KGS Home > Coal > Coal Research
Application of Geographic Information Systems to Coal-Field Geology

Contact Steve Greb

Geographic information systems (GIS) store geographically referenced data in a computer and are designed to manipulate, analyze, and display those data. With GIS, multiple coverages (layers of data and databases about the features on a map) can be combined and analyzed for a wide variety of applications.

KGS finished a cooperative project with the Tennessee Valley Authority to develop a GIS database containing information on active and inactive coal preparation plants, loading facilities, and transportation networks in Kentucky. The project used data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Kentucky Coal Marketing and Export Council, the Governor's Office of Coal Marketing and Export, the Kentucky Energy Cabinet, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and other agencies. GIS coverages of the coal transportation infrastructure in Kentucky (road, rail, and river), and load-out facilities are being prepared for release in the near future.

GIS was used during coal-resource assessments undertaken as part of the Digital Coal Atlas to prepare regional maps of coal extent, coal thickness, structure, overburden, mined-out areas, and data locations. Coal beds that have been assessed are the Lower Elkhorn, Fire Clay and Upper Elkhorn No. 3 in eastern Kentucky and the Springfield (No. 9), Herrin (No. 11), and Baker (No. 13) in western Kentucky. The results have effectively shown regional trends for these important coal beds and identified areas with the greatest potential for future mining.

For More Information:

Greb, S.F., and Galcerán, C.M., 1998, Mapping coal infrastructure with GIS: GIS Conference, Somerset, Ky.