIS. A review of the EIA literature indicates that traditional EIA techniques exhibit severe limitations not least in that the techniques are largely aspatial even though space is a vital part of impact analysis. Impact matrices, for example, play a major role in identifying key impact areas associated with the case study West Run Expressway, yet the identification, assessment and prediction of impacts are complex tasks that require an understanding of the geography of both natural and social processes. The presentation of the EIA results also presents a challenge and the modeling and visualization of environmental impacts is facilitated through the use of GIS. This project demonstrates how the geospatial data handling and analytical capability of GIS can be merged with the predictive and causative techniques of EIA to produce valuable results. The combination of GIS and EIA promises significant advantages for assessing environmental impacts.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:West Virginia University

School Location:USA - West Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:express highways environmental impact analysis geographic information systems

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